Wednesday, March 17, 2010

606. The 606th Post for Milepost 606

Well, I never dreamt there'd be a 606th post when I began the blog back in January 2007. But here we are. If you google the number 606 you have to go to the second entry of the fourth page before the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606 shows up as an option. Still, that's pretty cool. The very first option on the first page is the Area Code 606 which serves much of northern and eastern Kentucky.

My 606 is derived, more or less, from Louisville's milemarker location on the 981 mile journey the Ohio River makes from its beginning at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to its completion, where it empties into the Mississippi south of Cairo, Illinois. Milemarker 606 is very near the location of the river's widest point anywhere on its journey, shown in the picture at left. That's the 14th Street (Pennsylvania) Railroad Bridge in the background and the northern tip of Shippingport Island at left.

Speaking of the river, it is rising. As I drove into the office this morning, I noticed the gangplank out to the Belle of Louisville is resting well above the wharf's edge and is extending up into the North Fourth Street Circle. This, of course, is a regular occurence each year as rain and melted snow make their way from such faraway places as extreme southwestern New York and extreme north central Georgia into the Ohio River valley (although whatever comes in from Georgia would not pass through Louisville). See the map of the Ohio River valley.

Louisville's history is very closely related to the river, the town having been established at the only natural navigational barrier along the 981 mile course, the Falls of the Ohio, a series of rapids lowering the level of the river 26 feet over a 3/4 mile span. Our Portland Canal (the McAlpine Locks and Dam) were originally began in 1825 as a means to get around the falls. Were it not for the falls, we Louisvillians may have grown up as part of the Westport, Kentucky metropolitan area. Westport, a now-tiny and idyllic village north of Louisville in Shelby County when established but now part of Oldham County and for which it once served as the County Seat, was founded about the same time as Louisville by a man named Elijah Craig, recognizable to those familiar with Kentucky's beverage industry.

Or, conversely, we may have been denizens of West Point, Kentucky, settled roughly about 1776, a few years before either Louisville or Westport. West Point is south of Louisville at the Jefferson-Hardin county line on what is now called Dixie Highway, but what earlier know as the Louisville-Nashville Turnpike. West Point lays at the mouth of the Salt River on the Ohio and was founded by a man named James Young.

A note: the West in both cities' names is a reference to their locations on what was then the very western edge of the explored and settled territory of the very young American Republic at the times of their establishments.

But neither Westport nor West Point had a set of falls around which to navigate at milepost 606 on the Ohio and thus it is we are Louisvillians and the blog has the "606" as part of its name. Thanks for reading and, please, keep doing so. Add comments from time-to-time so I'll know someone is out there.

Finally, speaking of "being out there and counted" most of us have received by now the forms for the 2010 United States Census. Thus, two notes: to my Republican and Libertarian friends, especially if you live in the suburbs or rural areas, ignore the Census. It is an intrusion upon the sovereignty of the Commonwealth, treading on your personal rights, and a move by Big Brother to peek into your personal lives, something Republicans and some Libertarians claim not to do, unless it relates to abortion, gay rights, gun ownership, or Muslims born in Hawaii with funny names.

To my Democratic readers, fill out the form and include the names of everyone in your house, including your crazy old Aunt Jane upstairs in the attic, Uncle Charlie out in the mobile home behind the garage, and your 35 year old son Schuyler who is still finding himself down in the basement amidst video games and assorted smoking paraphernalia. Count them all and send it in.

Incidentally, the Census is a boon for the unemployed in the Louisville area. The processing center is at the Census Bureau in Jeffersonville and there will be about 1300 jobs, albeit temporary ones, added during the Census counting.

Thanks for reading.


Bruce Maples said...

I'm hoping for one of those Census jobs for my youngest, so he can move out of the house and establish his own place to get Census forms. :-)

Shenandoah bed and breakfast said...

The Ohio River is the largest and the beautiful river of Ohio. It has a classic historic significance of the oldest river in the state.

The Archives at Milepost 606


Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Never married, liberal Democrat, born in 1960, opinionated but generally pleasant, member of the Episcopal Church. Graduate of Prestonia Elementary, Durrett High, and Spalding University; the first two now-closed Jefferson County Public Schools, the latter a very small liberal arts college in downtown Louisville affiliated with the Roman Catholic Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. My vocation and avocation is politics. My favorite pastime is driving the backroads of Kentucky and southern Indiana, visiting small towns, political hangouts, courthouses, churches, and cemeteries. You are welcome to ride with me sometime.