Nestled along the bend in the Ohio River Valley, Owensboro Kentucky is the county seat of Daviess County. The city and county population together are 96,556 (2016 data). Inside the city limits, the population is 55,745. Owensboro and Daviess County offer 25 parks totaling 953 acres of land, or 720 football fields!
History of Owensboro
Owensboro’s first settler was William Smeathers, popularly known as Bill Smothers, who in 1797 built a cabin on the south bank of the Ohio River. Original settlers arrived in flatboats coming from the northeast, the flatboats naturally drifting to the south side of the riverbank with the swift river currents. The original site was called “Yellow Banks” in reference to the sandy color of the soil along the banks. In 1815 the Kentucky General Assembly passed an act creating Daviess County. The new county was named to honor the fallen hero Joseph Hamilton Daveiss, who died in the Battle of Tippecanoe. (A clerk misspelled the last name in the draft of the act, and so it became Daviess County.) In 1817, the General Assembly provided for the planned town and specified that it should be called Owensborough in memory of Col. Abraham Owen, who also fell at Tippecanoe. In 1893, the spelling was changed to its current Owensboro.
Agriculture, Distilleries, and Coal Mining have played a large role in the history of Daviess County. Agricultural production includes corn, soybeans, and tobacco. Along with the corn production came the distilling of spirits, chiefly Kentucky bourbon. During the 19th century there were 18 distilleries in Daviess County. One of the earliest manufacturing companies was the Owensboro Wagon Company, which was established in 1884.
“Bar-B-Q Capital of the World”
In 1860, the Daviess County agricultural records show 11,000 sheep compared to 6,750 beef cattle. If barbecue was in order, it would naturally be mutton since it was much more plentiful than beef. Political gatherings and community celebrations included barbecues as far back as 1844 and have continued to this day. The International Bar-B-Q Festival began in 1978 and is held on the second full weekend in May each year. This festival is the kick-off for the barbecue season during the summer and fall. Daviess County barbecue is also available any day of the week at all of the barbecue restaurants in Owensboro.
Beginning with the International Bar-B-Q Festival, there is a festival nearly every summer months. “Friday after 5” a free outdoor summer concert series which takes place along the RiverPark Center and the Downtown Riverfront. June offers “ROMP” celebrating the Roots & Branches of Bluegrass. Hosted by the International Bluegrass Music Museum, the event takes place in Daviess County’s Yellow Creek Park, a 150-acre facility famous for its nature trails, winding creek and fishing lake.
Owensboro is full of charm, history and Southern lifestyle. And we haven’t even begun to share our affordable housing, low taxes, and choice public schools. Tony Clark Realtors love our community. Please call us for all things home- renting, buying, and building. We would welcome the opportunity to help you find your Owensboro home!