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The city's early growth was influenced by the fact that river boats had to be unloaded and moved downriver before reaching the falls.

It was the founding city of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, which grew into a 6,000-mile (9,700 km) system across 13 states.

Today, the city is known as the home of the Kentucky Derby, Kentucky Fried Chicken, the University of Louisville and its Louisville Cardinals athletic teams, Louisville Slugger baseball bats, and three of Kentucky's six Fortune 500 companies.

In 1950, the Census Bureau reported Louisville's population as 84.3% white and 15.6% black.

Similar to many other older American cities, Louisville began to experience a movement of people and businesses to the suburbs in the 1960s and 1970s.

excludes other incorporated places and semiautonomous towns within the county and is the population listed in most sources and national rankings.

The Louisville-Jefferson County, KY-IN Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), sometimes also referred to as Kentuckiana, The rapids at the Falls of the Ohio created a barrier to river travel, and as a result, settlements grew up at this stopping point.Louisville was founded in 1778 by George Rogers Clark and is named after King Louis XVI of France, making Louisville one of the oldest cities west of the Appalachian Mountains.Sited beside the Falls of the Ohio, the only major obstruction to river traffic between the upper Ohio River and the Gulf of Mexico, the settlement first grew as a portage site.The Derby was originally shepherded by Meriwether Lewis Clark, Jr., the grandson of William Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and grandnephew of the city's founder George Rogers Clark.Horse racing had a strong tradition in Kentucky, whose Inner Bluegrass Region had been a center of breeding high-quality livestock throughout the 19th century.Economic changes included a decline in local manufacturing.