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Louisville, Kentucky, original charter
University of Louisville Special CollectionsLouisville, Kentucky 40292 USA
Open to researchers
[Identification of item], Louisville, Kentucky, original charter, 1780, Special Collections, University of Louisville, Louisville.
Signed by Thomas Jefferson as governor of Virginia in May 1780, the charter notes "Whereas Sundry Inhabitants of the County of Kentucky [Kentucky was then a county of Virginia] have at great expense & hazard, settled themselves upon lands at the falls of Ohio" then places one thousand acres in the hands of trustees to "divide into Lots of an half acre each, with convenient streets & public lots, which shall be of the same is hereby established a town by the Name of Louisville." The charter further specifies that lots be sold at a public auction and that purchasers build "a dwelling house, 16 feet by 20 at least with a brick or stone chimney to be finished within 2 years from the day of sale." The charter, lost for years, came to light in New York in the 1950s. Publisher and civic leader Barry Bingham Sr. purchased it and gave the document to the city. Since 1957 it has been on permanent loan to the University of Louisville.
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