This section presents the legacy of Kentucky places to the historic Lewis and Clark Expedition. More information about this legacy is below.
Louisville and the Falls of the Ohio
Kentucky can rightfully be called the "Cradle of the Corps of the Discovery." Its legacy is significant. Its sons played an indispensable role in the Lewis and Clark Expedition's success. But the commonwealth also played an important part. In 1803 it was a "western" state. The Ohio River was a highway to the west. The old Wilderness Road was still a major east-west route for those traveling by land. The Lewis and Clark Expedition used them both. Some 1,000 miles of Lewis and Clark's eastern trail are in Kentucky. From September 1803 when Meriwether Lewis entered Kentucky sailing downstream on the Ohio River, until the nucleus of the Corps of Discovery departed the state in November when it swung north on to the Mississippi River, Kentucky was host to the explorers most of those two months. In 1806 Lewis and Clark and other expedition veterans traveled through the heart of Kentucky, taking the old Wilderness Road from Louisville to the Cumberland Gap on their way to Washington to report to President Jefferson and the government. The captains and others traveled across parts of the state at other times as well. To take the legacy of place back further, many members of the expedition were born, raised, or lived in Kentucky, as illustrated in the Kentucky People section of this site.