Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
"Welcome to Kentucky" Signs Now Represent the Commonwealth's Rich History as the "Birthplace of Lincoln"

Press Release Date:  Friday, October 13, 2006  
Contact Information:  Jodi Whitaker

Miranda Thacker

Samantha Cook

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher and local officials today unveiled the new “Birthplace of Lincoln” panel that will be placed on 12 “Welcome to Kentucky” signs throughout the state.  The project is a joint effort between the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, Kentucky Commerce Cabinet’s Department of Tourism and community leaders.

“Kentucky has numerous ties to Abraham Lincoln. The Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Site in Hodgenville is rich with history, including President Lincoln’s birthplace and other historical monuments,” said Governor Fletcher.  “Our administration is excited about the Lincoln Bicentennial commemorations starting in 2008. These signs are one way to make tourists more aware of Kentucky’s ties to Abraham Lincoln and to promote Kentucky’s rich history.”

“This is a great opportunity to celebrate our Lincoln heritage as we begin the festivities to honor Lincoln’s birth,” said Sen. Dan Kelly (R-Springfield).

“These signs will show the great pride our community has in Lincoln and our cultural heritage,” said Sen. Carroll Gibson (R-Leitchfield).

“Our state’s Lincoln heritage is a great source of pride for many Kentuckians,” said Rep. Terry Shelton (R-Magnolia). “I am excited to see that now we will be able to share that heritage with everyone who drives past one of these signs.”

“Many people outside the commonwealth do not realize that Abraham Lincoln was born in Kentucky and spent his early childhood here,” said Commissioner Randy Fiveash of the Kentucky Department of Tourism. “These signs will help educate travelers, encouraging them to learn more by stopping at our visitor centers to get information on where they can go to – literally – walk in Lincoln’s footsteps.”

“When we welcome visitors to Kentucky, it’s certainly appropriate that we call attention to our rich and storied past,” said Transportation Cabinet Secretary Bill Nighbert. “We’re proud of the fact that Kentucky is the birthplace of one of the greatest Presidents in our nation’s history.The new panel we are unveil here today is not only intended to encourage travelers to visit President Lincoln’s birthplace, it’s an invitation to discover all the great attractions our Commonwealth has to offer.”

For the past several years, Kentucky has been a partner in the Lincoln States Bicentennial Task Force, which is made up representatives from Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky, all states in which Lincoln grew up and began his professional career prior to becoming our 16th president.

The national celebration of the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth will begin February 12, 2008, with festivities in Hodgenville. The festivities will continue through February 2010.

The Department of Tourism is working to promote Kentucky as Lincoln’s birthplace and, in cooperation with the other agencies, to promote and market Kentucky’s bicentennial events to a national and international audience.

In addition, the Department of Tourism is working with the Kentucky Historical Society and Kentucky Heritage Council to develop Lincoln, Civil War and African American heritage trails as permanent reminders of the observance and continuing attractions for visitors.

House Bill 380 Funding

Governor Fletcher also announced $750,000 in HB 380 funding for the Lincoln Bicentennial celebration for the city of Hodgenville. Funds will be used for a traffic “roundabout” that will encircle the Lincoln statue in downtown Hodgenville. Additional monies will be used for interpretive panels and in converting a former church into a civic center to use for the Bicentennial festivities. 

NOTE:  Below are the locations of the signs:

  • I-64 eastbound from Indiana in Jefferson County 
  • I-64 westbound from West Virginia in Boyd County
  • I-65 southbound from Indiana in Jefferson County
  • I-65 northbound from Tennessee in Simpson County
  • I-75 northbound from Tennessee in Whitley County
  • I-75 southbound from Ohio in Kenton County
  • I-275 eastbound from Ohio in Boone County 
  • I-275 westbound from Ohio in Campbell County
  • I-471 southbound from Ohio in Campbell County
  • I-24 eastbound from Illinois in McCracken County
  • I-24 westbound from Tennessee in Christian County
  • Jullian Carrol Purchase Parkway, NB from Tennessee, in Fulton County