Shively, Kentucky

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Shively is a city in Jefferson County, Kentucky, United States. The population was 15,157 at the 2000 census. It is located southwest of Louisville, Kentucky and directly adjoins the larger city. Shively is centered around the junction of US 60 and the Dixie Highway.



Shively was first settled and farmed around 1780, along with much of the rest of Jefferson County. It is named for early landowner Christian William Shively, who settled his 1,000 acre (4 kmĀ²) tract in 1810. He established a mill on what is still called Mill Creek. The area came to be known as the Shively precinct.

Shively donated land for a church in 1816, and it has lived on and is today Parkview Methodist. Shortly before the Civil War, German immigrants, mostly Catholics, began moving to the area and operating truck farms. Some would continue to operate as late as the 1930s. The first post office opened in 1902, and residents chose the name Shively for it. Their first choice was St. Helens, after St. Helen Catholic Church, established in 1897. But that was already taken by a post office in Lee County, and the name Shively was chosen. A streetcar line was extended to the area in 1904.

Eight whiskey distilleries opened in the area after prohibition ended, and this played an important role in the city's history when Depression-era Louisville soon tried to annex the area largely for the tax dollars the distilleries would generate. To avoid annexation by the much larger Louisville, Shively incorporated as a city on May 23, 1938 and annexed the distilleries four days later, acquiring a $20 million tax base. This revenue stream made the city quite well-funded through the 1960s, and it was the state's fastest growing city in the 1950s - fueled by its jobs and location near more urban Louisville areas. Located south of Louisville's West End, Shively was a favorite location for many families leaving that area as it became racially integrated.

In the 1950s and 1960s Shively was seen as an all-white suburb and became the site of controversy and national headlines in 1954 when activists Carl and Anne Braden bought a house there and sold it to a black family, who moved in. Shots were fired into the house, and eventually a bomb exploded under their daughter's bedroom. No one was harmed, and no one was ever convicted of the crime.[1]

Increased taxes and a change in consumer tastes lead to the closure of most of the distilleries in the late 1960s. Shively's population has gradually declined since reaching 19,223 in 1970. Budget surpluses became shortfalls, and Shively tried but failed to annex the more suburban nearby area of Pleasure Ridge Park in 1984. That year the town was hit with a scandal when Police Chief Michael Donio admitted to taking bribes to allow prostitution in the area.

The area's fortunes have since improved somewhat, with various public works projects occurring and some businesses moving to the area. However, the area along Seventh Street north of Dixie is still known for its seedy adult entertainment businesses.[2] Into the 2000s the area still lagged behind Eastern and Southern Jefferson County, with one of its few remaining large retail centers, the 150,000-square-foot (14,000 m2) Dillard's on Dixie Highway, which had opened in 1956, closing in 2007 due to unusually slow sales at that location (the chain itself was profitable in the Louisville region).[3]

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