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View Poll Results: Louisville Southern or Midwestern Nationwide opinion
More Southern with a Midwestern undertone 16 61.54%
More Midwestern with a Southern undertone 9 34.62%
Equal 1 3.85%
Voters: 26. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-29-2007, 03:04 PM
 
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The point of this thread is to see how the U.S. in general views Louisville, Kentucky culturally (not at all to spam). Meaning is it more Southern or Midwestern. We all know that this city is mixed, But some assert that it's more Southern with Midwestern undertones, while others assert the opposite. There was a poll on the subject earlier on these threads, But it ended up being moved for one reason or another. Again the reason for my posting this here is for the general U.S.'s perspective.

My opinion is that it's Southern, with a Midwestern undertone.
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Old 05-29-2007, 03:12 PM
 
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I'm a Midwesterner (Chicago) and I would say that your characterization of Louisville as a Southern city with a Midwestern undertone would be correct. Even though it's on the border of Indiana, the Kentucky state line is a big line of demarcation psychologically. From my perspective, all of Kentucky is definitely considered the South as opposed to the Midwest, so Louisville is Southern even though it might have some Midwestern sensibilities.
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Old 05-29-2007, 03:15 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank the Tank View Post
I'm a Midwesterner (Chicago) and I would say that your characterization of Louisville as a Southern city with a Midwestern undertone would be correct. Even though it's on the border of Indiana, the Kentucky state line is a big line of demarcation psychologically. From my perspective, all of Kentucky is definitely considered the South as opposed to the Midwest, so Louisville is Southern even though it might have some Midwestern sensibilities.
That's exactly how I feel. Some people feel that the Mason Dixon theory (at least as the Ohio river is concerned) is dead, I on the other hand feel as that while it doesn't hold nearly as much signifigance as it did in older times, But still presents a cultural buffer in many aspects.

Last edited by Louisvilleslugger; 05-29-2007 at 03:42 PM..
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Old 05-29-2007, 03:27 PM
 
Location: Southern California
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I've made my feelings pretty clear (before the thread was moved to the kentucky board...weird because this is a regional question). I think Louisville is in the South, no question.

I dont think you need to be from Northern Minnesota either to notice that southern illinois, indiana and ohio are also not completley midwestern. I guess some people say its not that Southern, but I have never met a person from Louisville that does not have a thick southern accent!

I think Southern Indiana and Illinois share more characteristics with the south than they do the midwest or north.....so its my belief that kentucky is well below the modern mason-dixon.

Being Southern is not derogatory by the way, so I dont understand some peope's emotional response to being labled as southern, or where they live being southern, while many people in those parts will gladly admit to their southerness...

I actually am very surprised that so many people think of kentucky as a border state...never ever heard of that or thought that and wonder where those people grew up -- west coast? east coast? I think that most people in the deep south know kentucky is also in the south.

rambling....sorry, I wonder why this issue is hotly contested, it suprises me. think it is unfair that some think that because I am from northern illinois my assesment is somehow clouded. I've travelled extensivley throughout the country (by car....you see the transitions more that way) and I am a geographer...no, not an authority on the issue but it still suprises me that people have such different opinions about what I thought was pretty much a fact.

I almost took a job in louisville...I know it has a blend of cultures, I like that city a lot. I do think it is the first southern city though....not the last northern one. Its a cool city, either way.
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Old 05-29-2007, 03:27 PM
 
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Now honestly, I do see why you’d think it has a Midwestern under-culture, but it is a major city. The same argument, I assure you, can be made of New Orleans, Atlanta, Charleston. Major cities have major immigration, and people from all over the country--and the world--make their homes there. Sad as it is, it has shown its effects on the cities, but I assure you, at Louisville’s core, is the South. It has even been said that during the darkest days of the war, Louisville had more “Johnny Rebs” and “Southern Belles” than the entire state of Mississippi. As an historian, I might be inclined to believe that. Having mentioned Southern Belles, you’d be well advised to note Sallie Ward was a Louisvillian. Her portrait is often named “The Southern Belle.” That is because she was THE Southern Belle in the ante-bellum days. More Scarlett O’Hara than Scarlett herself! Literally, she was considered THE belle of the South! None of that is even mentioning that, as someone else noted, Louisville is a river city, giving it all the more reason to intermingle cultures. Nonetheless, to the trained ear, one can hear the traces of Southern accents in downtown Louisville, and thick as molasses accents among some of the older residence. Step outside the city limits--you can no longer judge the South by its cities. Anyone who lives in a Southern city will note the changes over the years. They’ve become melting pots, good or bad! Oh, and what is Louisville’s nickname? You don’t know? Let me tell you, “Gateway to the South!” That’s a take on its old days as a river port, and its being a Southern city, noted for two great Southern pastimes, horseracing and bourbon!

From a cultural geography perspective the usual northmost line of Southern cultural influences in the lower Midwest is US 40, so it might be more accurate to consider southern Indiana and Illinois more southern than it would to consider Kentucky Midwestern. The Southern Focus study referenced earlier seems to confim the Southern character of Kentucky. About the only part of the state that could be considered Midwestern are the three northern counties across the river from Cincinnati.

Louisville is probably a bit more unusual in that it has aspects that are not traditionally associated with the South. In terms of historical aspects the city was settled by Virginians, and then recieved a large immigration from Germany and Ireland. Unlike other Midwestern cities it did not experience input from the second immigration from southern and eastern Europe to any signifigant degree, and lacks any historical "ethnic neighborhoods" that characterize true Midwestern cities like Dayton or Fort Wayne or South Bend. Louisville has experienced in-migration from the rural areas of central and western Kentucky (the areas directly south and west of the city), which has reinforced its southern character in modern times, which reinforced the southern character of the local working-class.

Louisville was and is industrial, but that is not necessarily a marker of being a Midwestern anomaly in a southern region, as numerous southern cities have an industrial base, such as the textile cities of the Carolina Piedmont. Louisvilles industial development was part of the New South, and marketed to the South, and its leading newspaper editor of the postbellum era, Henry Watterson, was considered an expontent of the New South ideology. During the postbellum era the L&N Railroad, headquarted in Lousiville, was a major carrier into the deep South, terminating at Pensacola and New Orleans, and painted its locomotives "confederate gray".

Another aspect of Louisville that gives it a historical and modern Southern character is the experience of slavery. Louisville did have a large slave population (one of the largest), and slaves were used in industry (44 worked for one company), building trades, steamboat trade, and as household servants. During the Jim Crow era Louisville did segrate blacks and whites into seperate school systems, and event tried to enact ordnances restricting blacks to certain neighborghoods (found unconstitutional by the USSC). One did not see this type of legal Jim Crow elsewhere in the Midwest. Some of the residential patterns of black settlement also paralled other urban south centers. In Midwestern cities blacks settled in older inner city neighborhoods, but in Louisville there was a tendancy for blacks to settle on the urban periphery, originally in Smoketown, but later in neighborhoods like Little Africa (later Park Duvalle) and in the Wet Woods (the Newburgh Road area). This pattern is similar to that identified by Harold Rabinowitz in his "Race Relations in the Urban South", where freed slaves formed settlements on the edges of Southern cities (which is quite visible in Lexington, too).

http://www.slaveryinamerica.org/images/slave_census_US_1860_b.jpg (broken link)







The aspect of religion as a indicator of southern cultural character is also key as Louisville is a center of the Southern Baptist faith, with a large seminary in town. Baptists vie with Catholics as the largest denomination in the city. You will not find a Midwestern city ouside Missouri (one county in Kansas city) that has a signifigant Baptist population. Louisville however does.



The Bible Belt

If it's worth mentioning Richmond Va (former capitol of the Confederacy) has a larger Catholic population than Louisville. While Texas has always had a large Hispanic Catholic population, the cities of San Antonio and Galveston, Texas were hot beds for German Catholics. It should also be noted that Louisville German and Irish in migration was to a MUCH less degree than St.Louis and Cincinnati, so much less that Louisville's blacks will be the largest ancestry in the city within 2 or 3 years.

Louisville like every other Southern city lost black population during the first black migration North. This is quite the opposite in St.Louis and Cincinnati, in which this played a major role in the building of the cities we see today. St.Louis especially was a hotbed for black migrants, which was the complete opposite for Louisville, being steeped in Southern culture and idealology.

http://www.uic.edu/educ/bctpi/greatm...eftcolumn.html (broken link)

http://ucdata.berkeley.edu:7101/rsfc.../blkp10_00.gif (broken link)

Here are two excellent sources showing how Louisville and the South in general held the highest concentration of blacks until the migration.

The physical character of the city is more southern to me. The common vernacular housing of the older pre-WWII city is not like that in other Midwestern cities, where one sees the use of one or two story houses or cottages (sometimes duplex apartments) with the gable end facing the street. Louisville uses the very Southern shotgun house, as well as other forms that are appear to be unique to Louisville, such as a variation on the foursquare. For post WWII building, there was the continued popularity of neoclassical or colonial revival in developer housing. Even the local version of the ranch house sometimes uses wrought iron on the front porches as a sort of generic reference to "New Orleans/River City".

All of the following sources label Louisville and Kentucky as Southern in terms of dialect.











The last map was from the "Do you speak American" dialect studies in which Louisville was also listed as a Southern city.

Here is a cultural map created by this nations most reknown geographer D.W. Meinig. He draws the Southern boudary line through Southern the Southern ares of Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio, So obviously Louisville is safely tucked below that line (not saying that it doesn't have Midwestern influence). Again I'm aware that Louisville has Midwestern influence, however it does not top the Southern influence.

http://www.pfly.net/misc/GeographicMorphology.jpg (broken link)



Louisville pronouces it Coke along with the rest of the South

Last edited by Louisvilleslugger; 05-29-2007 at 04:58 PM..
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Old 05-29-2007, 03:30 PM
 
301 posts, read 1,245,934 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rgb123 View Post
I've made my feelings pretty clear (before the thread was moved to the kentucky board...weird because this is a regional question). I think Louisville is in the South, no question.

I dont think you need to be from Northern Minnesota either to notice that southern illinois, indiana and ohio are also not completley midwestern. I guess some people say its not that Southern, but I have never met a person from Louisville that does not have a thick southern accent!

I think Southern Indiana and Illinois share more characteristics with the south than they do the midwest or north.....so its my belief that kentucky is well below the modern mason-dixon.

Being Southern is not derogatory by the way, so I dont understand some peope's emotional response to being labled as southern, or where they live being southern, while many people in those parts will gladly admit to their southerness...

I actually am very surprised that so many people think of kentucky as a border state...never ever heard of that or thought that and wonder where those people grew up -- west coast? east coast? I think that most people in the deep south know kentucky is also in the south.

rambling....sorry, I wonder why this issue is hotly contested, it suprises me. think it is unfair that some think that because I am from northern illinois my assesment is somehow clouded. I've travelled extensivley throughout the country (by car....you see the transitions more that way) and I am a geographer...no, not an authority on the issue but it still suprises me that people have such different opinions about what I thought was pretty much a fact.

I almost took a job in louisville...I know it has a blend of cultures, I like that city a lot. I do think it is the first southern city though....not the last northern one. Its a cool city, either way.

What suprised me most of all was the how when the last poll read that over 80% of people see Louisville as a Southern city, but after being moved to the Kentucky Sub Forum within the last hours of the last day of the four day poll, 20 unanimous votes claimed it to be Midwestern, bringing the Midwest to a slight edge in the poll. Someone said that it might just be the Kentucky forums but who knows, all I know is this poll was specifically made for general U.S. perspective on the matter.
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Old 05-29-2007, 03:42 PM
 
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When I visited there a few years ago, I would typically say that Louisville is differently more Southern than Midwestern. Granted, the city is just across the river from the IN border yet, I honestly felt like I was in part of the South.I tend to think of the southern part of IL, IN and OH as the transitional areas from the North to the South.
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Old 05-29-2007, 04:51 PM
 
Location: Phoenix metro
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Its part southern, part midwestern. How many polls do we need about southern states, really?!?!?! LOL

Its not Georgia and its not Wisconsin. There. Done. LOL
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Old 05-29-2007, 05:11 PM
 
Location: Nashville
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Louisville is not unlike other (what I like to call) "hybrid cities": those cities that sit in or near a transition zone for two cultural regions.

When it comes to Louisville and Kentucky, I believe the southernmost point for Northern influence is the Ohio River. Louisville may have some Northern influences because it is located near the transition zone but there's no doubt that Louisville is in Dixie.

The southern third of Indiana (which begins south of the Indy metro area) is where I would say the state starts to take on a Southern feel. Southern Indiana is NOT Dixie because there's still Northern influences but once you've crossed the river into downtown Louisville you've definitely entered Dixie.

For me, this one is pretty much an open and shut case. Yes, Louisville has the Northern industrial and architectural influence but there's no question that the climate, dialect, location, history, and overall vibe of Louisville is very Southern.
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Old 05-30-2007, 12:49 AM
 
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[quote=Steve-o;793677]Its part southern, part Midwestern.

Quote:
How many polls do we need about southern states, really?!?!?! LOL
Well strangely enough when the earlier poll moved from the general U.S. forums to the Kentucky forums (which are relatively dead) it went from everyone almost unanimously voting it was Southern (with 23 saying it was Southern compared to only 4 saying it was Midwestern), within the last hours of the polls four day life over 20 votes suddenly pour in and unanimously vote Midwestern (which I found suspicious). So I decided to have a poll on the topic to see how the U.S. generally perceives the city.

Quote:
Its not Georgia and its not Wisconsin. There. Done. LOL
We know it's nieghter the Deep South nor the Upper Midwest, But when given the choice I'd just have to say that above all else it leans more to the South.
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