When the CSX railroad was formed in the early 1970's, the L&N took B&0 and C&0 trains into
their new modern Osborn yard in south Louisville, and their need of the K&I ended, other than
trackage rights across the bridge. The Southern R.R. purchased the L&N and B&0 interests in the
K&I, December 31, 1981. An evaluation of the K&I was set at $30,000,000.00 and upon
purchase the K&ITRR ceased to exist, but their part in Louisville history for 101 years can never
The K&I corporate offices were in an old mansion at 2910 Northwestern Parkway. The mansion
was built around 1863 by Enoch Lockhart, the Superintendent of the Portland Canal. He could look
down the embankment upon the Canal. He sold the mansion in 1867 to J.F. Irwin for $20,000.00
cash. Captain Irwin owned the Portland and New Albany ferry and his family owned most of the
property the K&I terminal was laid out on. He died in 1883, and it is known the K&I rented the
mansion at least from 1900 to 1910, at which time they purchased it.
In 1968 the bridge was evaluated and deemed good for 50 more years after having been
used for 56 years. Two bridge long grain trains loaded with 100 ton grain cars powered by six
locomotives on each train can cross this bridge easily. Strength of the bridge is Coopers E-55.
Besides the train load or live load as it is commonly referred to, the bridge is designed to carry its
own weight, the tracks and dead weight of the vehicular roadways. The Coopers E-55 was
updated to Coopers E-75 by this study. The bridge weighs 36.5 million pounds, is 4554 feet long
with approaches and was built by American Bridge Company. In 1952 the wooden floor on the
roadways were replaced by steel decking.
Due to the scope of how many houses would need to be taken in the 1910 expansion, the K &I
took pictures of homes from 29th street to 32nd street on Montgomery, Portland, Bank, and
Market Street. The glass negatives and pictures of homes in 1900 have been used by the
Portland Museum in a slide illustration of life in Portland in 1900 as people appear in many of
these pictures dressed in their 1900 attire. Many of these homes weren't taken in the expansion
and the pictures of the homes, before (1900) and now (1990) are very interesting.
I would like to say more about Bennett H. Young, the first president of the K&I. He was born in
1843 and his home was on Ormsby Avenue in Louisville. He was an attorney, general counsel and
president of the New Albany and St. Louis RR and as you will hear in his 1912 speech opening the
new bridge, he was also president of the Monon and brought the Southern RR into Louisville in
1887. He had a hand in the creation of the Presbyterian Seminary in Louisville and was president of
the Southern Exposition 1883/1884. That area is now Central Park and St. James Court, only a
block from his Louisville address.
Presiding at the November 27,1912 festivies was Mr. Mitchell,President of the K&I, and builder
of the new bridge. Others speaking were Kentucky Gov. Ed. J. McDermott, known as the little
Giant orator, Mayor W.O. Head, Geo.Danforth, President of the Board of Trade, J.W. Sanders of
the Commercial Club, and President Theodore Liesen of the Engineers & Architects Club of
At this time I am going to read Bennett H. Young's speech which gives an insight into the earlier
1880-1900 history of the K&I.
General Young: "It looked a little like they were not going to get down to me. I hope you
will all consider me still in the ring".
"One of the greatest architects in the world, standing in one of the most magnificent buildings in the
world, which he had designed, was asked: 'Where is your monument? Why, he said, Look
around. This is my monument.' "All we have to do to see Mr. Mitchell's monument is to look
around and take in this marvelous structure.
I know something of bridge building. The old bridge at the time it was built was the greatest
cantilever system that had ever been constructed. Then, when Louisville Southern was built, it was
necessary to span the KY. River, and we built at that time the longest cantilever span in existence.
This magnificent enterprise here is but an echo to the cry of Louisville for Greater things, and
Greater prosperity, and it is answered fully and completely in this structure. In this enormous
bridge we have a presentation of what Louisville is and will yet be.