Curious Louisville Ever had a question about the Derby City that you just can't answer? That's where Curious Louisville comes in. Listeners submit their questions, the public votes on which questions to investigate, and 89.3 WFPL finds the answers.
Curious Louisville

Curious Louisville

From 89.3 WFPL News Louisville

Ever had a question about the Derby City that you just can't answer? That's where Curious Louisville comes in. Listeners submit their questions, the public votes on which questions to investigate, and 89.3 WFPL finds the answers.More from Curious Louisville »

Most Recent Episodes

Curious Louisville: What's Up With That Stone Circle In Champions Park?

In a park off of River Road, nearly hidden by scrubby grass is a mystery: an about 50-foot wide stone circle marking long-ago infrastructure. This ring intrigued Curious Louisville listener Jim Turner, and he asked about it. "I heard [the circle] was a wading pool administered by the Louisville Water Company in the late 1800's. Is that true?" he wrote. Turner grew up in Louisville, not far from the stone circle. He remembers riding his bike from Field Elementary to the waterworks on Zorn Avenue. "The waterworks was my playground because I grew up very close to it. I rode along and through the waterworks property going places I probably shouldn't sometimes. But when you're a kid, an indestructible kid, adventurous, that's what you do." So when one day Turner saw an old picture, taken from the distance that appeared to show a body of water — he thought maybe a pool — at the site of the stone circle, it made him curious. Turns out, this stone ring in that's now in a fairly inauspicious place — the Champions Park dog run — was actually part of a lofty nineteenth century vision of a genteel Louisville lifestyle, made possible by pumped household water: "The grounds will furnish our citizens with a delightful place of public resort where the man of business can find recreation from toil and oblivion of care, women and children obtain unrestricted exercise and amusement in the open air and the infirm consult heaven's pure atmosphere and the genial sunlight as their medical advisors." That's from around 1860, when the Louisville Water Company began pumping water. And it's a description of the park around the stone circle. Louisville Water spokeswoman Kelley Dearing Smith said she believes it was written by Charles Hermony, the company's chief engineer and superintendent. In 1860, the water company's major infrastructure was all located near the intersection of Zorn Avenue and River Road. There was the water tower and pump station; those are still standing. There was the city's original reservoir, which was on a bluff where the Veterans' Hospital is located today. And across the street, at the current site of the Champions Park dog run, was Water Works Park. A central attraction of the park was this fountain. And in 1860, it was an engineering marvel. "So what they did is, they took the pressure that was coming off of the water in the reservoir — because it's on a bluff right behind us," Dearing Smith said. "And that pressure helped the water to shoot up into the air from the fountain." Unfortunately, Hermony's vision was never really fully realized. Dearing Smith said the park was damaged shortly after it was built, by soldiers walking through on their way to fight in the Civil War. There were also possibly some other problems with upkeep, and with the park not being the attraction it was expected to be. By 1879, Louisville Water had built its current Crescent Hill reservoir, and the original reservoir wasn't needed. That stone circle is what's still visible of the fountain. If you go into the dog park today, it's hard to miss: it's the site where all the little plastic wading pools are gathered, to help small dogs cool off in the summer. And Jim Turner wasn't the only person to wonder about it. We've gotten a few questions at Curious Louisville, and Dearing Smith has fielded some at Louisville Water, too. Sometime this spring, Louisville Water and Metro Parks plan to put a sign at the site, so everyone who comes to the Champions Park dog run will know the history of Water Works Park. Have a question of your own? Ask it at CuriousLouisville.org.

Curious Louisville: What's Up With That Stone Circle In Champions Park?

Curious Louisville: What Is On Shippingport Island

In the middle of the Ohio River, visible from I-65 and Louisville's Portland neighborhood, is a tiny island called "Shippingport." You can drive to the base of the island, but you'll be met with an array of "no trespassing" signs and wire gates. And Curious Louisville listener Ruby Fields wanted to know what was behind them.

Curious Louisville: What Is In The Tiny House On The 14th Street Bridge?

If you're driving down I-64, and happen to look out over the Ohio River, you may catch a glimpse of a house-like structure on top of the 14th Street Bridge. It's small — barely noticeable — but a lot of people have questions about it. Including our latest Curious Louisville listener. WFPL's Ashlie Stevens has more.

Curious Louisville: What Is In The Tiny House On The 14th Street Bridge?

What Happens To Your Recycling?

Over the last couple years, WFPL's Curious Louisville has received nearly a dozen questions about Louisville recycling. People want to know what happens after it leaves the curb, where it all goes, and how a 2017 Chinese policy impacts recycling in Kentucky. In this installment of Curious Louisville, WFPL's Energy & Environment Reporter Ryan Van Velzer visits the largest recycling center in Louisville to answer one of our most commonly asked questions.

Curious Louisville: What Causes Traffic Signals To Go Out?

Traffic signals: you barely notice them until they're not working. But what actually causes them to malfunction? That's what a Curious Louisville listener wanted know; As WFPL's Amina Elahi found out the culprit is often power, or — more accurately — the lack of it. Here's more:

Curious Louisville: How Do You Become A Kentucky Colonel?

What do Paul McCartney, Betty White and Muhammad Ali have in common? All three, along with about 100,000 other people, have been given the title "Kentucky Colonel." But how does one gain the honor? That was listener Patrick Grantz's question for Curious Louisville — and our resident Kentucky Colonel, broadcast managing editor Rick Howlett, has the answer:

Curious Louisville: Where Is Pokey LaFarge's 'Carpet Alley?'

If you listen to our sister station WFPK, or attended Forecastle in 2016, you've probably heard of Pokey LaFarge He's an artist whose music, as NPR's Stephen Thompson once said, "evokes the old-timey spirit of a thousand crackling 78 RPM records." LaFarge is based in St. Louis, but lived in Louisville for a time, which is what inspired his 2015 song "Home Away From Home" — and our latest Curious Louisville question from listener Troy Richardson. WFPL's Ashlie Stevens has more:

A Curious Louisville News Special: Your Questions About The JCPS Audit

Earlier this month, Curious Louisville asked what questions you have about the JCPS audit and possible state takeover. You sent us more than 50 in the first 24 hours, and we realized we'd need to dedicate some extra time to answer them all. Here's our hour-long news special, hosted by Kentucky Public Radio's Ryland Barton and WFPL education reporter Roxanne Scott.

Curious Louisville: Could A State Takeover Of JCPS Affect Teacher Contracts?

Curious Louisville asked for your questions about the JCPS audit — and you had lots of questions! In today's edition, we take a look at the Jefferson County Teachers Association--also known as JCTA or the teachers union--to answer this question from former teacher, Paul Downs: "With JCTA and JCPS set to renegotiate a new contract for teachers this summer, what happens if the state takes over and the contract has not yet been negotiated?" WFPL's Laura Ellis and Roxanne Scott have the answers... lots of them.

Curious Louisville: Could A State Takeover Of JCPS Affect Teacher Contracts?

Curious Louisville: Have There Been Other State Takeovers in Kentucky?

Last month, the Kentucky Department of Education released an audit recommending the state take over Louisville's public school system. Curious Louisville asked for your questions about the audit. Shawn Carroll and Karen Rippy wanted to know if there had been other state-takeovers in Kentucky. And if so, how were they working out? Ashlie Stevens talked to Kentucky Public Radio's Ryland Barton for the answer.

Curious Louisville: Have There Been Other State Takeovers in Kentucky?

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