Shippingport, Kentucky


Shippingport, Kentucky was given to John Campbell in 1785 for his service in the French and Indian War. At that time it became known as Campbell Town. It was sold in 1803 and renamed Shippingport.

The population grew from 98 to over 500 and at one time challenged the 4th Street Wharf in downtown Louisville. At that time a warehouse and mill was built on Shippingport and soon began to export their goods. Elm Tree Garden became a popular spot for horse-racing and was well known. In 1817 a six-story flour mill built because how successful Shippingport had become.

In 1825 the building of the Louisville and Portland Canal and made Shippingport into an island. It soon became known as Shippingport Island and is locally known by that name today.

Over the years the Louisville and Portland Canal was gradually widened to keep up with the steamboats and later barges that carried products from one end of the country to another. A hydroelectric plant was also built on the island as time changed. Slowly residents and businesses began to close and leave.

The area was devastated by the flood of 1937 when most of Louisville was under water. It forced the island to evacuate until the river returned to it’s banks. Many people never returned because their homes were completely destroyed.

In 1958 the government acquired the property by eminent domain to widen the canal. They evicted many families that had lived there for over a 100 years.


6 responses

  1. Interesting history on how Shippingport Island was created, I never knew that until reading this. Thanks for posting.

    Scottsdale, AZ
    formerly from Clarksville, In

  2. My ancesors were from Shippingport Dennis C. Hambaugh and Eliza Mann were my 3rd Maternal Grandparents.
    I am searching for any information about them and about the shippingport businesses. I have a photo of a store of business that I believe is from there. John Thomas Hambaugh died in Louisville after the 1890 tornado from pneumonia. His picture was in the newspaper working to salvage and clean up after the storm. If you have any information I would be glad to pay for the information.
    Barbara C Hale
    14622 S Hwy 170
    West Fork AR 72774

    1. Hello,
      I seen your message about a store in shippingport and was wondering if you could seen me a copy of it. I use to live in shippingport 1945-1953 with my family. i have been trying to get any information to put in my genealogy book. Anytyhing you could give me, I would appreciate it. Thanks. Elizabeth

    2. Hello,
      I lived in Shippingportin 1945-1956, i am doing my family tree and would like any photos of Shippingoport. I think that photo of the store is Zulinder”s they had a store 2 houses from us. I would appreciate any thing you may have on Shippingport. Thank you Elizabeth

  3. There is a very little information about Shippingport, KY found in a book called, “Steve P. Holcombe, The Converted Gambler” This book was published in 1888 and is now out of print (although it is possible to find copies of it online). Interestingly, the whole book is available online at:

    He was a riverboat gambler turned preacher in the late 1800s in Louisville and he was raised on Shippingport and there is at least one drawing of the island and some little bit of information there.

    I am relatively certain your relative’s name is not mentioned in the book, but there is some info about Shippingport itself, for what that’s worth.

    1. Gaylinn Mix-Foley | Reply

      Steve Holcombe was my great great grandfather. I have not in 30 years of research been able to get further back in my genealogy with his family. I was told his father was Thomas Jefferson Holcombe, however he is not listed in Nathion Builders and have never been able to find where he came from. I know,tales have it, that he died as a drunk on the streets of Shippingport and a shallow grave was dug and he was rolled in! (Ah…family skeletons!)

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