The settlement of Louisville began with the settlement of Corn Island, near the Falls of the Ohio River. The island was first surveyed by Thomas Bullitt in 1773, and George Rogers Clark established a settlement on the island on May 27, 1778. The land was settled as a farming community of 60 people, but was also used as a military post during the American Revolution. The naming of Corn Island emphasized the importance of farming to the community, but may have also been a ruse to keep the British from knowing about the military post.
On June 24th of that year Clark and his men departed, though the settlers remained. The settlers eventually moved to the mainland the following year, and it would be from this settlement that Louisville was founded. The island was still used for farming and hunting for years afterwards.
In a 1780 land survey, the island was measured at 43 acres long stretching from 4th to 14th Streets in Louisville. However, when the Louisville Cement Company began extracting rock from the island in the 1800s and the loss of trees caused rapid erosion. By 1895 the island had eroded to only 7 acres. the construction of a dam in 1920 flooded the island, and today it is completely submerged. The only evidence of the island today is a plaque located at Fort Nelson Park.
The memory of the island is kept alive with the annual Corn Island Storytelling Festival which is held every September. Though this important landmark of Louisville's history is now claimed by the Ohio River, the memory will live on.