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Last month the residents of Lone Oak, Kentucky sought to dissolve their own town. Upset over high taxes, 100 of the towns 454 residents signed a petition to get the measure on the ballot. Why is this relevant? This small town in extreme western Kentucky has altered the namespace of the Commonwealth’s largest city.

In the last 19th century, Louisville had its very own Lone Oak situated near the corner of Preston Highway and the Outer Loop. The surrounding area was nicknamed the Wet Woods for its low-lying wetlands and swampy terrain. The dominant feature here was a several hundred year old massive oak tree near an inn travellers would frequent on their way south out of the city.

Rumors from the time indicate that the Wet Woods were home to pirates and the road south was unsafe to travel after nightfall. The Inn at Lone Oak offered safe passage in times of difficult travel. The only problem was the name Lone Oak was already taken as a government post office name. The residents, always a creative bunch, rearranged the letters to form Okalona, and presto, the south Louisville suburb was born.

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Branden Klayko

Branden Klayko

Founder and Editor at Broken Sidewalk
Branden founded Broken Sidewalk in 2008 while practicing architecture in Louisville. He continued the site for seven years while living in New York City, returning to Louisville in 2016. Branden is a graduate of the College of Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis, and has covered architecture, design, and urbanism for The Architect's Newspaper, Designers & Books, Inhabitat, and the American Institute of Architects.
Branden Klayko

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