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Anchorage History
       Of all the outlying villages that developed in the two-hundred-year history of Jefferson County, Anchorage has most nearly retained its character in the path of the suburban growth of Louisville.  Located in eastern Jefferson County along LaGrange Rd., it is a park-like community of some eight hundred and fifty residences, a school, churches, and a few businesses located in the wooded hills and valleys adjoining branches of Beargrass and Goose Creeks.
       The northwestern boundary is formed by land claimed in 1773 by Isaac Hite and identified on John Filson's first map of Kentucky as Hite's Mill, later part of the grounds of Central State Hospital and the E.P. Sawyer State Park. The connecting roads to the Ohio River at Harrods Creek and to Middletown on the south were early transportation routes along which the farms of the first settlers were located.
       Most influential among the early landowners was Edward Dorsey Hobbs, whose family was in business in Middletown.  As a surveyor, he had drawn some of the earlier maps of Louisville as well as Anchorage and planned for the orderly growth of the area.  He was involved with the establishment of the Louisville and Frankfort Railroad (later purchased by Louisville & Nashville Railroad) through Anchorage in 1849.  For several years the crossroads was known as Hobbs' Station. 
       Although the Ohio River is twelve miles away, the nautical name of the retirement home of riverboat captain James W. Goslee was adopted when the town was incorporated in 1878, three years after his death at a railroad crossing.  Tradition has it that the anchor that hangs inside the rim of a locomotive wheel in the center of town is the one that Captain Goslee removed from his ship, the Matamora, and put on his lawn at "The Anchorage" in 1869.  It is a monument to the river and the railroad and those who shaped the town's growth.
       With train service available, including the Louisville, Anchorage, and Pewee Valley interurban line starting in 1901, students seeking a high school education could attend the local boarding schools:  Bellewood Female Seminary, Pine Hill Academy, and Forest Military Academy.  Construction of the Citizens National Life Insurance Co. building in 1911 generated enough tax base to allow the community to create Anchorage Graded and High School.
       The chapel at the Bellewood Seminary had become the meeting place of a Presbyterian congregation organized in Middletown in 1799.  In 1869 the gothic Revival-style sanctuary of the Anchorage Presbyterian Church was built.  St. Luke's Episcopal Church was built in 1908, and the Catholic Church of the Epiphany was constructed in 1975.
       Isaac W. Bernheim, a Louisville distiller and the benefactor of Bernheim Forest, was among those prominent citizens who acquired a summer house in Anchorage.  Through his influence, the Frederick Law Olmsted firm of Brookline, Massachusetts, was commissioned in 1914 to design a plan for the growth of Anchorage. The plan incorporated the stone bridges and triangle intersections that were features of the Louisville park system, also designed by the firm.  Bernheim was the first president of the Anchorage Civic League, formed in 1914.  The league has worked closely with the town board on issues of public concern.  With growth stimulated by the rail lines, the town board acted in 1901 to confine commercial growth to a limited district, thus beginning the zoning and land use planning that protected the town from incompatible development.
       Between 1878 and 1978, many of the large estates were subdivided into smaller building sites.  The number of houses nearly doubled between 1977 and 1997.  To preserve the rural character of the town, an Anchorage Historic District was created, with listing on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.  Ten years later, the boundaries of the district were extended to include most of the town.  The town became a fifth-class city in 1966 and moved to a fourth-class city in 1984.  In 2015, Kentucky redefined city classifications and Anchorage became a home rule-class city.  The 2010 census lists the population of Anchorage as 2,348.
See Edith Woods, Middletown Days and Deeds (Louisville 1946); Leone W. Hallenberg, Anchorage (Anchorage 1959); Mildred Ewen, Anchorage Revisited (Louisville 1976).

Mildred Long Ewen

Click here for a tribute to former Anchorage Mayor Peyton H. Hoge III 
City of Anchorage, Kentucky
1306 Evergreen Road
Anchorage, Kentucky 40223
Phone (502) 245-4654
Fax (502) 245-5651
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