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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

King Louis XVI statue - Louisville, KY

King Louis XVI statue - Louisville, KY

On this date 45 years ago, downtown Louisville got a new statue of the city's namesake.

Located in front of Louisville Metro Hall is this statue of King Louis XVI, whom the city is named after. It is downtown on the corner of Sixth and Jefferson, across from the Louisville City Hall, and was presented as a gift to Louisville from Louisville's sister city, Montpellier, France, on July 17, 1967. At the presentation, a crowd of 300 dignitaries, both French and American, saw Montpellier's Mayor François Delmas officially present it to Louisville Mayor Kenneth Schmied. It was sculpted in 1829 by Achille-Joseph Valois for the king's surviving daughter, Marie-Thérèse, queen dowager of France, and made its public debut in Montpellier. However, the Second French Revolution soon took place, endangering the statue. It was then placed at a military base to protect it, and then was placed in Montpellier University, and then finally in the municipal archives' storage basement. In 1899 the statue was found to have an arm damaged, and to be in disrepair. It stayed in storage until it was decided in 1966 to give the statue to Louisville, making a seven-month journey between Montpellier and Louisville. The Carrara marble statue weighs nine tons, and is 12 feet high.

The base reads:
This city was named Louisville in 1780 because of his support of the American colonies in the Revolutionary War. The statue, sculpted by Valois in 1827, was given to Louisville by her sister city in France, Montpellier as a permanent symbol of our special friendship

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