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Shively, city (1990 pop. 15,535), Jefferson co., N central Ky., a residential suburb of Louisville; settled c.1885, inc. 1938. Wine and vinegar are produced.

Shively is a city in Jefferson County, Kentucky, United States. The population was 15,157 at the 2000 census. It is located southwest of Louisville, Kentucky and directly adjoins the larger city. Shively is centered around the junction of US 60 and the Dixie Highway.


Shively was first settled and farmed around 1780, along with much of the rest of Jefferson County. It is named for early landowner Christian William Shively, who settled his 1,000 acre (4 km²) tract in 1810. He established a mill on what is still called Mill Creek. The area came to be known as the Shively precinct.

Shively donated land for a church in 1816, and it has lived on and is today Parkview Methodist. Shortly before the Civil War, German immigrants, mostly Catholics, began moving to the area and operating truck farms. Some would continue to operate as late as the 1930s. The first post office opened in 1902, and residents chose the name Shively for it. Their first choice was St. Helens, after St. Helen Catholic Church, established in 1897. But that was already taken by a post office in Lee County, and the name Shively was chosen. A streetcar line was extended to the area in 1904.

Eight whiskey distilleries opened in the area after prohibition ended, and this played an important role in the city's history when Depression-era Louisville soon tried to annex the area largely for the tax dollars the distilleries would generate. To avoid annexation by the much larger Louisville, Shively incorporated as a city on May 23, 1938 and annexed the distilleries four days later, acquiring a $20 million tax base. This revenue stream made the city quite well-funded through the 1960s, and it was the state's fastest growing city in the 1950s - fueled by its jobs and location near more urban Louisville areas. Located south of Louisville's West End, Shively was a favorite location for many families leaving that area as it became racial integrated.

In the 1950s and 1960s Shively was seen as an all-white suburb and became the site of controversy and national headlines in 1954 when activists Carl and Anne Braden bought a house there and sold it to a black family, who moved in. Shots were fired into the house, and eventually a bomb exploded under their daughter's bedroom. No one was harmed, and no one was ever convicted of the crime.

Increased taxes and a change in consumer tastes lead to the closure of most of the distilleries in the late 1960s. Shively's population has gradually declined since reaching 19,223 in 1970. Budget surpluses became shortfalls, and Shively tried but failed to annex the more suburban nearby area of Pleasure Ridge Park in 1984. That year the town was hit with a scandal when Police Chief Michael Donio admitted to taking bribes to allow prostitution in the area.

The area's fortunes have since improved somewhat, with various public works projects occurring and some businesses moving to the area. However, the area along Seventh Street north of Dixie is still known for its seedy adult entertainment businesses. Into the 2000s the area still lagged behind Eastern and Southern Jefferson County, with one of its few remaining large retail centers, the 150,000 square foot Dillard's on Dixie Highway, which had opened in 1956, closing in 2007 due to unusually slow sales at that location (the chain itself was profitable in the Louisville region).

Shively's modern boundaries are roughly Millers and Bernheim Lane to the north (Louisville's Algonquin neighborhood), Seventh Street to the east, I-264 to the west, and Rockford Lane to the south. St. Dennis is to the west, and Pleasure Ridge Park is to the south. The city of Louisville is also to the east.

Year Population
1970 19,223
1980 16,645
1990 15,535
2000 15,157
2007 Est. 16,089


Shively is located at (38.193175, -85.816166).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.6 square miles (12.0 km²), all of it land.


As of the census of 2000, there were 15,157 people, 6,667 households, and 4,080 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,271.1 people per square mile (1,264.0/km²). There were 6,929 housing units at an average density of 1,495.4/sq mi (577.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 67.26% White, 30.32% African American, 0.26% Native American, 0.42% Asian, 0.78% from other races, and 0.96% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.39% of the population.

There were 6,667 households out of which 25.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.1% were married couples living together, 17.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.8% were non-families. 34.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.84.

In the city the population was spread out with 21.7% under the age of 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 28.2% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 20.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 85.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $31,422, and the median income for a family was $38,652. Males had a median income of $31,368 versus $25,190 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,574. About 12.2% of families and 14.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.7% of those under age 18 and 10.2% of those age 65 or over.



  • Rowena, Bolin (1989). A Place in Time: The Story of Louisville's Neighborhoods.
  • (2001). .

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