All Kentuckians are aware that due to dithering over the state constitution, Kentucky became the 15th star in our nation’s flag and not the 14th. Vermont became the 14th state in 1791 and Kentucky the 15th in 1792. What many do not know is that Frankfort ranks eighth in the longevity of being an American state capital city.
In 1792, Frankfort was designated as the location of Kentucky’s capital, and in 1793 the legislature first met in Frankfort. The only American cities with a longer record of serving as their state’s capital are Boston, Massachusetts, which became the capital city of the colony of Massachusetts in 1630; Annapolis, Maryland, which replaced St. Marys as the state’s capital city in 1694; Dover, Delaware, which on the eve of the Revolutionary War became the state capital in 1777; Richmond, Virginia, which became the state’s capital city in 1780 when, as a wartime measure, the seat of government was moved from Williamsburg to the Falls of the James River; Trenton, New Jersey, which became the state capital in 1787 as the Revolutionary War drew to a close; and Columbia, South Carolina, which became the state capital in 1786 after that state’s government was forced to evacuate Charleston following its capture by the British Army.
The seven states which designated their current capital city after 1792, when Frankfort was the capital of Kentucky, are the following: Raleigh, North Carolina, was designated the state’s capital city in 1792; Albany, New York, in 1797; Montpelier, Vermont, in 1805; Concord, New Hampshire, in 1808; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in 1812; Hartford, Connecticut, in 1875, and Providence, Rhode Island, in 1900.
Thus, from the foregoing, it is plain that just because a city has been designated as being a state’s capital city, there is no guarantee that this designated capital city will retain the title for all eternity. Other states that have changed their capital city include Indiana, which became a state in 1816, but in 1825 moved its capital from Corydon to Indianapolis; Louisiana, which was granted statehood in 1812 but moved its capital from New Orleans to Baton Rouge in 1882; Michigan abandoned its 1837 capital city of Detroit in 1887 for Lansing; Maine, a state since 1820, moved its capital in 1832 from Portland to Augusta.
Other states that changed their capital cities are Ohio in 1816, Mississippi in 1821, Missouri in 1826, Tennessee in 1826, West Virginia in 1865, and Oklahoma in 1910. In 1960, Brazil moved its national capital from Rio de Janeiro to the newly built capital city of Brasilia. In 1994, the citizens of Alaska voted to move their state capital from Juneau to Wasilla, a community near Anchorage.
This undertaking by Alaska to relocate its state capital has yet to take place due to the cost of building a new capitol, but it could still happen. Over the years in Kentucky there have been a number of initiatives to relocate Kentucky’s capital from Frankfort to either Danville, Lexington or Louisville.
The city most persistent and vocal in wanting this move was Louisville. The last major attempt by Louisville to steal the capital from Frankfort took place in 1904. Thankfully, common sense prevailed and therefore, the capital city of Kentucky is not Louieville, Louaville or Lewisville, but FRANKFORT.