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Louisville Community Leaders to Dedicate Dirt Bowl Algonquin Park Historical Marker

FRANKFORT, Ky. (August 5, 2021) – On Saturday, August 14, 2021, at 12:00 pm KHS and community leaders will dedicate the “Dirt Bowl/Algonquin Park” historical marker at Algonquin Park, located at 1614 Cypress Street, Louisville, Kentucky.

Speakers include co-founder of the Dirt Bowl Janis Carter Miller, Louisville Metro Councilwoman Keisha Dorsey, Layla George, President, and CEO of Olmsted Parks Conservancy, and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. Former athletes who competed in the Dirt Bowl will also be in attendance.

Marker number 2616 features Louisville’s Dirt Bowl, founded in 1969 by Janis Carter and Ben Watkins. Ben Watkins passed away in April 2020. The name “Dirt Bowl” represented pick-up games where dirt surrounded the court. Cherished by the community for over 50 years, this event has grown into a city-wide basketball tournament and was celebrated by the Louisville Story Program with the book I Said Bang!: A History of the Dirt Bowl. The book received two 2017 Leadership in History Awards from AASLH and a 2016 Kentucky History Award from KHS.

Marker text: In 1969, Louisville natives and Algonquin Park supervisors Janis Carter and Ben Watkins created the Dirt Bowl. What began as pickup games grew into a playground basketball tournament. Named for the dirt surrounding the courts at Algonquin Park, the Dirt Bowl moved to Shawnee Park in 1971. Sponsored by Metro Councilwoman Keisha Dorsey in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Dirt Bowl.

The marker also recognizes Algonquin Park, which was designed by Olmsted Brothers, an architecture firm, in 1929. Olmsted Brothers was established in 1898 by John Charles Olmsted and his brother Frederick Law Olmsted Jr.

Marker text: Algonquin Park was designed by Olmsted Brothers, a well-known landscape architecture firm, in 1929. The sixteen-acre Algonquin Park is one of seventeen parks in Louisville laid out by Olmsted and his sons over a fifty-year period and is a part of the city’s historic Olmsted Parks and Parkways System. Olmsted Parks Conservancy

Since 1949, the Kentucky Historical Marker program has allowed communities across Kentucky to recognize and share the sites, events, and personalities they consider to be important to local, regional, state, or national history. To date, more than 2,400 markers help to illuminate Kentucky’s complex story. For more information on the KHS Historical Marker Program, visit the Historical Marker page. Also, visit the App Store or Google Play to download the Explore Kentucky History app on your mobile device. The app shows the locations of historical markers across the Commonwealth and includes tours and additional historical content.

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