Last October we took the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience in downtown Louisville and in addition to learning about the history of the brand, we learned about the origins of the city. It's located on the Ohio River just upstream of the Falls of the Ohio which back in the 1780s presented the only rapids on the Ohio from its beginning in Pittsburgh to it flowing into the Mississippi River at Cairo, Illinois. Those rapids were very dangerous and boats would offload their cargo, which would be hauled overland 2.5 miles downstream to a spot below the Falls, and hopefully loaded back on their original ship, assuming the lightened craft could navigate the Falls safely.
The Louisville and Portland Canal was completed in 1830 and renamed the McAlpine Locks and Dam in 1960. This removed the obstacle the Falls presented and allowed commercial and pleasure craft safe passage up and down the river. More information can be found at the link below.