The Kentucky quarter, the fifth and last quarter in the 2001 State Quarters series, shows one of our most prominent symbols of Kentucky, Federal Hill. The design shows a side view of the famous Bardstown home where Stephen Foster wrote the state song, “My Old Kentucky Home“ in 1852.
A thoroughbred racehorse also graces the design of the Kentucky commemorative quarter. Kentucky is home of the longest running annual horse race in the country, the Kentucky Derby (since 1875), and our famous Kentucky Bluegrass is also home to some of the world’s finest racehorses. In fact, Kentucky’s name is derived from the Cherokee word for “meadowland” after the bluegrass pastures that lured early pioneers to the state.
In 1792 Kentucky was the 15th state to join the union, and the first state to join from what was then considered the western frontier. The United States Mint was established that same year on April 2, and Kentucky joined the union only two months later on June 1.
Kentucky’s First Lady Judi Patton led the Kentucky Quarter Project Committee to coordinate the design of the quarter, and they received more than 1,800 design suggestions from across the state. The entries were narrowed down to 12 finalists which were displayed in the front lobby of the state Capitol and over the Internet in June of 1999.
Over 50,000 residents of Kentucky cast votes for their favorite design, and after review by the Citizens Commemorative Coin Advisory Committee, the Commission of Fine Arts, and the Secretary of the Treasury, Governor Paul E. Patton was provided with three candidate designs. Governor Patton selected the final design after asking Kentuckians for their opinions during his appearances around the state.