|Carrollton, as viewed from the Observation Deck at General Butler State Park|
Port William, Kentucky became the county seat of Gallatin County when the county was formed in 1799. In 1938, the county was divided to create Carroll County. At that time, Port William was renamed Carrollton with the new county and its seat being named after Charles Carroll (a signer of the Declaration of Independence from Maryland). Upon the death of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams (both died on July 4, 1826), Carroll was the last remaining signer. He died in 1832. [cite and cite]
Carrollton is a nice river town with a beautiful courthouse. The walk approaching the courthouse is tree-lined and quite stately. Much of Carrollton/Port William’s early history centered on Water Street. This street, located between Main Street and the Ohio River, is largely washed away due to changes in the path of the river.
In fact, much of downtown Carrollton was submerged during the flood of 1884: “[t]he swelling continued, and by Thursday evening the north half of the Court house yard was deep enough to row a boat in.” [cite] For those who haven’t been to Carrollton, let me give some perspective. The remains of Water Street are perhaps 18 inches above the river; Main Street runs parallel to Water Street but is probably twelve feet higher in elevation. The ground rises across Main Street, on the south side of which rests the courthouse. And the lawn is large. This was a big ol’ flood.