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William Goebel Fell Here plaque.

Goebel Fell Here

Field review by the editors.

Frankfort, Kentucky

William Goebel was a Democrat and unlikable. But when he lost a close election to become Kentucky governor in 1899, many people believed that his Republican rival had committed voter fraud. Goebel was on his way to the Kentucky General Assembly, which was trying to decide who had won, when he was struck down by an assassin's bullet. This had the unintended consequence of swaying sentiment in his favor. The mortally wounded Goebel was sworn into office, then died three days later. The Republicans ungraciously spread a rumor that the desperate Democrats had sworn Goebel in after he was already dead.

William Goebel statue.

A plaque in the sidewalk marks the spot where Goebel fell on January 30, 1900, and an impressive bronze statue of Goebel stands on a nearby lawn, probably the world's only statue of a four-day governor. Engraved on its base are what it says were Goebel's final words: "Tell my friends to be brave and fearless and loyal to the great common people."

That sounds unlikely to most Goebel experts. A display in the nearby Capitol City Museum states that Goebel, after eating some shellfish from his sickbed, actually muttered "Damned bad oysters," and died.

Goebel Fell Here

300 W. Broadway St., Frankfort, KY
Downtown, on the north side of W. Broadway St., just west of its intersection with Lewis St. The small plaque is set into the sidewalk in front of the Old Kentucky Capitol.
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Nearby Offbeat Places

Capital City MuseumCapital City Museum, Frankfort, KY - < 1 mi.
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Floral ClockFloral Clock, Frankfort, KY - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Jesus is My Swingset, Louisville, KY - 46 mi.

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