Owensboro is the fourth largest city by population in the U.S. state of Kentucky. It is the county seat of Daviess County. It is located on U.S. Route 60 about 32 miles (51 km) southeast of Evansville, Indiana and is the principal city of the Owensboro, Kentucky Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city's population was 57,265 at the 2010 U.S. Census Estimate, with a metro population of 114,752. The city was named after Colonel Abraham Owen. Owensboro is the second-largest city in the Tri-State region of Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky after Evansville, Indiana.
According to anthropological studies, Native American culture in the locality dates back 12,000 years, though the last Shawnee Indians were forced to vacate the area before the end of the eighteenth century.
Owensboro had initially been settled in 1797 by frontiersman William Smeathers (Smothers), for whom the riverfront park in downtown Owensboro is named and a Kentucky Historical Marker is erected in his honor at the park. The settlement was originally known as Yellow Banks, Kentucky (a reference to the color of the banks of the Ohio River). The Lewis and Clark Expedition wintered at what is today's Owensboro prior to departing on their famous travels. In 1817, Yellow Banks was incorporated as a city under the name Owensborough, named after Colonel Abraham Owen. In 1893, the spelling of the name was shortened to its current Owensboro.