Charles F. Grainger

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Charles F. Grainger
Charles F. Grainger.jpg
Circa 1913
Born(1854-01-23)January 23, 1854
DiedApril 13, 1923(1923-04-13) (aged 69)
TitleMayor of Louisville
PredecessorCharles P. Weaver
SuccessorPaul C. Barth
Political partyDemocratic Party

Charles F. Grainger was Mayor of Louisville, Kentucky from 1901 to 1905. He became president of Grainger & Company, his family's iron foundry.

He was elected to the Board of Aldermen representing the Seventh Ward in 1890. He became board president in 1893, and was quite powerful in the Democratic Party, temporarily eclipsing long-time party boss John Whallen. Grainger was elected mayor in 1901.

During his term as mayor, the Jefferson County Armory (which became Louisville Gardens was built, as was a new jail building and the main branch of the Louisville Free Public Library. After his term as mayor he became president of the Louisville Water Company.

He was president of the Louisville Jockey Club from 1902 to 1918. As President, he purchased Churchill Downs in 1905. He served as manager of the famous facility from 1918 until his death. He is credited with helping build the prominence of the Kentucky Derby, increasing the purse from five to fifty thousand dollars during his term. He also introduced the first parimutuel betting system in the United States.

He died in 1923 of heart disease and was buried in Cave Hill Cemetery.


  • "Grainger, Charles F.". The Encyclopedia of Louisville. 2001.
  • Yater, George H. (1987). Two Hundred Years at the Fall of the Ohio: A History of Louisville and Jefferson County (2nd ed.). Louisville, KY: Filson Club, Incorporated. ISBN 978-0-9601072-3-0.