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Happy birthday song

Posted by ESC on August 28, 2002

Parking lot will honor composers of 'Happy Birthday' song
Armstrong names site as tribute to Louisville sisters
By Sheldon S. Shafer
sshafer@courier-journal.com
The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ky.

Aug. 28, 2002
How do you duly honor the Louisville sisters who penned perhaps the world's
most oftsung song?

Name a city parking lot after them.

More than a century after Mildred and Patty Hill published the tune later dubbed
''Happy Birthday To You,'' Mayor Dave Armstrong has disclosed that a small
parking lot just southwest of Main and Ninth streets will be called ''The Happy
Birthday Lot.''

It's no ''insignificant'' honor to name the 17-space lot in the city's burgeoning
West Main cultural district after the Hill sisters, Armstrong said.

The ''Birthday Lot,'' which already is open to parkers, is expected to be dedicated
late next month, Armstrong said. The site will be landscaped, and a marker
telling the sisters' story will be erected, Armstrong said.

The city is asking the sisters' descendants to contact officials at 574-3333.

In 1893, the sisters published a short song called ''Good Morning to All.'' Without
their permission, a man named Robert Coleman republished their song in 1924
and added a second verse, the famous ''Happy Birthday to You.''

The Hill family went to court and eventually won the rights to what became the
traditional birthday song.

Mildred Hill, who died in 1916, and Patty, who died in 1946, taught kindergarten
and music in Louisville.

Yesterday, Armstrong announced that a new 125-space city parking lot near
Ninth and Washington streets has been named the ''Lifesavers Lot'' in honor of
three life guards -- William Devan, John Tully and John Gillooly -- who staffed a
rescue station at the Falls of the Ohio starting in the 1880s.

The three men are credited with saving more than 50 lives in the 1880s alone.