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Historical Look At Hopkins County

Madisonville, KY - An Historical Look At Hopkins County by J. Harold Utley of The Historical Society of Hopkins County

Welcome to “The Best Town on Earth”
Madisonville KY



Eagle Hotel

The hotel was built around 1850 at the northeast corner of Main and Main Cross (Center) Streets.
During the Civil War officers in command of troops stationed at Browning Springs
stayed at the hotel. The Eagle Hotel was a favorite gathering place for the discussion
of current events, especially during the Civil War.
The building was razed in 1906 for the construction of the new Farmers Bank.




Baker and Hickman

In 1901 F O Baker, Sr bought an interest in E J Ashby’s Dry Goods store on the SW corner of Main and Center.
The name was changed to Ashby and Baker. Kentucky Bank bought the property in 1903 for their bank site.
The store moved to a West Center location. L K Hickman bought an interest in the business in 1910 and it
became Ashby, Baker and Hickman. A few months later Mr Ashby died and the name was shortened
to Baker and Hickman.  This building was erected in 1918 and the business was moved to 15 E Center.
In November 1991 the store was closed.




Hopkins County Jail 1899 – 1977

 Designed by William Caleb Morton, Architect. He was the youngest son of John Gordon Morton,
Madisonville’s first banker. He also designed his father’s second bank and the Morton’s Theater.
The building was constructed by the Pauley Jail Building Company of St Louis MO at a cost of $7,500.




Hotel Madison 1906 – 1984

Built in 1906, it was originally named the Hotel Mary. It was sold in 1907 and renamed the Hotel Madison.
The ground floor was rented for various shops: Barber, Shoes, Dry Cleaners and Office Supplies. 
The hotel was razed in 1984 for the new Fire Station and City Employees parking lot.


Morton’s Theater  1901 – 1918

Construction on a luxurious opera house began in 1900 at the northeast corner of South Union Street and Cardwell Avenue.
Designed by William Caleb Morton, the brickwork was done by George Stewart. Mr Stewart was a local,
well-known brick mason and brick manufacturer. His brickyard was located east of South Seminary Street and south of West Jagoe Street.

The theater was luxuriously furnished with box seats on the north and south walls and comfortable seats throughout.
The construction cost was $50,000. (This translates to about $1,000,000 in today’s money)

In 1912 the theater was sold and renamed the Garrick Theater. On July 5, 1918 the building was destroyed by fire.
It was rebuilt with the Garrick name. On February 18, 1930 it was sold to the Crescent Amusement Company of Nashville TN
and renamed the “Capitol Theater”. On November 20, 1974 the last movie was shown and in 1979 the building razed.




North Wall Box Seats and Stage



Capitol Theater being razed in 1979


Log Cabin Birthplace Gov Ruby Laffoon (1869 – 1943)

The log cabin birthplace of former governor Ruby Laffoon (1869-1943) was located one mile northwest
of the Liberty Baptist Church on the farm now owned by the Perry family. The cabin was built by
John B Laffoon upon his return from service in the Army of the Confederate States of America.
Governor Laffoon was born in the cabin in 1869.

In 1986 the remains of the cabin were dismantled and moved to 107 South Union Street and restored
by the Historical Society of Hopkins County. The cabin was opened to the public in 1988.




Historical Society of Hopkins County

(Madisonville Public Library)

The Madisonville Public Library was constructed in 1926 by the Ruby Lumber Company of Madisonville at a cost
of $13,000. Furniture and shelving added an additional $3,000. All the funds for the library came from public donations.
There was no money from local, state or federal governments.

The building was used as a library from 1926 until 1970 when the library was moved to South Main Street.

The Historical Society of Hopkins County was organized on February 5, 1974 and the Museum was opened on
October 24, 1976. The Museum houses artifacts of Hopkins County history and thousands of books and pictures.



Madisonville Elks Lodge

The Madisonville Elks Lodge building was erected in 1906. The second and third floors were used by the lodge for
their meetings and activities. The first floor was rented for various businesses. Over the years the first floor housed
a buggy shop office, the Post Office, the library, doctors offices and lawyers offices


South Main Church Methodist, Baptist and General Baptist

 This is the location of the first church in Madisonville. The first church was built by the Methodist in 1848.
A brick building was erected in 1870 and in 1874 the building was rented by the Baptist.
In 1875 the Baptist moved to North Main, opposite the former Post Office.

Before the outbreak of WWII the building was used by the Kentucky National Guard as an Armory.
More recently the building was used by the Main Street General Baptist as their meeting place.
That group is now the First General Baptist on West Center Street.


First Christian Church

In 1846 land for the first church was donated by Frederick and Polly Kelly.
It is believed that the first building was erected in 1850.
The original building was razed and replaced with a brick structure in 1899.
In 1910 that building was replaced with the building pictured above.

On July 4, 1975 the building pictured was struck by lightning and destroyed by fire.
The church relocated to the corner of North Main Street and College Drive.




Hammack-Moore Bed & Breakfast 

Erected in 1895 the house was first the residence of William Lindsey. Lindsey sold the residence to
Dr Hammack. Dr Hammack’s daughter Keil married J B Moore, a pharmacist, and they lived here until
the sale to Joe and Shirley Thomas.  The Thomas’ have completely remodeled the house and today it is used
as a bed and breakfast.



Barnes Ford Sales

Erected in 1919 this was the first building in Madisonville built specifically as a new car dealership.
The Ford agency was later sold to Kelly-Jones.
The building was last used by Cates Oldsmobile-Cadillac as a new car dealership.

The building was later used as a carpet store and a photo shop.
The building is now owned by Joe and Shirley Thomas.




The Madisonville Young Men’s Christian Association building was erected in 1906. At this time Madisonville
was the smallest town in America to have a YMCA. Inkerman E Bailey, general manager of Reinecke Coal Company,
was very instrumental in securing the association. The building was later used as Madisonville Hospital,
which was closed in 1939, when the Hopkins County Hospital on Waddill Avenue
was opened. After that it was used as doctors offices and became known as Doctors Building.

A tornado struck the building on May 8, 1961 and the building was so damaged that it was razed and Beard Park was created.



L & N Railroad Station

The railroad was completed into Madisonville in 1869. A combination passenger/freight station was built to serve the city.
Later a freight station was built on the west side of the tracks. This station served Madisonville until
1929 when a new passenger station was built just south of West Arch Street.

Today a U S Bank branch stands on this location and the newer station is utilized as the Badgett Center for Educational Enhancement.




Madisonville Savings Bank

Madisonville Savings Bank was incorporated on July 8, 1907. The building was constructed
on a lot formerly owned by the Madisonville Hotel Company.
The land from Bishop’s Alley to Sugg Street had been the site of the Hotel Lucille,
which was destroyed by fire on December 25, 1906.

In 1913 the bank was dissolved and the building was sold to Lee W Schmetzer.
The property is now the site of Montpelier Park.



Dulin’s Department Store

The Dulin Department store was established in 1894 by the Dulin brothers,
W J and R S, Jr. In 1904 they purchased the Pratt Building and added an additional storeroom.

This building was erected and Dulin’s had the formal opening on November 10, 1911.
The third floor was rented to the State and used by the Kentucky Militia as an Armory.

Since the closing of Dulin’s in 1936 the building has housed Jordan Furniture and Watson’s Department stores.
Since the middle 70s it has housed the Hopkins County-Madisonville Public Library.



The Kentucky Bank and Trust Company

Above Prepared by: J Harold Utley Historical Society of Hopkins County Kentucky located in downtown Madisonville Kentucky.

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Dairy Queen "The Old and the New" Side by Side


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