Here we are again, on the road, bringing you details about another great repository in Kentucky! In this case, we will be showing you three wonderful repositories in Hopkinsville, Christian County, which lies in the southwest part of the state, along the Tennessee border. For those of you with Western Kentucky roots, Hopkinsville should be on your radar, as it’s well worth a detour. On a side note – the local restaurants are also worth the detour – and we all know, nothing goes better with genealogy research, than some fantastic home-style cooking and barbecue! Also, don’t be surprised at hearing the local term for Hopkinsville – ‘Hoptown’ – they even love putting it on t-shirts!
We first visited this wonderful library during a Piecing Together History event in 2013. As questions about the history of the community came up, we simply had to walk over to the genealogy/family history area on the second floor to access their wonderful collection. This area of the library contains a large collection of newspaper clippings arranged by surname, family vertical files, as well as a significant collection of local histories/resources collected from the surrounding counties, as far west as Paducah. The staff was very helpful and knowledgeable about the area – and the reference desk can be a great place to ask about connecting with local experts.
Just one stop among the Historic Museums of Hopkinsville, the Pennyroyal Area Museum is the crown jewel among the three. Not only is the museum a large and engaging exhibit space, but the museum offices have some resources available for research. Some of the resources they have include:
Compiled Cemetery Inventories (Riverside, Rosedale, County wide)
The African American Local Obituaries Program (Several binders full of obituary copies)
Military profiles of local Veterans – great memory wall in the back full of photos!
Information about the Black Patch Wars – complete with one of the scariest masks you will ever see in a museum!
This unique treasure trove of history can be accessed by invitation only, or random happenstance. When I was fortunate enough to get a personal tour, I came out with the distinct impression that I had just toured the warehouse seen at the end of the first Indiana Jones movie. The Historical Society is the brain child and collection of William Turner, and was begun in 1963. Sitting just across the street, diagonally, from the Pennyroyal Area Museum, the brick building stretches the width of a block, and is chock full of documents, artifacts, architectural antiques, photographs, and ephemera. Built in 1908 as a hardware store, it got a new life in 2003 as the storehouse of Christian County History. Again, just to reiterate, access is BY APPOINTMENT ONLY – OR – open when they’re open, and closed when they’re closed! You get the idea. When you do call for an appointment, let them know which family you are researching, and they just may know of some additional tidbits residing in the back of the warehouse. Local expertise is another HUGE benefit of visiting this facility!
City Business Directories from 1897
Telephone Directories from 1900 onward
Locally authored titles
Glass negatives from one of the first photographers in town, who started his business in 1858.
Personal papers, clippings, letters, family collections
Odds and ends – ask to see the fun stuff: Like the doors and desks from the original Carnegie Library still standing in town and currently under renovation – or the artifacts discovered while renovating the Hopkinsville Court House!
Well, that’s it for another Repository Roundup! See y’all next time!
that nil would transform.