Preserve America Community:
Hopkinsville, Kentucky (population 30,089), county seat of Christian County, was founded by pioneer Bartholomew Wood in the late 1790s. In the 1830s, Hopkinsville witnessed the forced removal of the Cherokee Nation from Georgia, as more than 13,000 Cherokee passed through western Kentucky on the so-called Trail of Tears.
Hundreds became ill and died en route, including two aged chiefs, who died while camped in Hopkinsville. During the Civil War, Hopkinsville was occupied by each side no less than a dozen times, and the county courthouse was burned. Postwar, the advent of the railroad opened markets for agricultural and industrial products, particularly tobacco. A new economic generator came to Hopkinsville during World War II with the creation of Fort Campbell, which remains an important local employer.
Hopkinsville is located in southwestern Kentucky in the area known as the Pennyroyal Region, and the Pennyroyal Area Museum is housed in the historic Old Post Office. Another important heritage tourism attraction is the Cherokee Trail of Tears Commemorative Park, part of the Trail of Tears National Historical Trail and site of an annual intertribal powwow.
Hopkinsville has two locally designated historic districts and numerous properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places, including the downtown commercial district. The city is working through its Main Street Program to revitalize downtown, and recently has supported rehabilitation of the Odd Fellows Building (1902). When completed, the project will showcase how Hopkinsville can use historic buildings to bring new commercial and residential tenants to its downtown.
For more information
City of Hopkinsville: www.hoptown.org
Hopkinsville-Christian County Chamber of Commerce: www.commercecenter.org
Updated August 19, 2009