Population Trends and Growth
In 1807 Daniel McGary and Soloman Silkwood each donated twenty acres to establish the City of Madisonville. When the town was laid out, it consisted of two main streets. Main Street ran north and south and Main Cross ran east and west. In the survey of 1822, only Main Street and Main Cross were designated. As Madisonville was to be the county seat, it must have a Court House. So in August 1807 the contract for building the Court House and jail was granted to Soloman Silkwood. In 1810, records show that there were 37 people living in Madisonville.
By 1860 the population had grown to 602 and the first boardwalks had been installed. In December 1864, Confederate General Hylan B. Lyon of Eddyville, Kentucky, set fire to the Court House. In 1893, the City of Madisonville was designated a 4th class city governed by an elected Mayor and Council.
After 1893, additions to the city were approved by the city council. Early additions to the city usually bore the name of the developer or property owner. Some of the early additions are:
McCulley Addition 1902
Lynn’s Woodland 1903
Barnett & Lynn
Castle Heights 1920
Spring City 1920
Dozier Annex 1922
Dozier Addition 1923
Dozier Town 1928
GI Driver (Suthards) 1947
Grove Park 1949
Cherokee Heights 1951
By 1900, with a population of 3,628, Madisonville had 26 passenger and freight trains that were scheduled through the city in a twenty-four hour period. Electric street lamps were installed and telephones were beginning to appear in homes. Tobacco was grown in abundance and coal mines were opening in the area. In 1907, the city had four banks, eight churches, two grade schools, two ice plants, a canning factory, a spoke factory, three newspapers, two magazines, two wagon and carriages factories, four saw mills, two flour mills, a machine works, a foundry, a dye factory and many other businesses. In approximately 1923, the Dozier Heights Addition was developed.
In October 1929, the era known as the Great Depression began. Businesses and banks all over the country went under. All but two of the banks in Madisonville failed. The Kentucky Bank and Trust Company and the Farmers Bank managed to remain solvent.
Ruby Laffoon, a native of Hopkins County served as Governor of Kentucky from 1931 to 1935. He returned to Madisonville after completing his term as Governor and resided on South Seminary Street. His log cabin birthplace has been restored and moved to the Historical Society of Hopkins County located at 107 Union Street. Tours are available upon request.
In May 1935, the Works Progress Administration (later Works Projects Administration) was created by Presidential Order. It was a “make work” program that provided jobs and income to the unemployed across the nation. During the next few years here in Madisonville the WPA helped build the City Park, the City Park Clubhouse, the Municipal Stadium baseball park located in the City Park (where the Madisonville Miners played), the high school, the Court House, the Municipal Housing Projects and the Hospital. It helped remodel City Hall, pave miles of streets, build sidewalks and gutters and helped build storm sewers.
In July 1938, the City of Madisonville began annexing property and in 1941 the new City Park was opened. The population was 11,400. As WWII raged on, the largest industries were coal, lumber and a parachute factory became a shirt factory that operated for many years.
As the war ended and the soldiers headed home, finding suitable housing became a nation-wide problem. Some ingenious developer in Long Island, New York took a tract of land and sub-divided it into lots and came up with “sub-divisions”. This trend soon spread across the country and in 1949 Grove Park was developed. Grove Park was in the area that is now the Festus Claybon Park. Cherokee Heights and Woodlawn followed in 1951, Montrose Park in 1953, Heartland Ranchettes in 1956, Parkwood and Grampian Hills in 1957, and Eastview Acres and Brentwood Subdivision in 1959.
In 1960, the census showed Madisonville with a population of 13,110. At that time there were only three passenger trains and 15 freight trains scheduled through the city in a 24 hour period. U. S. Highway 41, State Highways 70, 85, 254, and 281 were the roads that lead into the City.
Madisonville continued to grow with the Chickasaw Subdivision in 1965, Sharp Addition in 1968. The Madisonville Bypass opened in 1963. It ran from north of Madisonville to Mannington, Kentucky. It later was incorporated into the Pennyrile Parkway which was opened in 1969. The Pennyrile Parkway is a limited access four lane highway that passes the City of Madisonville on the east side. The Pennyrile Parkways was originally a toll road with a toll booth at Sebree and Hopkinsville, Kentucky. The toll for through traffic was fifty cents at each booth. The toll booths were removed in 1991.
By 1970, the City’s population had grown to 15,332. Country Club Estates was added in 1973 and Brookshire Estates in 1975. In the 80’s and 90’s Northhaven Subdivision, Lakewood Subdivision, Wexford Farms, Courses The Backside, Belmont Subdivision and Huntington Ridge were added causing the population to swell to 16,200 in the 1990 census.
The 2000 census showed the population had grown to 19,307. Many more subdivisions have been added, but they all connot be in this limited space.
From 1999 to 2006 the City of Madisonville enjoyed an explosion in industry. Nine new industries located in the City, adding 2,000 jobs to our job market.
In December 2005, the 130th Combat Engineers of the National Guard unit stationed in Madisonville were deployed to Iraq. While in Iraq they were attached to the 101st Airborne Division.
On November 15, 2005 an F-4 tornado ripped through Madisonville and parts of Hopkins County. In the City of Madisonville, 27 houses were completely destroyed, three commercial structures were completely destroyed; one being a church, and a total of 153 houses were severely damaged. Three people were seriously injured but no one was killed. As soon as the clean-up was completed, citizens began to rebuild their homes and lives.
The Pennyrile Parkways was renamed the Edward T. Breathitt Parkway in 2000 and has been designated as part of Interstate 69 as of May 15, 2006.
The city no longer has passenger trains and most depots are long gone. The historical depot on Arch Street has been restored. Commercial trains still run through the city day and night, but city buses and city cabs are a thing of the past. The Messenger is the only newspaper. It is printed daily and has a circulation of 8,500. There are more than 11 banks and branches, 7 schools and over 60 churches in the City.
As you can see, the City of Madisonville has been blessed with continued growth over the years. Along with the continued success of the many small business in our community, we have seen a revival of industry, building and construction take place. The City has continued to progress into the 21st Century by changing and growing its’ infrastructure and technology so that Madisonville will continue to be “The Best Town on Earth."