Posted on 2/2/14

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MADISONVILLE, Ky. (1/10/13) - I know it’s a wet and messy, rainy, just downright yucky day but you’ve got to get to the Hopkins County Historical Society TONIGHT!

Writing this letter of my mind to you every two weeks all last year fell just right to warn you a week in advance of upcoming programs at the Society, but the way the New Year has started well, tonight is the night!

And you don’t want to miss this meeting.

Having myself grown up in what most likely is the oldest home in Madisonville, I’m particularly interested in hearing tonight’s presentation about ten of the historic homes of The Best Town on Earth.

That friend of mine, Jane Ann Jackson has ventured off Court Street and been wondering the streets of town. The president of the Genealogical Society will not only mix some Genealogy in to tonight’s Historical Society meeting thru her discussion of the homes but also the historical importance of each as she showcases each in words and pictures.

I was a little alarmed at first when I heard she was planning this, but after I realized it was so close to Christmas and that she most likely could wonder the streets, peer in windows, snap a few photos and not be arrested as a peeping tom, I decided she wouldn’t wind up in jail and not be able to do her program with the defense she was working as one of Santa’s elves on a mission.

I’ve been reading the arrest reports and her name hasn’t appeared so I assume that defense worked and the program will begin at 7 PM tonight at the Union Street Museum of the Historical Society.

I asked Jane Ann to name drop the homes on her list, but being the lady she is, she wouldn’t gossip and tell all she knew. But here is what I got out of her about what we might be hearing and seeing tonight.

“I have chosen ten historic homes, all but three of which are 100+ years old, to discuss. I will tell what I know about when the homes were built and also talk about some of the prominent and well-known families who lived in them over the years. All of these homes were included in a project photographer Tom Wortham and I worked on several years ago.” Jane shared.

Thank goodness I’m not, um what was that word she said… prominent. I’m a Southern Missionary Baptist Democrat so there shouldn’t be any scandalous stories of photos of my time in the old house I lived in for a short time. Thank goodness for that!

Jane Ann continued, “One of the homes I’ve chosen to discuss is the log house next to the old Seminary Street School (now the office of the Board of Education). Mr. and Mrs. B. C. Mitchell built this house in the early 1920s and for several years operated a popular lunch room for the students at Seminary. They were the parents of one son who was a member of a well-known singing quartet. He was also an actor.”

My own mom was quiet fond of Mrs. Mitchell. She spoke highly of her and if I remember right the Mitchell’s son was either in Gone with the Wind or a like themed movie of Southern glamour of that time. That should be an interesting side story to the story of this Mitchell’s house.

“I will be discussing a 102 year old home, which is a little further North on South Seminary Street, in which Mr. C. I. Henry and his wife, Mildred, lived for many years.” Jane Ann shared. “Mr. Henry, as well as Mrs. Henry, will be remembered by many as having been a long-time educators in Madisonville. In later years Mr. Henry was a banker.

Another of the homes I plan to discuss is the Winstead Home on Waddill Avenue which has been in the Winstead Family for about 80 years.

The other homes I’ve chosen include similar information about the age of the homes and the families who occupied them. Also, I have photos of all these homes to display.” Jane Ann concluded.

I just can’t wait to listen in and hear the presentation tonight. I was a little young to truly grasp the privilege of living in one of Madisonville’s oldest homes myself so to hear this perspective of Madisonville history and lore should be a good reminder to myself of how special the homes of a town help shape it’s being and make it what it is.

Everyone is invited to the programs; you don’t have to be a Historical Society member. Just show up a couple of minutes before the Court House chimes hit seven or if you close friends of Randy Teague you can come in at a leg shake past seven, there is always an open chair for you.

Richard Cunningham is a Hopkins County native and a Kentucky Arts Council Community Scholar. Contact him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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