Riley’s Station was a stop on the Owensboro and Russellville railroad. It was named for Higdon Riley a tobacco farmer who gave the land for the depot building. Later when a post office was established there, the name was changed to Livia to honor Olivia Hansford, who was said to be the most beautiful girl in the district. By the 1890’s Livia boasted a tobacco factory, several stores, a school and a blacksmith shop.
Like many small towns founded by the building of the railroads, the O & R railroad was the town’s lifeline for two generations. Farmers in the area had access to the markets of Owensboro for the sale of their products, and Livia merchants depended on rail express shipments for their supplies. Two passenger trains per day offered transportation to Owensboro—for people, live chickens, eggs, fresh vegetables and fruit, and dairy products.
By 1914, Livia had a population of 25 and had two physicians— Dr. Alpha F. Ayer and Dr. Augustus W. Crow. The paving of U.S. 431 meant that cars and trucks offered greater mobility, and by 1941 passenger rail service ended, and economic activities were siphoned off to Owensboro, reducing Livia to a collection of homes, Coke’s general store and a post office attached to the store.
Reference article by Glenn Hodges