Maceo, Kentucky

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  • AKA: Powers/Powers Station

When the Louisville, St. Louis, and Texas Railroad was built in the 1880's, a depot east of Owensboro was named Powers Station in honor of Owensboro attorney, Joshua Powers, who had organized the financing of the line. This community was first settled by a small group of freed slaves after the Civil War. When downtown Yelvington burned in 1890, Edward Pendleton Taylor, who had suffered severe losses in the fire, determined to move to a new location along the railroad. He began laying out a new town which by the end of 1890 had several buildings completed. “Pen” Taylor built a tobacco warehouse that would employ fifty people; and then a post office was authorized and he became post master. By 1895 the town included three general stores, a blacksmith shop, and a distillery on the road toward Yelvington. By the early 1900’s the town had a branch of the State Bank of Kentucky, two blacksmith shops and a physician. The name “Power’s Station” was the source of confusion for the post office. There was another post office, Power’s Store near Whitesville, and mail was often missent due to poor handwriting or sorting.

Taylor, who was elected county judge in 1898, the year of the Spanish-American War, decided to rename the town in honor of the Black Cuban guerrilla leader, General Jose Antonio de la Coridad Maceo y Grajles.

Taylor’s father, Gibson Taylor, owned some 1,400 acres of land and 50 slaves. At his death in 1886, Taylor senior bequeathed land for the building of a church and school for blacks near what would become the new town. The First Baptist Church of Maceo begun in the homes of freed blacks, moved to the new church upon its completion.

Maceo continued as a black settlement, but increasingly whites moved into the area, especially as land prices increased in the early 20th century. A white elementary school was established and white and black students were able to ride the “local” train to Owensboro—the blacks to Western High School and the whites to Owensboro High School.

With the paving of U.S. 60 through Maceo in 1930-31, the economics of the town began to shift, as employment and shopping opportunities in Owenboro became more accessible. By 2010, Maceo was basically a suburban residential area.

Reference to an article by Glenn Hodges