St. Raphael, Kentucky
See also: St. Raphael Church
St. Raphael is a neighborhood community, located on Hayden Bridge Road and Horrel Road. The center is where St. Raphael’s church is located. It was the only church in that area, and had a school adjoining the church.
Close by in the neighborhood was the Hayden Town School. It was located on Hayden Bridge Road with Alvey Bridge Road to the north and Myles School to the south on the Myles School Road at Highway 279. The Wayne School was to the east and the Simmons School near West Louisville.
It is almost certain that the Hayden family was the first family to locate there. The first church was built at Panther Creek Station and was completed in 1844. A tract of land that was donated in 1848 included St. Raphael’s Church. It sat in the middle of the tract. In 1857 the log church burned. In 1861 a new log church was built. That log church was abandoned and was moved to the top of the hill where in 1878 a new brick church was started.
A school was finished in 1882. The church suffered a great deal of damage from the tornado that passed through West Louisville on April 12, 1890. The school stood for 90 years. The church had many big picnics over the years. It included bus service from West Louisville School on picnic day. In the summer of 1972 the church had its last picnic. In May 1977 the church was struck by fire. The church officially closed when Bishop Soennecker announced that September 25, 1977 would be the last mass. It was torn down in 1983. The big 800 pound bell was moved to St. Mary Magdalene in Sorgho.
The St. Raphael area had a big coal vein located beneath it. There were several underground mines in the area which included the O’Bryan’s, Scharber’s, and the Hancock’s. Posey Hancock’s Mine sold coal to the OMU power plant in Owensboro as well as Murphy Chair Company for ten cents a bushel. Claude Clark coal mine was just past the Bishop’s home in the early 1930’s.
Coal mining started in the St. Raphael area in the early 1900’s through the 1950’s before Green Coal Company moved through the area strip-mining coal. Most of the coal went to OMU as well as being loaded on barges headed to other places.