West Louisville, Kentucky

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1886 Directory Listing for West Louisville

The little town 14 miles southwest of Owensboro was named by James A. Sivers, who built the first log cabin at this point. He kept the first whiskey shop and built and kept the first grocery in 1854.  He continued in this business for several years, and then sold to Henry Rhenart.  Rhenart built a house and rebuilt a frame story on top of Siver’s house.

The first dry goods store was kept by Stowers and Bosley in 1865.  They ran it for two years and then sold it to James W. Stowers.  He took Robert Williams in as a partner.  The first drug store was kept by N.M. Stowers about 1875.  The first blacksmith shop was kept by John Clements as early as 1853, which was the second house built there.  The first physician, Dr. V. Orsborn, located in 1865.  Dr. T.W. Blandford came in 1876 and Dr. H. K. Osborn in 1880.  The first school house was built in 1875 by a stock company and was first used as a private school.  It was later purchased by the district.  The Post Office was established in 1862 and N. M. Stowers was the first Postmaster.  The mail was then carried by the citizens.  The regular mail route was established in 1875.  J.E. Thompson became Post Master by 1883.  It was the second Post Office only to Owensboro in the county.

Although West Louisville is in the Curdsville Precinct, it had a separate voting place and was known as Curdsville No. 2.

The Messenger reported that a boom was certainly coming.  The Wood Bros. and Elder were building a fine two story brick business house with a forty foot front by 70 deep with an “L” of 20 x 50.  The lower floor was fitted up for a hall or skating rink with a big stage.  The paper also said the town would invite some of the political leaders or silver tongued orators of Owensboro to come with a rousing speech to dedicate the beautiful structure.

In 1881 West Louisville had its first killing in the town at the Herron & Co. Saloon on Main Street.  Jack Luckett, keeper of a grocery and saloon in West Louisville was shot.

By 1883, the iron bridge on the Panther Creek going from West Louisville from Sorgho was called the Glenn Bridge.  Its original cost was less than $9000.  The Hayden Bridge Road Bridge, which was a light one, cost $4500.  The county courts had built five in Daviess County exceeding $27,000.  The commission found that iron bridges were good for a lifetime and were more economical than the old wooden structures, which were constantly in need of repairs.

In 1883, the census of the town included Asher and Bro., carriage and wagon makers; and blacksmith Blandford & Glenn, dry goods and notions, J. M. Blandford groceries, Miss Sue Blincoe, school teacher, Frank Blincoe, carpenter, Burch & Blandford , Hotel and Saloon, Henry Burch, livery stable, P.C. Conley, constable, R. S. Coomes, undertaker, Jeff Dugan, painter; E.T. Entrican, carpenter; W.H. Hardesty, groceries and hardware; J. C. Howell, hotel and saloon, Thos Livers, barber; T. L. Murray, blacksmith; Pius O’Bryan, carpenter and farmer; Osborn Bros and Blandford, physicians; J. A. Stuart, store keeper; J. E. Thompson, drug store and Post Office, Cal Powell, boarding house; J. M. Bowlds, plasterer; W. F. Carr, coal miner; J. W. Curry, coal miner; C.L. Clark, clerk and barber, J.L. Clark, farmer; Wm. Clark, engineer; H. Clines, barber; W. A. Donohue, farmer; J. P. Drury, farmer; T. Drury, mechanic; W. B. Drury, Farmer; J. A. Woods and J.H. Elder, Woods Bros. and Elder grocery, saw mill and grist mill; C.W. Hicks and R. Williams, merchants; T.L. Livers, barber, W.P. Livers, farmer; W. L. McAtee, clerk; Mullican and Burch, proprietors saloon, J. V. Mullican, livery man; J. P. O’Bryan, farmer and mine owner; A. D. O’Bryan, farmer; J. H. O’Bryan, Blandford & O’Bryan; P.D. O’Bryan, carpenter; Wm Powell, carpenter; J. H. and J.W. Stallings, coal miners; M. B. Stallings, farmer; P. Sweeney, boat and shoe maker; Thompson and Thompson (J.A. & W. J.), general merchants; W. H. Wheatley, farmer and G.W. Wheeler, laborer.

In November, 1889, plans were made for the town to have a newspaper. W.A. Baird, a young law student of Delaware and Omar Hayden, a teacher, were planning to be the editors and publishers.   The name and aim of the paper had never been announced.  Nothing more was ever heard on the project.

In March, 1890, West Louisville was swept away by a huge tornado.  West Louisville, described by the March 28, 1890 Owensboro Messenger, “as one of the best towns in Daviess County, was hit at 7:00 PM” and the newspaper said was “totally wrecked and completely demolished”.  Every business house in town was wrecked or swept away, as were more than half of the residences, not a building escaped injury.

The first report of the twister was received in Owensboro by William & Thomas Drury who were looking for large quantities of plaster of Paris with which to hold in place the broken homes of the cyclone’s victims.  Tom Logan, colored, 8 years old, was killed.  John Lawson, D. O’Bryan’s wife and two children all hurt; Bert Woodward, leg broken; Tom Wheeler, Mat Livers and Brad Hollbrook, all hurt badly.  John Rummage’s families of seven near St. Raphael’s were all hurt.

Blandford and Glenn’s dry goods store crashed down and was blown off its foundation.  Handley & Wood’s grocery blew away, bottom floor and all.  J.E. Thompson’s drug store crashed down.  Drs. Blandford and Osborne’s office was blown away.  Thompson & Thompson’s grocery and saddle shop was blown down.  Henry Burch’s barroom, William & Son and Hicks Dry Goods and grocery store, Loyd Mulligan and Bros. barroom blown away; J.E. Thompson’s dwelling, Bert Thompson, Bud Stuart’s, Til Blandford and James Powell’s houses were blown over.

Henry Burch’s house was carried fifty yards away.  Mrs. Burch was bruised up and her baby, three weeks old, was found 150 yards away from the house entirely uninjured.  The child was found asleep under a piece of tin roofing that the wind had arched against a fence.  Sixteen years later she was educated at M. St. Joseph Academy and became an Ursuline sister taking the name of Sister Henrietta.

The storm swept down near Livers home at St. Joseph, then at West Louisville and on to St. Raphael’s area and passed on toward Owensboro.  The financial situation in the town was deplorable.

Nearly every one of the businessmen of the town had every dollar invested and the whole thing was swept away, leaving nearly all of them without anything to start over.  There was a mass meeting held in a dilapidated building and was resolved to appeal to the citizens of Owensboro and Daviess County for immediate aid.

In February, 1891, after the town was being rebuilt, the new Mullican Hotel and Saloon and the Henry Burch Saloon were destroyed by fire.  The fire originated in a smoke house at the rear of the Mullican Hotel, kept by Jack Powell.  The hotel building was the property of Floyd and Victor Mullican.  It had been no time since they had rebuilt it since the tornado in 1890 destroyed the old one.  They had a stock of liquors in a saloon attached to the hotel.  Henry Burch Saloon was next door and totally destroyed.

T. L. Murray’s blacksmith shop was the next house to go.  The shop and tools all destroyed.  The people of West Louisville helped save the J. E. Thompson’s store only 25 feet away.  They carried the entire stock out into the street.  The Blandford and Glenn suffered the same way.  People helped carry stock out and only breakage was the loss.  The insurance company of Stirman and Pedley of West Louisville covered a small amount of the losses.

In 1885, the town of West Louisville became an incorporated town, having a board of 5 active trustees, a police judge and a city marshal.

West Louisville depository of the Owensboro Banking Company was established in the early part of 1891 with J.L. Blandford, a West Louisville merchant, as cashier, and in his store the bank was kept.

On June 27, 1896, a second cyclone hit West Louisville.  There was one fatality that of Pearl Hicks, age sixteen.  She had gone to C.L. Clark’s house for safety and his home was destroyed in this storm as well as it was in 1890.  His family was buried in the ruins but only Mr. Clark was seriously hurt.  Only one house was totally wrecked in this tornado.  Pearl Hicks was killed as she ran to a neighbors house, her home was not destroyed.

In 1897, the Bank of West Louisville had an attempted robbery.  At 4:30 in the morning the people were startled by a loud boom and thought it was thunder.  An hour later the people heard it again.  When daybreak came and the people got out, they were surprised that there had been an attempt to rob the branch of the Owensboro Banking Company.  Both doors were blown off the safe and one of them driven through a counter in front of the safe.  As the safe contained a burglar proof vault on the inside, the robbers had only reached the trouble of getting into where the money was kept.

The bank was located in Blandford’s store and a number of pieces of dry goods were piled up in front of the safe to muffle the sound of the explosion.  The work was done with a drill and brace that had been stolen from Asher’s Blacksmith Shop.  Wm. Bosley, residing about a mile and a half from West Louisville, found two of his horses missing and found the loose at Glenn’s Bridge going toward Owensboro.  The robbery was unsuccessful but the people of West Louisville made a run on the bank the next day to deposit money because of their money being safe with the bank.  Failure of the thieves to get into the vault where the money was kept inspired the confidence of the people that the bank could protect their savings.

In Sept, 1897, the Howell Hotel in West Louisville was destroyed by fire.  Jesse Howell, the proprietor of the hotel started a fire in the kitchen stove and went to the stable to feed the stock.  He saw from the stable that the kitchen was on fire and rushed back to give the alarm.  The family and boarders all escaped.  The hotel and his two story house were completely destroyed.

But for the timely work of the neighbors, with a hand engine, which had been provided by the town to use in fires, there would have been a big loss like the 1891 fire to the town.  They prevented the flames from spreading to other buildings.

The 1900 census was:

Charles Clark Joe Blandford A. J. Williams

Ivo Thompson William Sims George Wheeler

Wm Mattingly Andrew O’Bryan Wm Dicken – coal miner

Maston Waltrip-coal miner M.B. Stallings Jesse Geep-coal miner

Ned Tomas – liveryman Joseph Elder-grocery L. Murry-blacksmith

E. E. Murry – harness maker Henry Burch-hotel Francis Luckett-barkeeper

George Luckett-machinist J. E. Thompson-druggist Mary Osborne

W. H. Payne Henry Cashen Sam Jarboe

Francis Rumage-stageman Thomas Asher-merchant John Blandford-merchant

J.W. Wood-general merchant T.W. Blandford-physican J. S. Stallings

Martha Millay John Clayton-physician Henry Hodgkins

Wm. Horrell Thurman Livers-barber C.T. Horrell-miller

J.W. Horrell-harness maker John Drury George Greess

Steve O’Bryan Paul Thompson-druggist Joe Blandford-carpenter

Thomas Asher-merchant W.B. Drury-blacksmith

In July, 1902, there was an effort made to get a new Catholic church built in West Louisville.  It was reported that the citizens had raised a good fund.  A committee was appointed to visit Bishop McCloskey of Louisville to get permission to build the church and also get the service of a priest to celebrate mass in the parochial school until the church would be completed.  St. Alphonsus was only 2 miles to the west and St. Raphael’s was about 3 miles to the east.  The petition said in the winters the roads were often bad ad in the summer the heat and dust would make the trip intolerable.  It never materialized.

In 1905, West Louisville wanted to get an interurban electric railroad run to the town.  It was reported that 1000 subscribed for getting it run to the town.  Major Joe Haycraft and Dr. D.M. Griffith and others attended the meeting to solicit the citizens for getting the train that Curdsville had been trying to get from Owensboro.

The farmers through whose farm the road would pass were going to donate the right of way.  Many of them propose to give a substantial bonus.  West Louisville was not in the line of the proposed road from Owensboro to Calhoun.  The spur, if built, would leave the main line at Glenn’s Bridge near Sorgho.

April 1906, a Creamery Association was incorporated in West Louisville, stockholders were principally residents of the town neighborhood.  The object of the corporation was to manufacture the sale of butter and kindred products.  The business was to be in the town.  Ice could be manufactured also.

In March 1909, the new school house in the Simmons Consolidated School district had been completed.  It was one of the latest modeled one room schools and was to be followed by several more in the county.  It was a school with a solid brick foundation and was heated by a patent heater and ventilator.  The room was furnished with single desks and the blackboards ran along the entire wall on one side of the room.  On the opposite side of the boards were all windows and on the opposite side of the door to give plenty of light for the students.  It was believed that this was the perfection of a one room house for light and ventilation.   The Hayden and the Blandford schools would be removed to this school and Ms. Gertrude Wethington, who taught at Blandford, would become the teacher of the Simmons School.  The school district said she was one of the county’s brightest teachers and she had an unusual good course of training and it was expected that the school would become a model school for the county.  A school like this had just been completed in Sorgho but on a smaller scale next to the St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church.

A new bank for West Louisville was being organized by A.J. Wilson to take the place of the Owensboro Banking Company which had closed some time earlier.  He was the man who had been instrumental in the organization of banks at other towns including Stanley.  They removed the fixtures from the old bank in town to be put in a store room with a new building later.

The Saloons were abolished in West Louisville in 1907 and the citizens wanted the incorporation of the town to dissolve in 1909.  The petitioners alleged that very few except the town officers were opposed to the town dissolution.  The population was given at 160 and the number of legal voters at 39.  The acreage of the town was given as 300.

When it was incorporated by an act of the legislature in 1880, it was granted the powers of a town of the sixth class.

The petition alleged that the taxes had been collected to improve the town but all that was being done was to pay the officers.  There was no provision or expenditure for the police regulation and no need for such.  When incorporated and several years after, one or more saloons were in existence in the town and peace officers were necessary but since saloons were voted out two years earlier, a great change had taken place with no troublemakers coming in from a distance.

July 1915, the dirt road from Owensboro was progressing with a tar and crushed stone pavement.  It had passed thru Sorgho and was heading to West Louisville.  The road was being built with trucks instead of horse drawn wagons and was moving in record time according to the Messenger.

In the fall of 1920, the new high school in West Louisville was completed.  It was a two story frame building with a basement.  It had six class rooms and an auditorium capable of seating four to five hundred people.  The original estimate of the cost of the building was around $12,000 but it actually cost $21,000.  It was aid that the same building would have cost 10 to 12 thousand before the war.

The school fielded some good girl’s basketball teams.  The 1923 team won the Kentucky High School girls basketball championship in Lexington with a 15-3 record.  The team included coach and principal, L.C. Winchester; Alodine(Martha) O’Bryan; Bernadine O’Bryan; Mayme Clark; Mary Etta Clark; Mary Francis Riney; Drusie Clark; Fonda O’Bryan and Golda Mac Walt.

The following year the team made it back to the State Tournament.  They won the first two games and lost to Winchester by a score of 8-7 in overtime.  The newspaper reported that the girls were not in the best possible condition.   When they left West Louisville, they left in two cars, one with Coach L.C. Winchester driving one car and Charles Clayton driving the other.  They went by the way of Evansville, Vincennes and French Lick.  From there they went to Louisville and from there to Lexington.  The players were: Mary Drusie Clark, Captain; Lena Bartley; Virginia O’Bryan; Evan Coffman; Patty Payne; Fonda O’Bryan; Marietta Clark and Alodine O’Bryan.

The 1927 team won it all again by beating Georgetown 19-18 in overtime.  They were big underdogs.  They were given a gold basketball.  A large delegation from West Louisville was at Union Station to meet the champions; news had reached home by an Owensboro resident who drove back on Saturday night.  Each member of the team and Coach Ford received a gold basketball charm with the words “Kentucky Champions, 1927”.  The girls helped raise $240 to make the round trip.  The girls were Woodward, Asher, Cashen, Coomes, Head, O’Bryan, Clark and Payne.

In January, 1929, the Farmers Bank of West Louisville was robbed.  J. Martin O’Bryan, cashier of the bank was sitting at his desk working with an adding machine.  His 14 year old son, Henry, had brought in some coal for the stove after school and talked to his father.  About that time, a new car pulled up in the towns only street and two strangers stepped out.

Browder opened the door and yelled “I got something for you mister”, as was told to Martin O’Bryan.  He had leveled a Thompson machine gun at him.  O’Bryan jumped to his feet and raised his hands.  Grace Browder ransacked O’Bryan’s cage, stuffed bills into a sock and ran out the cage yelling “if I ain’t got all the cash money you got, you’re sure going to get a shooting”.  Martin and Henry O’Bryan marched out in front of them with a gun being held on them.  When they entered the street some townsmen ran toward the bank.  The bandit pulled the trigger and several dived for cover behind the gasoline tanks in front of Heady’s garage across the street.  Hays Bratcher was shot.  The gunner whirled around, and then sent several rounds into Mackin’s store opposite the bank.  They sped away toward St. Joe and Beech Grove.  Deputy Sheriff Robert Weikel and Sheriff Len Dawson searched for hours and found a Studebaker stuck in the mud in the Green River lowlands.  When the officers got to Calhoun they learned that the two travelers forced the Eastwood Ferry to carry them across the Green River.  They were arrested in Atlanta.  The two were charged with bank robbery, auto theft and malicious shooting and wounding and put on a train for Owensboro.  There was a huge crowd at the Union Station and police had to clear a path to the patrol wagon.  After three years in prison at age 29, Browder was killed by a prison guard.  Grace served more than 10 years and was released on good behavior.  She went back to Atlanta.  Martin O’Bryan’s son, Henry, became a Catholic priest later and was Principal of Owensboro Catholic High School for several years.

The Farmers Bank closed January 1932 when it was placed in the hands of the State Banking Commissioner for liquidation.  It was reopened in August 1932 under a reorganization plan.  C. J. Mackin was president of the bank and Jude Boyle was VP.  Directors were: Mr. Mackin, Mr. Boyd, P.E. Drury, Allie Alvey and Mrs. Bertha Clark who was also cashier.

In September, 1937, the new West Louisville High and Elementary School was about to open.  The lower six grades were held back for about three weeks due to getting the new equipment set up in the cafeteria.  The upper six grades held classes in the basement.  The high and grade school had 14 rooms and an auditorium.  The building was build for 500 people. William Lytle was the Principal and the school included 11 teachers.  When West Louisville and Sorgho consolidated, school opened in the fall of 1937, 28 one room schools closed.

Some of the names of the one room schools were: West Louisville, Riney, Blandford, Haydentown, which had been consolidated years earlier by Simmons, Union Grove, Hall School, Payne, Curdsville, Rapier, Jeweltown, Smith, Pleasant Point, Davis, St. Joseph Smock, Myles and Delaware.

According to Martine O’Bryan Ward’s memories, “ in the 1940’s there were places in West Louisville called,  Charlie’s Garage, Shaney’s Quick Lunch, Drury’s Pool Room, the Farmer’s Bank, Melvin Thomas Head’s Grocery, the Old Telephone Exchange, Mayme Clark’s Ice Cream Parlor, Gus Wheeler’s Barber Shop, Sudies Variety Store, Gus Fulkerson’s Tavern, Mackin’s Grocery, and O’Bryan Coal Mine.  As all small towns, everybody knew everybody and all their business too.  In order to make a phone call you had to go through the exchange station.  The telephone was one which hung on the wall and took up a lot of space.  You would wind a crank to get the exchange which was in a little house at the foot of the hill and run by the Fulkerson girls.  Flossie worked there until the exchange closed and transferred to the Owensboro office.  There was no such thing as getting any party on the line without the assistance of the operator.”  More memories of names in the area were: “Rose Wheeler, Aunt Sadie, Father Whelan, Uncle Pi, Aunt Lora, Aunt Annie, Gertie Clark, Delbert Payne, “Squire” Riney, and Mr. Ford, Mr. Summers, Bill Lytle, Joe Wheeler, Uncle bun and Aunt Dolly, Mr. T. Head, Bert Ballard, Andy Shoemaker, Box Town, Dallas Lawson, Ethel Erwin, Mr. Houchen, Joe Murphy, C.J. Mackin, Minnie Wheeler and Mrs. Shaney.  Two medical doctors were:  Dr. Clayton and Dr. Payne.  Their offices were located in their homes where they received patients.  They also made home visits and assisted at the birth of babies.  They prepared their own medications so they were pharmacists too.  Dr. Thompson was a dentist and had his office in his home as well.”

“Croquet Court: located on the property of Martin O’Bryan”

“A smooth dirt court was prepared, rolled and set up according to croquet rules with wickets measured to correct distance and placing.  Croquet mallets and balls were purchased and family members chose their color.  Other residents who came to play usually brought their own ball and mallet.  Folks who watched the rival games sat on logs around the outside of the court.  After the grown- ups ceased to play the kids then were allowed to try.  Sometimes the games were partner style and other times single.  Either way it was a competitive type game and drew a crowd to watch.”

“Tennis Court: located on the property of Dr. Payne across the highway from the O’Bryan property”

“This was a smooth dirt court and those who played furnished their own racket and balls.  The young guys and gals enjoyed this outdoor game.”

These names and memories were recalled by Martine O’Bryan Ward who was a teacher at Owensboro Catholic High School in Owensboro.  She loved her home town and all the residents she remembered.  Her husband, Norbert Ward was a teacher at West Louisville Elementary and High School.

In August, 1948, the West Louisville Elementary and High School building laid in ruins, destroyed by a $250,000 fire when it was struck by a lightning bolt.  It burnt only nine days before the opening classes of the 1948-1949 school years.  The school served 325 students who resided within a six mile radius.

Firemen from Owensboro were sent but were unable to fight the fire because of lack of water.  Hamlet Sandefur, the janitor of the school, rushed next door to his house and attempted to connect a line of garden hose but the fire had too much headway.  The school had just raised the insurance coverage from $68,000 to $175,000 in that school year.

The 7th and 8th grades and all of the high school classes were transported to Beech Grove School which was made up between 90 and 100 students.  The first 4 grades attended St. Alphonsus in St. Joe. The 5th and 6th grades were transported to Sorgho school.

In October, 1949, an explosion, believed to have been of dynamite raced West Louisville at the coal mine Tipple of Kurz Coal Company.  It did a lot of damage to the mine and broke windows in the town.  It was located about one half mile northeast of the town.  Jack Kurz and Joseph White worked together in the management of the mine.  They said that they were at a loss to explain the explosion.  The boiler room and scale house buildings were damaged.  Eight men were employed at the mine.

In July 1948, the Green Coal Company had begun to mine in the area near West Louisville.  The company averaged nearly 1000 tons a day for years, stripping the coal and transporting it to the Tipple near Panther.  The four foot vein was about 25 feed under the surface.  Green Coal leased hundreds of acres between Panther and West Louisville and employed over 50 men from the area.  There were still many underground mines being mined in the 1950’s and 1960’s before giving out to strip mining only.

As time rolled on West Louisville became a town of vanishing stores, banks, hotels, skating rink, pool halls and taverns.

The main part of town where the bank was located later became a grocery store with two different stores at the same time.  One side was Melvin Head and the other side was Ethel Ewing.  It later became Robinson’s Grocery.  The wall was removed and it became one store and a Post Office.  The skating rink was upstairs.  At one time they had the room fixed where they would show movies.  Saul Robinson had built a drive-thru Dairy Queen for ice cream on the side of Highway 56.

Across the highway was the Heady’s Garage.  Charlie Clayton ran it for several years.

The coal mines around the town: The Kurz’s, Hicks, Drury and the G.T. O’Bryan mines were all real close.  The old Knights of Columbus hall later had different people living on the ground floor and there was a big ball room upstairs with a large chandelier and a piano with a bar and a brass rail to prop your feet.  There were several spittoons around the room.  It was formerly the old hotel operated by Henry and Clotilda Burch.  Large card parties were held and well attended.  They also played Euchre.  Prizes were usually donated and not expensive but players wished to win even for the booby prize.

Jim Vowels owned a large building in West Louisville, “Vowels Hall”,  which would house the most important business of the day.  It was a large red brick that was well kept.  It housed the West Louisville Farmer’s Bank, Post Office and grocery store.  He also owned the Knights of Columbus Hall.  Gus Wheeler later bought the Vowels Hall and the barber shop.  In the 1910’s and 20’s, there was even a brass band in the town that played many dances upstairs on Saturday night and picnics.  The Sheriff always deputized willing men to help with keeping order.  Across the highway from the bank building was a big building that had 4 different stores.  Behind a tavern called Gus’s Playhouse, there was a Payne & Knott Clothing Store, Mackins’s Grocery, and Thompson Drug Store.  Behind the K of C Hall years earlier, one of the W.L. one room school houses was located.  Across from Gus’s on Hobbs Road was another tavern called Wheelers which was earlier called Lukes.  Down the street was Dr. John Clayton’s home and office.

Houston Bethel had a tavern in town and later became what is now O’Bryan’s Tavern.  It is the only one that remains.

In the 1970’s West Louisville was somewhat changing.  Delbert Glenn, who was from the West Louisville area, said that he was going to “put W.L. on the map”.   He took strip mine ground and began building Diamond Lake in 1968.  It had campsites along with camper hook-up, pay lakes and restaurant and later a theater.  It was a 480 acre complex that sold in 1996.  It retained the name of Diamond Lake Resort.

Many of the old stores were torn down to make room for a new road to Diamond Lake from the little town.

By 1980, around 40 families picked up their mail at the little Post Office on the corner of 56 and 815.  W. A. Robinson converted a small residence into a public building in the late 1960’s when he vacated his old store.

His store went out of business but the postal service stayed.  In the early 1970’s only two businesses remained.  O’Bryan’s Tavern, O’Bryan’s Grocery and Standard Oil Station.  In 1982 O’Bryan’s Grocery Store closed.  Helen Simon was the very first and last customer.  The tavern was across from the Post Office and was owned and operated by Herman and Daisy O’Bryan.  To accommodate the many campers at Diamond Lake making a stop, the O’Bryan’s put in a carryout window at the tavern.

Thomas Head was a Post Master for near 25 years and Mrs. Martine Ward for a short while, William A. Robinson Jr. was over 30 years.  Joyce Warren operated the Post Office over one year until October 98 when Elizabeth McKenny was Post Master until it closed in January 2013.

In 2011, the new West Louisville Elementary School was opened on the banks of the Panther Creek, about 2 miles from West Louisville.  It is the 4th in the community history.  West Louisville was the oldest elementary school in the county when the new one opened. The high school closed in 1954 when the high school enrollment dropped below 100 students.  Some redistricting took place when the new school opened and the enrollment rose from 280 to 350 students.

Martha Cowart attended the “Farewell Celebration” at the West Louisville School closing before the new school opening.  She was the one who had seen it all because she attended the first high school.  She walked down Hwy 56 on a gravel road in the early 1920’s when she played for the West Louisville Women’s Basketball team that won the State Championship.  She lived through two other schools and got to see the new school before she died at age 104 in July 2011.

By: Grady Ebelhar