History of Hanson, Kentucky

Hanson is a small historic city located in the northern portions of Hopkins County, Kentucky. U.S. 41 (here named Hanson Road) is passing right through Hanson’s center and I-69 passes through the city’s eastern portions. You can access Hanson from Exit 120.

The county seat of Hopkins County, Madisonville, is located some 6 miles to the south and the city of Henderson, located on the Indiana-Kentucky state line, is just over 30 miles to the north.

The city of Hanson was established in 1869 on a 50-acre vast area of land that was donated by Reverend Roland Gooch and Judge Robert Eastwood to be developed by the Henderson & Nashville Railroad, today known as the Seaboard Railroad.

Hanson is named for Henry B. Hanson, a railway surveyor and civil engineer who was working for the railroad. He plotted and developed the town. and in December of 1869, the city received a post office to be incorporated at the end of March 1873 by the state assembly.

A freight and passenger depot was built next to the railroad tracks and it wasn’t long before Hanson became an important transportation center for the farmers in the area farmers. Over the following decade, Hanson became a thriving community of more than a hundred residents.

The town counted a hotel, sawmills, several tobacco factories, frame stores, and a bank along its Main Street area. At the time of the late-19th century, the main source of business and revenue in Hanson was tobacco and railroad companies were shipping the crop all across America and in those days, Hanson was Hopkins County’s largest city.

In 1889, however, an immense fire was sweeping through the city’s commercial district destroying most of the structures. It wasn’t long, though, before the city’s commercial district was soon rebuilt but this time with multi-story brick and frame structures. Present-day Hanson’s Historic District is dating back to this time of reconstruction that took place in the period over the late 1890s to the early 1900s.

In the 1930s, the decline of freight and passenger service caused a severe decrease in prosperity of the town and the surrounding area. region. During the following decades, many commercial buildings and factories in the area were abandoned but despite these devasting changes, the local community managed to preserve and restore an important collection of the town’s late 19th-century historic constructions in Hanson’s commercial center.

Hanson is known for being the smallest historic district in Kentucky. It includes just one block of restaurants and shops that are clustered around the city’s only traffic light. Today, Hanson counts some 759 residents and the town’s revitalization is mainly the result of one woman’s dream, Teresa Anthony, who was born and raised in Hanson. You can read all about her in an interview with Teresa where she talks about her hometown’s history and the efforts it took to bring Hanson’s downtown area back to life.

On March 26, the city of Hanson is celebrating the “Annual Village Arts Festival” where artists and performers from all over Kentucky are showcasing, demonstration, and selling their works of art. Hanson is strategically located on the I-69 Corridor, a perfect location for industrial growth and economic development.

From bluegrass to blues, fine dining to delicious bar-b-q, the city of Hanson and Hopkins County are your stops for excitement, adventure, and good old fashioned Southern hospitality! Well, Americans love to visit historic sites, and Hansen should really be on their list! Hopkins County is a “great place to be” and we feel certain that with one visit to this charming nook of Western Kentucky you’ll feel the same way!

Area Attractions:

Historic Downtown HansonVisit Kentucky’s smallest historic district and spend a day in the numerous antique and gift shops. Grab some lunch at the Grill, a steaming cup of mocha at Java Joy Coffee Shop or splurge on delicious sweets at the Country Oven Bakery! Eight of the buildings have been restored to their original late 19th century structures.

Hanson was established in 1869 and soon became a thriving hub of commerce when the railroad era was at its peak. The town’s commercial district was entirely destroyed by an immense fire in 1889. The historic structures in Hanson’s Historic District are dating back to the reconstruction days of the 1890s and early 1900s. Enjoy the wonderful charm of these impressive turn-of-the-century structures and buildings that now house restaurants and quaint shops.

Hopkins County Historical Society – Browse a large and unique collection of Hopkins County memorabilia dating back to our founding fathers in the early 1800s.

Downtown Madisonville – Shop for antiques, enjoy local artist work, or feast on fine cuisine at one of the delicious locally owned eateries! Downtown Madisonville offers several blocks of enjoyment including a life-size facade of Montpelier, James Madison’s plantation home. Walking tours are also available upon request.

Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park – Located on the edge of Hopkins County and cited by many as one of the most beautiful state parks in Kentucky, this lush forest hideaway is a must for nature lovers. Enjoy hiking, canoeing, fishing, golf, tennis and more.

Riverside Park – The original stadium was the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates spring training site. Today you can catch a game played by the current Tradewater Pirate’s team in this completely restored park.

Glema Mahr Center for the Arts – Enjoy a variety of activities and performances for every style. Local and national musicians, plays and workshops have performed on this stage.

Western Kentucky Speedway – This is one of the finest speedway tracks found in Western Kentucky. Here, you can enjoy Cruisers, Pure Stock, and Street Stock practically all weekends in the summer season.

Downtown Dawson Springs – A perfect description of the word “quaint,” you will love Dawson Springs, its historical structures and small-town charm. Enjoy shopping, dining and strolling the downtown sidewalks.

Ruby Laffoon Cabin – Take a tour through the birthplace of one of Kentucky’s most beloved governor’s.

Dawson Springs Museum and Art Center – Many historical artifacts can be seen illustrating the rich heritage of the area. Periodic displays by local artists are also available.

Anne P. Baker Gallery – Offers exhibits throughout the year including photography, oil, jewelry and several other varieties of original art.

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