The Breckinridge County Herald News, Thurs. Aug. 31, 1978 Page 1B Section 2 Hardinsburg Kentucky 40143
Big Spring ...
It's Heyday Recalled; A Thriving Business
Center, And Mecca For Racing Fans
by Linda Matthews
| Big Spring, located at the point where Breckinridge, Meade, and
Hardin Counties meet, was a thriving town in the 1800's. In the
1870's, businesses flourished, while Vine Grove, 10 miles west of the busy little town was the major shipping point. Big Spring had a population of 200.
It was during this
time that two physicians practiced in the town, J. R. Gray and C. B. Arnold, with J. C.
Stith as the town druggist. Other businessmen included W. A. Burkhart, blacksmith; J.
Caldwell, barber; Eskridge and Brothers, blacksmith; A. Grief, jeweler, tinner and
trunkmaker; T. B. Howard, hotel proprietor; McHenry Meador, general and furniture store
owner and undertaker; A. R. Morris, administrator; T. A. Robinson, carpenter; James O.
Sturn, furniture and G. A. Meador. flour mill operator.
THE IDENTIFYING SIGN on one section of the old hotel still hangs as it
did during Big Spring's more prosperous days. The original room numbers
can be seen today above the doors of the hotel rooms on the second floor. Linda Matthews Photo
|Big Spring was also popular as a recreational site in the 1800's. and
harness racing fans from all over Kentucky met there. McHenry Meador was the racetrack
The hotel in Big Spring enjoyed a thriving business during the horse races. At one time, the county line between Breckinridge and Meade Counties was moved and happened to pass through the center of the tavern on the ground level of the hotel. With Breckinridge County being dry, and Meade, wet, the proprietor simply started serving alcoholic beverages across the room on the Meade County side.
Schools were the center of activity in the early 1900's. The buildings were used for church services and all community activities, including plays and Christmas activities. Beginning in the 1920's, school enrollment began to decline, and while 15 pupils were enrolled in 1920, by 1937, the number had dwindled to four. In 1938, the few remaining students transferred to Zion School. Students now attend the elementary schools in Custer and Irvington.
THE HARDAWAY HOME remains as beautiful and elegant in 1978 as it
did in the 1800s. The house was often filled with music and laughter, as the
Hardaways entertained large numbers of people in the early 1900s. The
home still belongs to a member of the family. Dr. Julian Hardaway of
Lexington. who plans to spend his retirement years in the majestic home.
Linda Matthews Photo
|The once-thriving town, now small-town story has been repeated all over
the United States. With the development of better
highways and faster vehicles, Big Spring became a victim of the modern day. Stores began feeling the competition from the larger towns, store proprietors grew old and closed their businesses, while the younger generations moved to larger cities that offered more excitement. Farmers began taking their goods to larger markets that would give them a better profit. Eventually, Big Spring became the quiet town it is today.
claiming Big Spring as their address are made up of Breckinridge, Meade, and Hardin
Countians, they find a problem in getting any particular county to claim responsibility of
certain issues. One resident, an elderly lady whose name is withheld, stated that if they
called one county about a problem, they were referred to another county, who in turn
referred them to another, until they would find that they made a complete circle without
having resolved anything.
A MONUMENT has been placed at a point where three counties
(Breckinridge, Meade, and Hardin) meet in Big Spring. At left, in
background, is the hotel where visitors and racing fans from all over
Kentucky would congregate. Linda Matthews Photo
|THE "BIG SPRING" from which the town derived its name, enters and exits the earth at several points in the area. Above, the mouth is located in Hardin County just before the waters reach Breckinridge County. Linda Matthews Photo|