The Pennyroyal Area Museum currently being renovated on East Ninth Street was constructed of Bowling Green sandstone, mined from a Kentucky quarry. It was described in a newspaper headline as “an architectural ornament to the city” when it opened as Hopkinsville’s first federally owned U.S. Post Office building in 1915.
Local officials praised Hopkinsville’s congressman, U.S. Rep. A.O. Stanley, for securing nearly $100,000 to build the Greek Revival-style post office at the corner of Liberty and Ninth streets.
Previously, the post office had been housed in the former YMCA building across Ninth Street and, before that, located at the Moayon building at Ninth and Virginia streets. (The YMCA building, constructed by Dr. Frank Bassett in 1905, was next door to the Cumberland Telephone and Telegraph building, but it is no longer standing. The Moayon building, built by a prominent family of merchants, is still standing.)
Architects designing post office buildings like the one in Hopkinsville in the early 20th century favored a Greek Revival style that represented strength, said Christian County Historian William T. Turner.
The sandstone blocks lining the building’s exterior are approximately 8 inches thick, said Turner. They top a layer of bricks.
Other post offices built around the same time in Kentucky looked similar to Hopkinsville’s facility – notably those in Danville and Lawrenceburg – said Turner.
“They are imposing buildings,” he described.
Now owned by the city of Hopkinsville, the former post office building has been home to the Pennyroyal Area Museum since 1976. It closed as a post office in 1967.
The Museums of Historic Hopkinsville-Christian County, which operates the Pennyroyal, received a $1 million grant from county government to renovate the former post office building and to have new exhibits designed and built for the facility. The museum board has approved additional funding for the project, which is expected to cost approximately $1.8 million. A capital campaign is ongoing to help the museum offset its expenses.
The museum has been closed during renovations. The grand re-opening is scheduled for Feb. 27. On that same day in 1915, postal employees moved into the city’s new post office.
(Editor’s Note: Jennifer P. Brown is the board chair for the Museums of Historic Hopkinsville-Christian County.)