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Over a century ago, the little town of Athertonville came into being. J. M. Atherton, a wealthy Louisville businessman, built a distillery. The distillery plant gave employment to most of the men in town. A railroad extension was built from New Haven to the town also. There was a school on top of a nearby hill at one end of the town, which was used for Sunday School, prayer meetings and sometimes preaching.

The cooper shop burned down once and the people were filled with such fear, they gathered a few things they could carry, some with their Bibles under their arms, and went into the street to await the unhappy possibility of the fire spreading and the whole town being burned.


Buffalo, the second largest town in the county, started with the first house built by James Creal in 1848. In 1854, a gristmill was built on the creek, and the next year the Rev. John Duncan and W. L. Creal built a general merchandise store. It was customary in early days for farmers to come to a store when not too busy with their work and sit around on nail kegs and boxes and enjoy a talkfest together. This time together allowed them to express their opinions and crack jokes with each other.

Some of them would enjoy the contents of a large cracker barrel, shelling and eating peanuts, and some with a large “cud” of tobacco chewing away within easy reach of a spittoon. Affairs of a community were molded, and often decisions of how to vote in elections settled in their minds.

One day in the Duncan-Creal store, the conversation had perhaps somewhat lagged when a large bone that had been brought into the store was noticed and commented upon as to what animal it had been a part of. It as generally agreed that is was the rib of a buffalo since there had always been buffalo wallows along the creek. Not yet having a name for their community, someone suggested it be called Buffalo Wallow. All agreed and Buffalo Wallow was created. After several years, the ‘Wallow’ part of it was dropped and it has been called Buffalo since.

In the early 1870’s Buffalo had a population of 50. The community was home to East Lynn College, founded in 1874 and chartered in 1879 “with full power to confer any literary degree.” Tuition per ten-week term for the Preparatory Course was three to five dollars and board cost two and a half dollars per week. Conferring degrees like Bachelor of Pedagogy along with the more traditional Bachelor of Science, the school was known for its excellent brass band which was said to be unique to this region of the state.

Buffalo grew quickly to a population of several hundred, and a number of businesses helped make of the town a thriving commercial center. There were also two churches and four preachers in the bustling community. Two hotels, the Beauchamp and the McClain, accommodated travelers with the McClain Hotel surviving to this day as a private residence.

Buffalo was best known, perhaps, for the hardware and general store opened downtown by Edward S. Ferrill. E.S. Ferrill & Sons first began business as a drug store but the later general store and hardware became a mail order business known over a wide area of the state. Ferrill played an important role in the founding of the Bank of Buffalo which has been in business for more than 100 years.


Leafdale – a poetic name derived from the grove of oaks surrounding the Methodist Church, the store and post office – was first named Gibson. Because of some confusion of mail with other communities of the name, it was thought best to change its name. The name was changed in the early 1900’s by the late Mr. Wallace Kane and Mrs. Kane, now past ninety, but still able to go back to the church and the store occasionally.

Lyons Station

Lyons was named for a lumberman who did an extensive sawmill business for a number of years. Levelwoods was named because someone said there was at least room to turn around on a level spot. The name Tanner came from Mr. Wyatt who had a store, and the people around wanted a post office. There had once been a family by the name ‘Tanner’. Jerico was named from the Bible for the church. Ginseng was named from the root that has some medicinal qualities. Otter, from the little animal that named the creek.


Magnolia began as a stage coach stop along the Louisville-Nashville Turnpike about 1850. The first house in the vicinity was built prior to 1840. A post office was established in April, 1851, Postmaster David Harris named the post office in honor of his wife. After the Civil War, the post office was moved to its present site in a community then known as Centerpoint, but which soon took the name of the post office, Magnolia.

The Old Providence Church, later Magnolia Cumberland Presbyterian Church, was built within a few years of its founding in the 1840s. Several stores were established and the town began to grow. In the mid-1870s Magnolia had a population of thirty. Like Hodgenville and Buffalo, community concern for education resulted in the establishment of Magnolia College in 1879-80. Citizens of the town raised money to help build a brick building which was first designated the Classical and Normal College.

By the 1890’s, several stores served the town and a Baptist church had joined the Presbyterian Church in serving the spiritual needs of the community. Magnolia College burned in 1893 and, for a time, only an elementary school served the children of the town. A flour mill built in the middle of town brought new prosperity to Magnolia in the early 1900s and several new stores were opened. In 1919, the Bank of Magnolia was organized. It is still in business today, and also has a branch in Hodgenville.

The citizens of Magnolia have always made education a priority. This was forcefully demonstrated in 1920 when a new high school was built, financed entirely by public subscription. It was supported for years by local citizens until it was taken over by the LaRue County Board of Education. Pride in the high school, now long closed, is seen in the fact that the local grade school has kept the name of the old high school mascot, “The Magnolia Majors”. Today, in addition to the elementary school, the bank, post office, several churches, a medical office, several small grocery stores and a number of small businesses serve Magnolia.

Middle Creek

Silva or Middle Creek community, was named from a large heating stove put in a store build by Wm. Walters. He was called “Silva Bill” by his friends.

Mount Sherman

Mt. Sherman was named because Gen. Sherman’s Army camped on a hill nearby.

Ovesen Heights

Many years ago, John Adolph August Ovesen owned much of the land that is now Ovesen Heights. For a very small amount of money, John gave the local folks the land to build a church. And since that time the area has been known as Ovesen Heights. The Ovesen Heights Baptist Church is still there today.


The pleasant little village of Tonieville has always been a progressive community in a prosperous farming section. When the railroad came through in 1888, the people needed a station stop because there was much need for shipping out and bringing in products of the farms and merchandise for two stores and blacksmith shops. And the name of the town was so named for two of the largest landowners nearby. These landowners were Tone Goodin and Tone Kenneday and were known by the name of “Tone” (probably short for Anthony).


“The Uptons” is another name almost gone in the county, but we have the community of Upton in the borders of both LaRue and Hardin counties. The town of Upton was named for the family. Older residents will remember the T. B. Upton store in Buffalo that was in operation for a number of years.

White City

The little village of White City near the top of the Muldraugh Hill road has scenic cliffs, ravines and a horseshoe bend. Many years ago, Mr. Anderson had a store and painted and whitewashed all his buildings, rock fences flower bed borders, and gate posts all white in order to make the premises clean and orderly. All the neighbors along the road followed his example. One day, Mr. Morrison was driving leisurely along admiring it all and remarked that is should be called “White City”. This pleasured the people and so it was named.