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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.