Columbia, 1906

Adair County News, June 13, 1906

Can't Head Us


There is no telling what the dimensions of Columbia will be in the next year or two if interests continues at the present rate. Mr. R.O. Mulligan, a real estate dealer of Scottsville, was here last week. He purchased eight and one-half acres from J.O. Russell for $850 [and] ten acres from O.C Vaughn for $750. This land lies in the suburbs of Columbia, just outside the corporate limits. Mr. Mulligan will return to Columbia this week, lay off town lots, open streets, and in the near future he will have a public sale of building sites.

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Adair County News, July 11, 1906

We call attention to the Advertisement of the sale of lots, by Mr. R.O. Mulligan in this issue [see next entry]. That advertisement speaks for itself, but had we written it, it would have been braced up in stronger terms than it appears, since Mr. Mulligan's extreme conservatism prevents him from giving any expression beyond what he believes to be absolutely certain. In other words he confines his statements too close to present conditions, while we believe in showing the brightest future that may reasonably be expected for Columbia, warranted by the recent past, and realized under our present, prosperous conditions that really and truly foreshadow greater possibilities than his statements justify.

The fact is that as we see it, Columbia is expanding and growing in every line, and the day is not far distant when her resources will be doubled or quadrupled, made so by the power of enterprise on the part of her progressive citizens, stimulated as we hope, by reasonably good railroad facilities for developing the great and varied natural products of this part of the State. The projected line from a point on the Cincinnati Southern, Danville or Burgin, to the coal fields and valuable forests South of the Cumberland, has not been abandoned by its promoters and its consideration and progress by outside capitalists is being advanced in a most encouraging way to all familiar with the real merits of the proposition. While this road is not a certainty, yet it is within reasonable limits of expectation.

Aside from this, the reports from various points indicate, that at last, the [rail]road from Scottsville to Stanford will be built,* and that the near future will become the active period in opening up and developing this country. With either line of [rail]road Columbia would as readily respond to the great opening of the country as a rubber ball against a wall. In the failure of either her growth must yet steadily continue and values advance to a reasonable degree.

In view of past and present, and facing the brightest future possibilities, we can not see any why Mr. Mulligan can not hope for a full number of buyers to take every lot in his beautiful plot of ground at fair prices. If you want to share in the future blessings of Columbia's growth and prosperity, you are unquestionably given an opportunity. Read his advertisement and attend the sale.

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Adair County News, July 11, 1906

With a bit of leeway given for salesman's hyperbole, this full page advertisement gives a good glimpse of the Columbia of that day.




Of Town Lots

Columbia, Adair County, Kentucky.


Railroad a Certainty*

R.O. Mulligan, of Scottsville, Ky., has succeeded in acquiring some of the property formerly known as the Wilson tract of land on the east of Columbia between the Jamestown pike and the Somerset road,** directly south and adjacent to the Lindsay-Wilson Training School property.

This property, the most beautiful portion of town for residences, has heretofore been unpurchasable.

This section, containing a number of acres, has been laid off in lots with convenient streets and alleys all graded nicely.


These Lots Amounting to 50 or 75 Will Be Sold to the Highest and Best Bidder on the following terms: One-third cash, one-third in six months, and one-third from date of sale with legal interest from date. Lien retained.


Columbia is situated near the center of Adair county, one of the best counties in the State; in the valley between Muldraugh's hill and the Cumberland Mountains about 100 miles from Louisville, Ky., and in a direct line of the L. & N. railroad* which is being extended to Stanford, Ky., from Scottsville, Ky.


Columbia is a town of 1,000 or 1,200 inhabitants and is growing rapidly; will double in the next three years.

Business Point.

Columbia is now the business point in this section, having a large territory to draw from--all of Adair and Russell counties and when the railroad is completed* will be the trading point of all the country north of the Cumberland river.


Columbia has four dry goods stores, six grocery stores, one exclusive furniture establishment, two hardware and saddlery houses, two undertakers' establishments, two first-class roller mills, three planing mills, three hotels, three banks, which have on deposit over $375,000, spoke and singletree factory, three stave yards, four lumber yards, vast quantities of lumber, telephone system, local and long distance, two flourishing newspapers, having large circulations in Adair and adjoining counties, electric light plant, large street lamps, two first-class livery stables, five blacksmith shops equipped for doing all kinds of iron and wood work, one wholesale house and three poultry houses.

Stock Market.

Columbia is the horse and mule market for a large section of the country, buyers attending from all over the State of Kentucky, Tennessee, and other portions of the South.

Local Option.

Columbia was the pioneer town to vote local option and has been dry for 39 years. No liquor made or sold in Adair. The "home coming," the 19th of June, gathered together 5,000 and not an intoxicated man seen. It has the most beautiful Fair Grounds in the State.

Transportation Facilities.

While Columbia is at present an inland town, 20 miles from a railroad, she has three motor cars making four trips to Campbellsville daily. Time, 2 to 2 hours, and two stage lines, making four trips daily, and is the distributing point for mail to all adjoining counties.


Four churches--Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist and Christian--all having fine church property and good pastors.


Columbia has two endowed colleges, the Lindsay-Wilson Training School, established by the Louisville Conference, a Methodist institution, and the M. & F. High School, a Presbyterian school. Both of these colleges are institutions of learning unsurpassed by any others in the South. Last year they enrolled between 500 and 700 pupils. The financial and moral support given these colleges by the citizens of Columbia and vicinity assures them everlasting life, one already being over 50 years old*** and having given to Kentucky some of its most useful and brilliant men.

The above facts are mentioned simply to show those who are wanting homes or an ideal locality in which to raise and educate their families, that these lots are profitably investments.

That it would be a matter of impossibility to find a locality more pleasant to live in or a more profitable investment.

The geographical location of Colombia assures a division of the L.N. railroad.* So do not hesitate to come to the Lot Sale July 26, 1906, and purchase a home and make yourself much better off in this world's goods with a little timely investment.

/s/ R.O. Mulligan



The Adair County News, August 1, 1906

The Public sale of lots last Thursday was fairly well attended but only five were sold, ranging in price from $35 to $115. It appeared that the people were not yet ready to buy, as the auction gave then the opportunity, so the sale was declared off. The location is a beautiful one, and Mr. Mulligan had the property in nice shape, except the main street to be opened intersecting the Lindsay-Wilson street in front of the college building. He had a statement from Gov. J.R. Hindman**** regarding this that should have satisfied prospective purchasers but in our judgment this was the only hindrance to the sale. When that street is opened we predict that the Mulligan addition will prove one of the most inviting localities for beautiful residences in Columbia. The opening of that street will be of much worth to all parties interested in that section or in the growth of Columbia.

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The Dec. 9, 1908, edition of the News noted that R.O. Mulligan "...was here, on business, from last Friday until yesterday morning. Mr. Mulligan owns a number of lots in the suburbs of town..." The April 28, 1909 edition carried this announcement: "I will be in Columbia May 3rd, County Court day, and any one wishing lots in the Mulligan addition can see me on that day. Will sell a few lots cheap to any one wishing to build. Will trade a lot for good saddle horse. /s/ R.O. Mulligan." The fate of the property went unreported in the extant copies of the News through the end of 1910.

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*          Despite this and many similar articles found in various editions of the News during this era, the railroad through Columbia/Adair County never materialized.

**        "The Jamestown pike and the Somerset road" apparently refers to current day Hwy 80 (or possibly Rte 55?)and Hwy 206, respectively.

***      The Male & Female High School, established in the early 1850s. A public high school wasn't started in Columbia until 1910.

****    Former Ky. Lt. Gov. J.R. Hindman, a native and resident of Adair County.