The town of Richland has certainly earned and lived up to its name.

When the first settlers came to the area, they found a land with game and virgin forests as far as the eye could see. Because the area was located on a creek, the lands were very fertile and excellent for farming.

The area proved to be as rich underground as it was on the surface. Several springs provided rich mineral water for the residents, but resort life never came to the town as it did to Dawson Springs.

Many local people came to the springs to collect the water, though, and enjoyed its healthy benefits.

The area also had abundant supplies of coal and oil. Along with the successful farms that had become commonplace in the area, coal mines provided yet another opportunity for growth in Richland.

As the industrial age dawned, the oil supplies of the town were utilized for machinery, and oil pumps were sprinkled throughout the area.

Churches and schools were built, several merchants established stores and a doctor opened a practice.

As time passed and the coal mining industry experienced a decline, Richland lost its stores, schools and post office one by one. The town returned to being a small, quiet community.

In recent years, however, coal mining has returned to the area and a strip mining company mined coal that the first coal companies couldn't.

In 1986 a volunteer fire department was established and the town has a small community center that is used for community events and meetings.

This feature story originally appeared in the The Messenger in the small towns section of their "Changing Face of Hopkins County" on September 6, 1996 and was written by Slone Hutchison, a summer intern from Murray State University working with The Messenger to gain practical news papering skills during her summer vacation.

My thanks to The Messenger for granting permission to publish on the Hopkins County, Kentucky KyGenWeb page.

Return to Hopkins County


Nancy Trice
Hopkins County, Ky

© 1997