Originally the government of Hopkinsville was under a Board of Trustees, provided for by legislative enactment. By an act of the Legislature approved March 5, 1870, the town was granted a charter as the City of Hopkinsville. Under this charter the limits were as follows: Beginning at a stake on the west edge of the Madisonville road, northeast corner of a small tract of land on which Samuel A. Means now resides, and southeast corner to a tract of land formerly owned by Zachariah Glass, deceased; thence south 53 east, passing through the land of Mrs. Stevenson, Mrs. McCarroll and the heirs of N. E. Grey, deceased, and crossing the Town Fork of Little River at 109 poles, and passing through the land belonging to the heirs of M. Sharp, deceased, and through the fair grounds, and through John Tandy’s lot 347 3/4 poles, to a stake on the north edge of the Russellville turnpike; said stake is in the direction north 59 east, 2 poles from John Tandy’s southeast corner and A. Palmer’s southwest corner; thence south 26 west, passing through the lands of John B. Knight and R. T. Petree, and between the residences of Claiborne Buckner and James Coleman, men of color, and passing the house occupied by Peter Quarles, and including the homes of the said Coleman and Peter Quarles within the boundary of the city; passing through the lands of John B. Gowan and Hardin Wood, 259 poles to a stake on the north edge of the Nashville road; said stake is south 21 1/2 east, 2 poles and ten links from Hardin Wood’s well (formerly Curtis Wood’s); thence south 71 west, passing through Mrs. Sharp’s land, including a house now occupied by Kitt Humphrey; passing through Richard Durrett’s land, crossing the Evansville, Henderson & Nashville Railroad at 184 poles, and the Clarksville road at 201 poles; passing through Louis Waller’s lot, including said Waller’s tobacco stemmery and cooper shop, 288 poles to a stake in Mrs. Bryan’s field; said stake stands in the direction south one and one-half east 15i poles to a black oak in Dr. IL H. Kelly’s line, marked as a pointer; thence north 50 west, crossing the Palmyra road at 41 poles, passing through Wallace W. Ware’s lot, including his residence, 120 poles to a stake on the north edge of the Cox Mill road, at a hickory marked as a pointer; thence north 15 west, passing through the land of John P. Campbell, Sr., deceased, 110 poles to a stake and black oak on the north edge of the Canton road; thence north 11 1/2 west, passing through the lands of H. A. Phelps, crossing Little River at 173k poles, in all 219k. poles to a stake on the west side of G. B. Long’s yard fence, and with a sugar tree marked as a pointer; thence north 22 east, passing out of said Long’s premises, including the residence of said Long within the limits of the city, and crossing the Princeton road, in all 188 poles, to a stake in William M. Shipp’s field; thence south 84 east 198 poles, to the beginning.
The territory embraced in the foregoing boundary, and the inhabit-ants residing therein, are hereby declared to be the City of Hopkinsville, a body politic and corporate, etc. A number of amendments have been made upon this charter, but without materially changing its features. The government consists of a Board of Councilmen, of which the Chair-man of the said Board is invested with all the power and functions of Mayor. Without tracing it through the different Boards, we give the following officers and Councilmen, as at present in office: John C. Latham, Chairman of the Board; E. P. Campbell, F. J. Brownell, William Ellis, Max Lipstine, H. F. McCarny and David R. Beard. H. R. Lit-tell is Clerk of the Board and Auditor and Treasurer of the city; Joab C. Brasher is City Judge; John W. Payne, City Attorney; Felix Bigger-staff, Chief of Police; Walter Garnett, City Tax Collector. It is laudable in Hopkinsville that she puts her best men in office to control her affairs. When a city does this a pure and uncorrupted government is the result.
Hopkinsville, like many larger cities, has been deluged in fire. As was said of Chicago after her great fire, she has ” been born in fire and raised in power.” The new Hopkinsville that phoenix-like rose from the ashes of old Hopkinsville is far more beautiful and magnificent; it is the eye of southern Kentucky, as Damascus, the oldest city of the world, is the eye of the desert. Illuminated by the flame of its fall and transfigured by the divinity of its resurrection, its new growth is a picture of beauty.
From its birth it has had its fires, as other towns and cities have, but the greatest-its baptism of fire-occurred on the 25th of October, 1882, when seven blocks in the very center of the business district went down in ashes. Says the South Kentuckian: ” Forty-five business houses, fifteen offices of professional men, three livery stables, one bank, the New Era and News offices, the post office, Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Mozart Hall, Central Hotel, and many of the finest buildings in the city were consumed in less than three hours, and the west side of Main Street was only saved by the sudden changing of the wind.” By this disastrous fire a loss was sustained of $285,000, and 100 people turned homeless into the streets. Unlike the Chicago fire it was not the result of an old cow kicking over a coal oil lamp, but it did originate in a stable, and is supposed to have been the work of an incendiary. One year after the fire, the South Kentuckian gave a diagram of the burnt district, showing what portion had been rebuilt, and describing the character of buildings erected thereon, and among others, mentions Campbell’s store, the Thompson Block, the Bank of Hopkinsville, the Henderson & Pritchett, Block, Kelly’s building, Mrs. A. J. McDaniels’ Block, the two large brick livery stables of Polk Cansler and T. L. Smith, Anderson & Cheaney’s store, J. C. Hord’s store building, M. Schmidt’s two store buildings, John Dinneen’s building, R. M. Anderson’s brick store, etc.
The town has had several pretty severe fires since that of October, 1882. One of these occurred in November, 1883, and another in December following, in the latter of which the loss was set down at $17,000; and during the winter of 1883-84, but few weeks passed without the alarm of the deep-toned bell and the startling cry of fire. They were generally small and insignificant, however, and confined to small buildings with the exception of the one that destroyed South Kentucky College, described elsewhere.