The Breckinridge County Herald News, Thurs. Aug. 31, 1978  Page 1B Section 2 Hardinsburg Kentucky 40143

Big Spring ...
  It's Heyday Recalled; A Thriving Business

  Center, And Mecca For Racing Fans
by Linda Matthews

  Big Spring, located at the point where Breckinridge, Meade, and Hardin Counties meet, was a thriving town in the 1800's. In the
1870's, businesses flourished, while Vine Grove, 10 miles west of the busy little town was the major shipping point. Big Spring had a population of 200.

  It was during this time that two physicians practiced in the town, J. R. Gray and C. B. Arnold, with J. C. Stith as the town druggist. Other businessmen included W. A. Burkhart, blacksmith; J. Caldwell, barber; Eskridge and Brothers, blacksmith; A. Grief, jeweler, tinner and trunkmaker; T. B. Howard, hotel proprietor; McHenry Meador, general and furniture store owner and undertaker; A. R. Morris, administrator; T. A. Robinson, carpenter; James O. Sturn, furniture and G. A. Meador. flour mill operator.

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THE IDENTIFYING SIGN on one section of the old hotel still hangs as it
did during Big Spring's more prosperous days.  The original room numbers
can be seen today above the doors of the hotel rooms on the second floor.       Linda Matthews Photo
Big Spring was also popular as a recreational site in the 1800's. and harness racing fans from all over Kentucky met there. McHenry Meador was the racetrack owner.

The hotel in Big Spring enjoyed a thriving business during the horse races. At one time, the county line between Breckinridge and Meade Counties was moved and happened to pass through the center of the tavern on the ground level of the hotel. With Breckinridge County being dry, and Meade, wet, the proprietor simply started serving alcoholic beverages across the room on the Meade County side.

Schools were the center of activity in the early 1900's. The buildings were used for church services and all community activities, including plays and Christmas activities. Beginning in the 1920's, school enrollment began to decline, and while 15 pupils were enrolled in 1920, by 1937, the number had dwindled to four. In 1938, the few remaining students transferred to Zion School. Students now attend the elementary schools in Custer and Irvington.

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THE HARDAWAY HOME remains as beautiful and elegant in 1978 as it
did in the 1800s. The house was often filled with music and laughter, as the
Hardaways entertained large numbers of people in the early 1900s. The
home still belongs to a member of the family. Dr. Julian Hardaway of
Lexington. who plans to spend his retirement years in the majestic home.
Linda Matthews Photo
The once-thriving town, now small-town story has been repeated all over the United States. With the development of better
highways and faster vehicles, Big Spring became a victim of the modern day. Stores began feeling the competition from the larger towns, store proprietors grew old and closed their businesses, while the younger generations moved to larger cities that offered more excitement. Farmers began taking their goods to larger markets that would give them a better profit. Eventually, Big Spring became the quiet town it is today.

Since residents claiming Big Spring as their address are made up of Breckinridge, Meade, and Hardin Countians, they find a problem in getting any particular county to claim responsibility of certain issues. One resident, an elderly lady whose name is withheld, stated that if they called one county about a problem, they were referred to another county, who in turn referred them to another, until they would find that they made a complete circle without having resolved anything.

There is one time when all three counties participate in the activities of Big Spring. That is when the annual Down Home Days are held.  This is a weekend long affair that is held in the middle of town, with games, contests, crafts, music, and local talents sharing their love of the historical town.

The post office is located in the only general store in town. According to the National Archives in Washington, D.C., the original post office was established in 1834.

A relatively quiet town, Big Spring got its name from the large spring located in town. With such a landmark, the town could go by no other name.

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A MONUMENT has been placed at a point where three counties
(Breckinridge, Meade, and Hardin) meet in Big Spring.  At left, in
background, is the hotel where visitors and racing fans from all over
Kentucky would congregate.  Linda Matthews Photo
THE "BIG SPRING" from which the town derived its name, enters and exits the earth at several points in the area.  Above, the mouth is located in Hardin County just before the waters reach Breckinridge County.  Linda Matthews Photo