Demolition of Historic Buildings in Downtown Owensboro, KY 1982-2008


Between 1982 and 2008, 14 documented historic buildings have been demolished within the Downtown Core: 11 that contributed to the character of the National Register Owensboro Historic Downtown Commercial District and 3 others that were eligible to be or were listed on the National Register individually.

1982 National Register District - The 1982 Owensboro Historic Downtown Commercial District encompassed the three-block area of 2nd St. between St. Ann St. and J.R. Miller Blvd. (then Lewis St.). The district encompassed 43 buildings, of which 31 were contributing in 1982 (Map 3).

By 2004, ten (10) of the 1982 district's contributing buildings were no longer standing. The Owensboro Savings Bank/Walgreen Building on the southeast comer of St. Ann and W 2nd streets was razed in the late 1980s. Also, in the late 1980s five (5) contributing buildings (including Kresge’s) on the south side of the 100 block of E. 2nd St. were razed to accommodate construction of the new Daviess County Judicial Center and adjacent parking. Between 1982 and 1988 the First Baptist Church razed three (3) contributing buildings on the south side of E. 2nd Street between Daviess and J.R. Miller Boulevard (including the spectacular Guenther Building [demolished 1988]) to facilitate the construction of a Christian Life Center and adjacent parking. One (1) contributing building on the north side of East Second Street between Daviess Street and J. R. Miller Blvd. (Ira Wood Plumbing office) was removed in the early 1990s for the construction of RiverPark Center (Map 3).

2005 National Register District (expanded) - The 2005 expanded Owensboro Historic Downtown Commercial District is composed of 70 resources: 67 buildings, and 3 sites, of which, in 2005, 54 buildings and 3 sites contributed to the district's sense of time and place. The buildings designated as noncontributing are those constructed after 1954 and those constructed earlier that have been so altered that they have lost their integrity as historic structures.

The contributing buildings have retained their original appearance to a large degree. In 2005, 47 of the 54 buildings that contribute to the district (87%) had undergone little or no alteration. Of that number, 38 buildings have had no discernable change made to their appearance. On these buildings, the street level storefront has retained its original configuration, although the doors and windows may have been replaced; the upper levels exhibit their original fabric and the size and placement of the window openings has not been altered.

Between 2005 (expanded NR district approved) and November 2008, one (1) 1900 contributing building, located at 221 Allen St., was demolished; a rear addition was removed from one (1) 1890 contributing building, located at 221 St. Ann St.; and one (1) non-contributing 1890 building, located at 215 St. Ann St. was demolished (Maps 2).

Outside the 2005 National Register District boundaries within the Downtown Core

Outside the 2005 NR District boundaries within the Downtown Core, three (3) buildings that were on or eligible for listing in the National Register were demolished between 1986 and 2008:

  1. Ames Building (DAOB-136), 401 W. 3rd St., demolished after fire in 1987
  2. Sweeney House (DAOB-71), 120 E. 4th St., demolished after fire in 1990s?
  3. Daviess County Jail (1886) (DAOB-107), 110 St. Elizabeth St., demolished 2003

However, several “survey sites” (of undetermined historic value) located within the Core were also demolished between 1986 and 2008.

Gary A. Adams, AICP – 2008-11-11
Sources: 2004 National Register Nomination for the Owensboro Historic Downtown Commercial District by Mudpuppy & Waterdog, Inc.; building data from Preservation Alliance of Owensboro-Daviess County, Inc.