Dawson Springs, Hopkins County, 1881

A bird's-eye view of the entire town of Dawson Springs, Hopkins County, Kentucky, in 1881. In 1872 the first train to make the trip between Elizabethtown and Paducah passed through this little settlement, then called Tradewater Station. The town grew rapidly and by 1874 was known as Dawson. In front is the Hamby House owned by Washington I. Hambey, a veteran of the Confederate cavalry, who was a prominent local merchant that kept a railroad eating house and hotel. In 1881 and again in 1893 he discovered mineral water while digging wells. The water was believed to have medicinal properties, and the city quickly developed as one of the most popular health resorts in the upper South. The town was incorporated as Dawson City in 1882 and renamed Dawson Springs in 1898.