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JIM: Columbia, KY - The best inland town in the State

An immigrant from off, from Lincoln County, KY, joined the force at the Adair County News as a department head. His impressions of Columbia, KY then, mirror many of the images incomers find today. He covers many subjects appropriate to today's Columbia/Adair County, particularly of note is that Eats have always been a priority topic here and was noted by the new resident: 'The Marcum and Hancock Hotels are up-to-date as to equipment and service. Their Bills of Fare will certainly satisfy the most fastidious' he wrote. The mysterious JIM has outdone himself this time, with a real gem of a Sunday read. -CM


The following essay was penned by Henry Richardson (H.R.) Camnitz shortly after his arrival in Columbia in the late summer of 1904 to take charge of the job printing department of the Adair County News.

At the time, Columbia was enjoying an era of unprecedented prosperity and expansion. The development of the Jamestown Hill area had started when L.B. Hurt purchased the Logan Bomar lands in the closing days of 1901. Less than a year later, Scott Montgomery sold a boundary of land opposite the J.M. Russell property, and it was laid off into town lots. At about the same time as the Montgomery property was subdivided in late 1902, Tutt & Conover began advertising lots for sale in what would become known as the Tutt Addition of Columbia.

At the time Mr. Camnitz arrived from Lincoln County, the venerable Male & Female High School was enjoying a brief resurgence in popularity, and the newly opened Lindsey Wilson Training School was attracting students -- and their families -- from all over Adair County as well as the immediately surrounding region.

The essay appeared on the front page of the September 21, 1904 edition of the paper.

My First Impressions of Columbia.

On the night of August 25th, 1904, I left my home, where I had lived for twenty years, for Columbia, Ky. After a circuitous route I reached my destination. I imagined myself a "stranger in a strange land" but that awful feeling vanished as rapidly as though aided by some powerful and unknown source through the hearty welcome I received from the citizens here.

This little "Athens of Kentucky" is built upon a knoll, with many old handsome colonial style homes and fine farms in the surrounding country. The streets are lined on both sides with fine shade trees and the "hand of progress" seems to have Columbia in its grasp.

The many newly erected houses are modern in every detail, buildings are constantly being erected, each owner trying to surpass his neighbor in architecture and conveniences.

Columbia is the best inland town in the State. It has always been noted as an educational center, and I do not know where to direct anyone (considering the number of its inhabitants, and isolation from near railroads) to another place where you will find a more congenial class of people, a more substantial court-house, two handsomer or better colleges than Columbia owns.

The Court-house, which cost $33,000 and the jail $9,000 were not paid for by the issuing of bonds, but by a direct tax, ordered levied by the County Judge, which enabled the people to pay for both in two years time. They hardly missed the money, and this certainly was the better plan to erect these fine buildings.

The Marcum and Hancock Hotels are up-to-date as to equipment and service. Their Bills of Fare will certainly satisfy the most fastidious.

The recently completed Lindsey-Wilson College is a fine and imposing building. This college can accommodate about 200 students while the older one, the Presbyterian, finds ample room for 150 or more.

The business houses are built on a square, with Court-House in center, and are composed mostly of large, substantial, commodious brick buildings. All the merchants are wide-awake business men and carry ample stocks to supply all the wants of the people.

I am now located in The Adair County News office, one of the best equipped printing establishments in Southeastern Kentucky, and my association with all the force is exceedingly pleasant.

Four churches presided over by their respective ministers have services every Sunday morning and night; Sabbath School every Sunday; and Prayer Meetings during the week. This important item is one of the most commendable features of this little City's many advantages.

Pardon me if I demand too much time of the many readers of The Adair County News, but I feel as though I have been received and treated so well during my short stay among these people, that it is a duty of pleasure to take this way of showing my appreciation and delight to those who were so kind to take a stranger in and prove to him that Columbia has the most social, hospitable, kindest and business community that has ever been my pleasure to meet.

I can truthful say, that if a man of family is contemplating a change to derive better benefits and results in every phase of life, I can most heartily recommend Columbia, Ky. If he wishes to retire from the arduous labors of life, where will he find a more congenial community in which to cast his lot? If he has children to educate, Columbia can point the finger of pride to her colleges. Should it be of a business nature she has ample facilities for this.

Should any of my Lincoln County friends contemplate a change, I trust they will give Columbia every consideration for you will never regret it. I know that you will meet with the same good fate as myself. I can truly and gladly say: Using The Elks "Motto," these are "The Best People on Earth."

Compiled by Jim

This story was posted on 2011-10-09 10:39:14
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