Red House History a Humorous Tale

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Red House History a Humorous Tale


One popular Madison County myth claims that the village of Red House was so named when the Kentucky Central railroad was built through there. A large red brick house is said to have been directly in the path of the railroad, and the owner refused to sell or permit the track to be laid even near his house, and so the place then became known as "Red House." It was a fairly common thing for landowners to give the railroad right-of-way agents a hard time, but that's not how the place got its name. Historical records show that the Kentucky Central was built in 1883, and the place had already had its name for some time. Entering the county from Winchester and running on to join the L&N track at Richmond, the Kentucky Central crossed the river at Ford, went through two tunnels which were constructed with convict labor, and then through the Red House area. A station named Red House was built just up the hill from the underpass, on the side of the road opposite the Red House United Methodist Church. Pens and ramps for the loading of livestock were in frequent use for many years up through the 1930s. From there the rails ran on into Richmond, where connection was made with the L&N at the freight yard just north of East Main. On Oct. 5, 1883, French Tipton, that tall, thin editor of The Kentucky Register, reported that "on last Tuesday morning the commission was received from the Post Office Department at Washington to establish a post office at Red House." Tipton went on to state that this was the third time the commission had been received, it having been returned twice to Washington for a change in name. "By all means, by all sorts of right and justice and precedence, he wrote, "the name of the post office should be Red House. It is one of the oldest points in the county, has always borne that name, is known far and wide by that name and is the name of the (new) railroad station." However, Tipton explained, "it was not the desire of anybody to have the name changed, but the diamond-studded piece of stupidity called a clerk who made out the commission at Washington got the names mixed and named the post office Sturgell, and of course, we suppose, commissioned the Red House as postmaster. Changing a post office name was a slow and difficult process, Tipton noted, and "in the mean-time, the post office must be known as Sturgell, and the man who keeps it as Mr. John F. Red House." Another reference to the name of that vicinity is found in the Oct. 12, 1883 Kentucky Register. A young lady, Miss Lizzie Butner, died at the home of her parents. The newspaper article stated: "Her funeral took place Saturday at noon from the old home, Red House, conducted by Rev. H.T. Daniel, of the Baptist Church."


Dr. Robert Grise




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Dr. Robert Grise, “Red House History a Humorous Tale,” Madison's Heritage Online, accessed March 3, 2024,