Owensboro is a city full of historic relevance. Founded in 1817, our city has a ton of structures and buildings that date back to the 1800s, many of which are on the National Register of Historic Places.
So if you’re one of the many travelers seeking out historic places for your next destination, we’ve got you covered right here. From churches to houses to pioneer villages, Owensboro is a fascinating place to travel back in time.
Odd Fellows Building
200-204 West Third Street
Built in 1895, the Odd Fellows Building served historically as a professional building, a clubhouse, and a specialty store. At three stories high, the Odd Fellows Building represents the Renaissance Revival and Italian Renaissance Revival architectural styles, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s also been deemed one of the most architecturally complex buildings in downtown Owensboro.
The Yewell House
630 Clay Street
The Yewell House, built in 1894, represents the Queen Anne architectural style. It was deemed significant in 1986 as “an outstanding example of Queen Anne style of architecture.” It was built by wealthy tobacco farmer Franklin Yewell, who constructed the house when he was 70 years old. It remained in the Yewell family for 72 years and is now used as a multi-family residence. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.
Temple Adath Israel
429 Daviess Street
This synagogue in Owensboro was built in 1877 and is the longest-running synagogue in the entire state of Kentucky, and one of the oldest synagogue buildings still standing in the United States. The Moorish Revival facade of the building features a gothic-arched door flanked by a pair of gothic-arched windows punctuated by four pilasters. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, you can see the inside of the building on Thursday nights, when services are held weekly.
Trinity Episcopal Church
403 West Fifth Street
The Trinity Episcopal Church was built in 1875 and is deemed “a good example of the English influence on early church architecture in the United States.” The church was in regular use until 1964, when the parish built a new building due to overcrowding. The old church serves as an example of 13th century Lancet-style architecture and is laid out in the Classic Anglican design of a nave, chancel and sanctuary. It is now used by Theatre Workshop of Owensboro and, rumor has it, it’s also haunted. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.
1039 Frederica Street
This historic railroad station was built in 1905 and represents the Victorian architectural style. At its height in the 1920s, the station served 18 passenger trains. In 1958, the station stopped being used for passenger traffic as the L&N trains claimed annual losses of $130,000 for continuing passenger service. Since then, it’s been used as a disco, a pizza parlor, an architectural design group, a preschool, an adult daycare and a Hilliard Lyons office. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Le Vega Clements House
1500 North Highland Avenue
This home was built in 1894, and was constructed in the Queen Anne style of architectural design. It is a two-story, double-pile brick house with a projecting three-story hexagonal tower. It was deemed notable as “the finest example of Queen Anne domestic architecture in Owensboro.” The house was named “Highlands” by its builder because of the commanding position on a hill overlooking the Ohio River. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.
Callas Sweet Shop
420 Frederica Street
This building was built in 1921 in the Beaux Arts style. The National Register nomination deemed it “elegant,” adding that “the buff color terra cotta and tile decorative elements, such as brackets, shields and cornices created a simple, classical appearance.” The word CALLAS is carved into terra cotta panels directly above the storefront. It was also deemed significant for having the only surviving example of complete terracotta tile fronts in downtown Owensboro. The original owner was typical of European immigrants’ families who came to Owensboro and operated small businesses. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986 and will soon be home to Sassafras – a local restaurant serving a variety of Appalachian- and Kentucky-focused dishes.
St. Stephen Cathedral
610 Locust Street
The seat of the Diocese of Owensboro, St. Stephen was built in 1926. The same year that St. Stephen’s became a cathedral – 1939 – its first parish school opened on Frederica Street with five grades. St. Stephen is built in the Italianate architectural style and also serves as a Roman Catholic Church.
Jim Lambert Pioneer Village
Yellow Creek Park
Located in the back section of Yellow Creek Park, the Pioneer Village is designed to look like a frontier community around 1890-1910. The Friends of Pioneer Village have added a gardening project highlighting historically correct plants like flax and cotton. The foundation for Pioneer Village was laid decades ago, when Rosenwald Schoolhouse, a one-room school that served Black students at Pleasant Ridge from 1909 to 1936, was moved to the nature center in the back of the park in 1992. You can find the Jesse Jones house – a log cabin made of 15-by-15 inch square poplar logs, original clay caulking mixed with horse and pig hair, and the fireplaces made of original brick fired on the property – at the site. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
Fourth Street Baptist Church
821 West Fourth Street
Recently designated a Kentucky Historical Marker, Fourth Street Baptist Church celebrated its 190th anniversary in 2020, and is considered the oldest Black church in Owensboro and the surrounding area. The primarily Black congregation was once part of First Baptist Church before being given their own church to practice their faith. According to former City Commissioner Pam Smith-Wright, “The slave owners would bring their slaves to First Baptist, and the slaves had to sit in the balcony. After a while, the slaves started to outnumber the members, so they gave them their own church.”