The Pikeville Main Street Virtual Walking Tour | home
Discover Pike County, Kentucky
"Miracle of the Mountains"
Pikeville, the county seat of Pike County, is located on the north side of the Levisa Fork of the Big Sandy River. It can be reached by US 23 and 119 and by the Mountain Parkway from Lexington, Kentucky or US 119 from Williamson, West Virginia. Elkhorn City is the only other community of significant size in the county. After the transfer of the county seat from Liberty to the present site in 1824, the town was laid out on a grid with a courthouse square. Main Street paralleled the river about 300 feet from the river bank. Early commercial buildings were located in this area and reflected the multipurpose nature of their goods. The two earliest buildings left in the Commercial District are the Bowles Building and the Caudill Building. Both structures are two story brick with gable roofs and have been modified extensively on the first floor. The second floor of the Caudill Building reveals gable returns and a Palladian window. The "Cut-Through" project, rerouted the river and the railroad to open the way for new development and control flooding. Prior to that space was at a premium and Pikeville was squeezed between the river and the mountain.
The City of Pikeville features five districts
that are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The individual sites within each district are identified by numbers which correspond to the map
legend. These individual sites are also recognized as Kentucky Landmarks. Also there are two houses listed here, # 39 (James M. Roberson House) and # 40 (Sowards/Oliver House), that are not part of the National Register listing but are recognized as Kentucky Landmarks. For a walking tour brochure, contact the Pike County Tourism Commission or the Pikeville Main Street Program. You can click next
to advance to the next building on the tour, back
to return to the previous building, or home
to return to this page.
The Scott Avenue Historic District
is formed by seven residences on the north and south sides of Scott Avenue. Six residences represent variations of the American four Square style, while the other one is a bungalow. These structures demonstrate the most cohesive group of residences for the second decade of the 20th century in Pikeville in terms of style, materials and setback. The bungalow has a gabled roof with overhanging eaves that extend over the porch. The entrance is recessed beneath the overhang. It is one and one half stories and built of brick.
The Third Street Historic District
is a small residential district occupying three corners of the intersection of third Street and Scott Avenue. All the houses were built between 1910 and 1920, are the American Four Square style, a variation of Classic Revival. Their homogeneity in terms of detailing is apparent with the hip roof, overhanging eaves, raised first floors and symmetrical layout. Three of the five houses have wraparound porches supported by battered brick piers or paired
The College Street Historic District
contains 9 residences and is located south of the commercial district. It provides a link between Huffman Street District and the Pikeville Academy building already on the National Register. The residences remaining on the street are a combination of later 19th century vernacular and early 20th century classical revival styles. Despite infill by apartment complexes and small grocery stores the neighborhood retains its integrity.
The Pikeville Commercial Historic District
Only three structures from Pikeville's early commercial development remain in the downtown. They are all on the west side of Main Street occupying lots from the original plat of the town. Their position there close to the courthouse and 300 feet from the Big Sandy River coincides with the navigational efforts on the river at that time. Steamboats used this route to carry goods from Ashland on the Ohio River to Pikeville when the water level permitted. Efforts to finance a series of locks to free the steamboats from their seasonal restraints failed and the river traffic waned during the first decade of the twentieth century. Despite alterations to their first floor facades, these three buildings contribute a sense of scale and history to Main Street which would otherwise be lost. Their rectangular barn-like form is a result of the variety of hardware, dry goods and groceries that were sold in the premises. These three buildings were also associated with early Pikeville entrepreneurs such as J.E. Yost, Hibbard Williamson, Orlando Bowles and Harrison Ford. Four buildings were built during the first decade of the twentieth century when Pikeville was finally linked to Ashland by railroad. This new transportation stimulated the mineral industries and created a need for additional office space in the downtown. Retailing was transformed from general stores to more specialized commercial ventures. These structure differ from the earlier buildings in their detailing, especially the brick corbelling. They are three stories, flat roofed, and display a greater percentage of glass in their facades than the earlier buildings. The Anthony Hotel varied from the pattern by being four stories tall. In 1927, the Day and Night Bank was built on the corner of Main and Division. It exhibits the only sandstone facade left in Pikeville.
Huffman Avenue Historic District
is a cluster of the important religious, governmental and historical landmarks in Pikeville. The Presbyterians built their brick and stone sanctuary in this area in 1908. They were soon followed by the Methodist who left their original building on Main Street and established their church here in 1912. These two churches are the best examples of early twentieth century ecclesiastical architecture in Pikeville. The Post Office and the Federal Courthouse on Main Street are the only examples of Georgian Revival architecture in Pikeville. The Post Office features a polychrome terra cotta eagle in the medallion over the entrance and additional terra cotta work in the acanthus leaf motif of the capitals of the porch columns. The Federal Courthouse has the only example of English bond brick work in Pikeville and a square cupola atop a hip roof. The City Park is the only site remaining in Pikeville associated with James A. Garfield. The park is the site where Garfield received his commission as Brigadier General in 1862. Despite the fact that the tavern has been torn down, the lot on which it stood has been preserved as an open space and is currently used as a park. The churches, governments buildings, and the park anchor the south end of Pikeville. The structure figure prominently in the development of the religious and civil history of the community as well as being the best local examples of the Gothic Revival and Georgian Revival styles. On the south side of the district are modified residences substantially changed with siding. On the east side of the district is the Levisa Fork of the Big Sandy River. The north and west sides have modern commercial structures which contract with the two story brick government and religious structures within the district.
The Hatfield-McCoy Feud Historic District
includes four sites located in Pikeville that have been placed on the National Register of Historic Places: the Old Pike County Jail, the Pike County Courthouse, the hanging site of Ellison Mounts, and the Dils Cemetery. There are also some other interesting buildings
in Pikeville that are not part of the Walking Tour.
The Sandborn Insurance Maps of Main Street Pikeville are also on this site. They reveal an interesting view of a changing downtown during the early twentieth century.
The original Pikeville High School was located at the corner of Fourth and Cline. It was a two story brick building and appears on the 1910 Sandborn Map. After 1910, this building was torn down to make way for the new high school building, which has also since been torn down. The High School building was a three story brick and glazed tile structure. It had projecting bays and was the only Tudor Revival building in Pikeville. In 1927, Wright Hall was built adjacent to the High School on Scott Avenue. Wright Hall had a three story five bay brick school room and dormitory. It was Renaissance Revival in style and displayed variety in its detailing. It had a raised first floor with a finished sandstone basement, round arched windows with keystones, elaborate cornice, and brick pilasters with Ionic capitals. It too, unfortunately, has been torn down.