Hopkinsville or Hoptown? Whatever you call it, it's our hometown

Do you live in Hopkinsville? Do you live in Hoptown? Do you live in both, and does it make any difference to you one way or the other?

When this column was started, several title names were considered, and one was "Here in Hoptown."

When mentioned to some friends, they were vocal about not liking the use of Hoptown. They said they were from Hopkinsville, their child had graduated from Hopkinsville High School and when in college, they found that people referred to our town as Hopkinsville, Ky., just rarely Hoptown.

So, the opinion of our historian William Turner was asked.

Turner said the use of Hoptown probably started early in the 20th century, and he thought the first official use was with the Kitty League baseball team, the Hoptown Hoppers. Noting that the military often used Hoptown, he surmised that the migration of soldiers and families away from Campbell to all over the world probably fueled the use of the nickname.

Again, sports may enter into the popularity of Hoptown, resulting from the use of the high school's Hoptown Tigers nickname.

Many city natives prefer Hopkinsville, Turner thinks. "My mother always says Hopkinsville, but I use both, and I sort of like Hoptown as it seems a bit less airy."

When listening to other people, it seemed apparent that those who live or have lived for a long time in the county or in neighboring counties use the nickname most often.

People from Todd County don't usually say they're going to Hopkinsville to the movie or to shop; it's "I'm going to Hoptown."

And it's really hard to find anyone in neighboring Clarksville, Tenn., who refers to this place as Hopkinsville. It's always Hoptown Tigers, Hoptown High School, Hoptown this and that.

Gloria Moss, who is originally from Clarksville but has lived in Hopkinsville for more than 30 years, reinforced this observation.

"When Clarksville High School played Hopkinsville, we were great rivals, and it was always the Hoptown Tigers," she said. "To me, this has always been Hoptown, and it will always be Hoptown, and I dearly love it, just as I do Clarksville. When I'm there, friends will say to me, Oh, you live in Hoptown now,'" she further commented.

Kitty Dooley is a Hopkinsville native and also the wife of a retired military officer and has traveled to many places.

"I've said Hoptown all my life, and I also say Hopkinsville. When I'm out of town, I'll usually say I'm from Hopkinsville. It just switches back and forth, but I'm fond of Hoptown and also Hopkinsville," she further commented, pointing out there's no other town in the nation named Hopkinsville.

Bert Leavell, a long-time county resident who has also lived in the city, said, "One is as familiar as the other. I use both; it depends upon who I'm talking to. But I usually say I'm going to Hoptown but will tell people I live in Hopkinsville."

Lindsey Clark, who grew up in the Casky community and now lives in the city, said, "It's Hoptown. I live in Hoptown, and I graduated from Hoptown High School; that's it."

Georgia Shipp Hutchinson, who grew up on a farm on the Pembroke Road but as an Army wife has lived in other countries, said, "I used both Hoptown and Hopkinsville, and when I was overseas and would say I was from Hoptown, people would know what I was talking about. Growing up, we never said we were going to Hopkinsville. We said we were going to town or to Hoptown," she noted.

The Inquiring Reporter gave up on using Hoptown in the name for this column so as not to offend anyone.

But having lived mostly in the county, with a number of years also in Todd County and college years in Clarksville, then Hopkinsville is fine and used at times with pride, but the personal favorite name is the unique Hoptown.

Hoptown or Hopkinsville, whichever it's our hometown.

Mary D. Ferguson is a staff writer for the Kentucky New Era. Her weekly column is published on Tuesdays. She can be reached at newera.com or by phoning 887-3230.

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