HISTORY: In the 1792 era, the Shawnee from north of the Ohio were along with Cherokees, Choctaws, and Creeks from the south, and other tribes’ frequent visitors here. Indians and pioneers both used places like the Big Spring of never-failing supplies of water for gathering places, pitched their tents and camped there. Mr. John Viers, one of the first settlers in the area, owned all the land on the north side of what is now hwy 68-80. Mr. Viers gave the Big Spring to the town. The town grew around its water supply and in 1858 the L & N Railroad ran its Bowling Green to Memphis branch through the town, at which time Mr. Viers gave the land for the railroad depot. Woodville as the town was called at that time began to groom itself for growth.
Mr. A.J. Corning or Carney, a schoolteacher/surveyor from New York gave Woodville a new name, Auburn, for his native town of Auburn, N.Y. The village began to flourish when E.R. Gordon erected a flourmill and woolen cloth manufacturing facility just below the head of Black Lick Creek, near the present location of the Auburn Hosiery Mill.
The town was incorporated in 1865. An article in The Kentucky State Gazette of 1879 reads, “Auburn has a population of 700, with 4 churches; two steam flour mills; a good public school; and ships tobacco, wheat, pork and corn. The Western Union Telegraph and Adams Express have offices there.”
There were two blacksmith shops and a livery stable in Auburn in 1871. Mr. Joe Price owned the livery stable at that time. The stable passed through many hands before being bought by my grandfather, W. H. Pugh in 1922. The stable was located on the west side of Black Lick Creek and the blacksmith shop beside it.
In 1879 there were 4 doctors and one dentist practicing in Auburn.
The Methodist Church is the oldest church in Auburn. Organized before 1865, the present building dating from 1937, is the third occupied by the congregation. The Presbyterian Church was organized in 1865 and the first building was erected in 1867. The Cumberland Presbyterian Church was organized in 1866 and was reorganized in 1906. The Baptist Church was also begun in 1866. Liberty Baptist church, three miles north of Auburn was organized in 1828. The Christian church was organized in 1890 and the Church of Christ about 1950.
In 1894 John B. Gaines of Bowling Green began a weekly newspaper, The Auburn Advocate. In the late 1920s Roy McDowell started the Auburn times, which he sold to Mr. Percy Hurt in 1930. Mr. Percy continued the paper until 1952. Beginning in 1953 the News-Democrat publishing company at Russellville printed the paper as the Auburn News.
The Auburn Hosiery Mill, owned by Roger Kimball was organized and had been in operation since 1937. There were two large grain mills; the Auburn Mills and the Auburn Roller Mills, at that time employed about 42 people between them. Graham’s wood working shop worked 14 and shipped church furniture all over the United States. Auburn in 1957 was exactly one mile square, the population was 950, and could certainly live up with its slogan: Large enough to serve you and small enough to know you.
Historic Auburn is just 3 miles from South Union KY Shaker Village, just 18 miles west of Bowling Green on Hwy 68. Auburn has beautiful homes, including Plantation homes. In fact, 136 pieces of property are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Auburn has a lot to offer with unique shopping, dining and sightseeing. Auburn has a wonderful museum with historic structure walking tours including log cabin, barn, old jail, and school house. Each structure contains artifacts appropriate to its intended use. Open Tuesday - Sunday 1-5 pm. Admission is charged. Auburn has a thriving community of Amish, so it is not unusual to see horse & buggies around the streets or Amish families selling produce in the summer months on the street corners.
Plenty to see & do in this small town. Perfect for that day trip or even an overnight at one of the bed & breakfast (Federal Grove or Shaker Tavern). Business hours vary at our merchants