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Houchens First Store in Southern Kentucky

A few weeks ago we took a quick day trip over to Barren County and did some exploring. We meandered through the countryside and found a hidden historic landmark. If you grew up in the south, you may be familiar with the Houchens chain of grocery stores. Did you know that the very first Houchens store was started in southern Kentucky and is still standing?

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Houchens First Store in Southern Kentucky

Located just off of 31E about 10 minutes south of Glasgow, Kentucky we saw a sign on the side of the road for Houchens Park: First Store, Winn School House and Farm Machinery Museum. Of course, we had to take the time to explore.

Just a few minutes down the road, we found the sign for the Houchens Memorial Park. Turn right at that road and go down a very short road to see the buildings, museum and original store.

There is a short circular driveway that takes you around the buildings. We didn’t have a reservation and noone was there to talk to but we were able to see the original building and see inside the Transportation Building.

Original Houchens Store

The original store is a simple woodframe building that grew to over 400 current grocery and convenience stores.

The company traces its beginnings to 1917, when founder Ervin Houchens opened his first store (“BG Wholesale”) at the age of 19 in a shed in southern Kentucky. This shed, along with other historical structures, has been well preserved and is open to the public. He sold the company in 1983.

Houchens Industries was originally founded in Glasgow, Kentucky by Ervin G. Houchens in 1917 as Houchens Foods.

Houchens First Store

As you circle around the driveway, there are several other buildings that would be fun to explore when they are open.

Now I need to make a reservation so we can go back and see the insides of these historic buildings!

Do you take unplanned adventures like this? Have you ever discovered something historic by ‘accident’? I’d love to hear!


Looking for more Kentucky things to see? Check out Paradise Point Marketplace less than 30 minutes farther down the 31E!

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