Historical Timeline


February 1980

Calloway Manufacturing Company filed a claim of bankruptcy in U.S. District Court in Paducah after being in business for 26 years.

April 1980

Production started in the new plastic molding facility at the Murray Fisher-Price plant. Tappan officials announced their plant would close.

Fisher-Price logo.

May 1980

Work began to convert the old L&N Railroad Depot into the home of the Murray-Calloway County Community Theatre.

The old train freight depot before it was moved to its current location.

September 19, 1980

The final stove was made at the Murray Tappan Plant ending 35 years of local production. Murray and Calloway County lost more than 700 jobs.

October 1980

Murray was selected as the new location of the National Scouting Museum of the Boy Scouts of America and housed in the interim Murray State University Student Center.

November 1980

Murray became the home of a full 115-man company of the Kentucky National Guard.

December 1980

The new Murray Post Office on Chestnut Street was dedicated.

The current Murray Post Office on Chestnut Street.

January 1981

The $8.2 million University Center (later named The Curris Center) at Murray State University opened its doors after 34 months of construction.

April 1981

Former First Lady Lady Bird Johnson inaugurated Murray's downtown beautification project during her one-day visit to the city.

Lady Bird Johnson.

May 1981

Wal-Mart Discount Stores Inc., announced plans to purchase the Murray Roses store, located in the Central Shopping Center.

July 1981

Dale-Stubblefield Drug Co. closed its doors on the court square after almost 100 years of service to Murray and Calloway County. The drug store opened in 1885.

A plaque for Dale-Stubblefield Drug Store.

August 1981

The Murray City Council accepted the Tappan Company plan to donate its former manufacturing facility and 165 acres to the city.

August 29, 1981

The building housing the Murray Ledger & Times was gutted by an early morning fire. With the assistance of several newspapers and local merchants and citizens, the newspaper continued its services to the community without interruption.

The Murray Ledger & Times on fire.

November 1981

The Kroger Company food processing division announced the purchase of the former Tappan warehouse as a location for processing gelatin, drink mixes and salted nuts.

March 1982

The Commerce Centre, located on three acres of city property on U.S. 641 North, was dedicated by Murray Chamber of Commerce, civic leaders and interested citizens.

May 1982

36. James Hornbuckle was appointed Chief of the Murray Fire Department, the first person of color in the state of Kentucky to ever hold the office.

July 1982

Chestnut Hills Shopping Center, a newly built 120,000 square foot shopping area, opened, including J.C. Penney.

A storefront in the Chestnut Hills Shopping Center from the Paducah Sun

May 1983

Dr. Kala M. Stroup signed a four-year, $65,000-a-year contact with Murray State University as the first female president.

May 1984

The beloved MSU Racer mascot, Violet Cactus, died after a bout with colic.

A recently erected statue in front of the Curris Center commemorating Racer One.

August 1984

Plans to expand construction of the two-lane Benton bypass to four lanes were announced by the State Transportation Secretary. The four-lane expansion added an estimated $755,000 to the already $4.2 million price tag of the project.

October 1984

Bluegrass Cable Company began operations, serving about 100 county subscribers with projections calling for about 4,000 customers to hook up to the cable and more than 150 miles of cable to be laid in the county.

May 7, 1985

When county magistrate Gil Hopson passed away in 1985, Governor Martha Layne Collins appointed his wife, Mary E. (Rogers) Hopson to fill his unexpired term, becoming the first female to serve on the Calloway County Fiscal Court. She did not run in the general election.

March 16, 1985

The first Murray State University rifle team in school history won a NCAA Championship. Pat Spurgin became Murray State University's first Olympic gold medal winner in the 10m air rifle at the 1984 Summer Olympics.

The MSU Rifle Team.

April 16, 1985

Briggs and Stratton's lawn mower division located in Murray in the former Tappan building.

Briggs & Stratton.

May 24, 1986

The National Scouting Museum of the Boy Scouts of America located its operations at Murray State University.

February 1987

Dean Foods announced plans to renovate or build a new plant in Murray.

March 1987

The Kentucky-West Tennessee Railway, a Paris, Tennessee-based company, began its operations in Calloway County.

September 1987

Announced on ABC's "Good Morning America," the Murray Kentucky Lake area was chosen as the Number 1 retirement location in America by the publishers of "Rand McNally's Retirement Places Rated."

October 1987

A Shoney's restaurant and motel were announced for the Murray community.

October 1987

Construction on the four-laning of U.S. 641 through Murray was wrapping up and final touches were being conducted.

December 1987

The speculative building in the Industrial Park was completed and the Vanderbilt Chemical Corporation of Murray announced plans for an expansion at their Murray facilities.

March 18, 1988

The Racers men's basketball team were in their third NCAA Tournament (the first was in 1964 and second was in 1969), this time against North Carolina. With head coach Steve Newton, the Racers upset NC State 78-75 in Lincoln, Nebraska, for the Racers' first win.

September 1988

The long battle over the legal sale of alcoholic beverages in Murray ended with the dry forces prevailing by a margin of 3,223 against and 2,296 in favor.

The vote in September 1988.

December 1988

The Lynn Grove Roller Rink was destroyed by fire.

January 1990

Iben Browning, an American business consultant, predicted that a major earthquake would occur along the New Madrid Fault on December 3, 1990. On "quake day," the students at Calloway County High were in school as one of a handful of western Kentucky schools that refused to close for the earthquake prediction.

February 2, 1991

Residents of the community turned out in force for a march and rally in Murray in support of U.S. troops in the Persian Gulf.

March 6, 1991

City workers put up an additional 50 American flags, this time along the city's main thoroughfare, 12th Street, to honor the returning men and women who participated in Operation Desert Storm.

December 1991

WNBS, the radio station that proclaimed itself "the birthplace of radio" became silent when the last employees walked out and turned off the equipment. On March 13, 1992, Peoples Bank was granted ownership of WNBS's building, while the Bank of Murray assumed possession of the former station's equipment.

January, 5, 1992

A fire at St. John Missionary Baptist Church resulted in major structural damage.

February 23, 1992

Members of the 614th Military Police Company were officially welcomed back from their participation in the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War in Iraq and Kuwait.

The 614th Military Police Company returns home (the Paducah Sun)

April 11, 1992

Three Mayfield men won $6 million on a Lotto ticket purchased at Murray's Pockets Shell Station.

A clipping from the Paducah Sun about the lottery winners.

April 14, 1992

A wreck in west Calloway County snapped a utility pole, which caused electrical shock to the occupant of one house trailer and started a fire in another. The incident later attracted the attention of CBS's "911" program.


Another expansion of nearly $5 million grew the Murray-Calloway County Hospital yet again.

July 1, 1992

A mandatory seat belt ordinance was passed into law in Murray.

June 1994

One of the most destructive fires in recent memory swept through Murray State University's Fine Arts Annex which was under renovation at the time of the blaze.


It was a big year when Fisher-Price began a $12 million renovation project which was required for 200,000 square feet of additional manufacturing space. The plant employed 1,350 people. Briggs & Stratton plant underwent a 35,000 square foot expansion of factory space. The $18 million expansion project added 160 new jobs bringing the total to 780 employees. Wal-Mart also announced plans to build a 200,000 square foot store behind the Murray-Calloway County Chamber of Commerce off Highway 641. Then, the Murray Kroger store moved north on 641 to a 54,173 square foot facility that represented a $6.8 million project and 180 new jobs.

September 12, 1998

The 20-year dream was finally realized when the Murray State University Regional Special Events Center opened. It marked the fifth gymnasium in the school's history, and its opening coincided with the university's 75th anniversary.

September 18, 1998

An intentionally set dorm fire took the life of Michael Minger, a Murray State University student who lived at Hester Hall.


Dolly's Gentleman's Club, an adult business, opened its doors in downtown Murray, setting off a discussion regarding regulation of adult entertainment. A moratorium was passed to ensure that no other adult businesses could open until the city had dealt with the issue. The fiscal court soon followed suit, bringing regulations to the county. And in the midst of these actions, the downtown business closed its doors.

A clipping from the Paducah Sun about the gentlemen's club.


The independently owned Murray Bank opened its new facility on South 12th Street. Mercantile Bank, Peoples Bank and Dees Bank were all bought out by larger corporations.

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