By: Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
Olive Hill has always been a proud little town, it seems. We know the people of Olive Hill are proud of their town today. You can see this in the volunteerism of Chamber of Commerce members helping spruce up the Depot and downtown area. You can see it in her native sons and daughters returning to open businesses here.
Back in 1919, you could see it when the city took Ashland to task on claims that they were home to the largest fire brick plant in the world. Olive Hill isn’t nearly as large as Ashland is today, and they weren’t as large a city as Ashland 101 years ago either, but they weren’t going to let this claim go quietly. The Carter County Herald noted in their April 17 edition of that year that the city knew they had “one of the largest” with only three others as large as Olive Hill’s. Furthermore, the article noted, it was, “known to our knowledge that your works could set in the buildings of either of the General Refractories plants here or at Hitchins,” and that any of those plants, “could make more brick in a day than your plant is able to put out to save your life.”
A year later, in March of 2020, Olive Hill was elevated from a Fifth Class to a Fourth Class city. This meant a bigger tax base and more leverage to help erect a new school building.
A week and a half later and the city got confirmation that the new school building would be built and that they could set a tax rate of up to $1.50 per $100 of valuation.
Since 2015 Kentucky hasn’t used the class system, but Olive Hill never hit that dreamed of Third Class city rate. Instead they stayed a Fourth Class city until moving to a Home Rule city at that time. But Fourth Class or Home Rule, one thing that has never diminished has been the city’s pride.
Editor’s Note: This is the 13th in a series of articles drawn from the historical newspaper clippings in the scrapbooks of Jack Fultz. We thank Sally James of Sally’s Flowers in Olive Hill for sharing her uncle’s collected clippings with us and the community. – Jeremy D. Wells, editor, Carter County Times