Upon the creation of our Explorations section of Explore Kentucky Lake back in 2002 (which has evolved to this standalone site, Four Rivers Explorer), I had no idea at the time that this partially-removed railroad bridge and the “big building in the middle of Kentucky Lake” were related. So at that time, I did two different articles, only later realizing that these two structures are related.
In 1901, William White had a problem. He wanted to bring a railroad to Cadiz, Kentucky from nearby Gracey to help transport tobacco and other freight across the area. Gracey had nice rail lines served by the Illinois Central and the Louisville and Nashville. Connecting Cadiz to Gracey would benefit the citizens of this Trigg County seat immensely.
Dexter is an unincorporated community in northern Calloway County. It is a “census-designated place” and has a population of 277 people as of 2010. The town features a few streets on a grid and was once incorporated.
History of Dexter
Similar to the nearby towns of Almo, Hardin and Hazel, Dexter was originally a railroad camp when the Paducah Tennessee and Alabama Railroad was building a line through Calloway County in 1890. Sam M. Jones, the landowner at the future site of Dexter, donated the right of way for the tracks and the site for the station on condition that he name it Dexter. He chose the name after Dexter, Mo, which at that time was a thriving railroad town. Several of Jones’ friends and neighbors were given employment in the Missouri town, so he decided to honor it by naming the station Dexter.
A post office was established on December 19, 1890 with General Buford Williams the first postmaster.
The railroad was abandoned with the tracks pulled in August 2009 (see photo below).
At some point after 1960, Dexter became unincorporated.
This photo shows the Dexter station and railroad from the early 20th century. Thanks to Michael Hale for sharing.
Location of Dexter
The community is located just to the east of US 641, about seven miles north of Murray. This map from 1936 shows Dexter.
Present day Dexter, Kentucky on Google Maps:
In 2010, the US Census Bureau shows Dexter, an “census-designated place”, having a population of 277.
If you have any information or photos you’d like to share about Dexter, please contact us. Some information was provided by the book Kentucky Place Names.
The Hardin Southern Railroad was a nostalgic passenger train that ran along about eight miles of track between Hardin and Murray, Ky. The railroad wound its way along the Clark’s River valley through dense forests and farmland. The train began operations in 1993 and ceased in 2004.