Museum & Park
Bobby Davis Museum & Park
Hazard, KY 41701
Mon.-Fri. 8:00a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Director: Martha Quigley
The Bobby Davis Museum opened in 1984 relates the history of Hazard and Perry County from its founding in 1821 through the early 1900s with exhibits, photographs, and archives. A museum store offers books, items relevant to local history, art work, and compact disks for sale. The building is surrounded by a four acre urban forest with an herb garden, scenic walking paths, and picnic areas.
After Bobby Davis was tragically killed in 1945 at the end World War II, his father, Lawrence O. Davis, wanted to build a "living memorial" to his son and all the other young men who had also died. He expended his own and additional funds from other citizens of Hazard and Perry County to build a park that when completed was visited by thousands of people every summer.
A swimming pool and bathhouse, tennis court, two large picnic areas, a rose garden and a greenhouse was a great local attraction for several years. The central purpose for the park--the war memorial--was beautifully executed in an immaculate reflecting pool surrounded by azalea bushes. Many childhood memories were made for Hazard residents in the woodland and carefully tended gardens.
Late in the 1950s the City of Hazard elected not to fill the pool when larger and better equipped swimming pools were built around the community. After the late 1950s and 1960s when the park was somewhat neglected the Perry County Garden Club began plans for revitalization. Other individuals and organizations in the community pitched in to clean and restore the park in the early 1970s.
The Hazard Church Community Kindergarten renovated the interior of the library building and occupied the building from September 1972 until the spring of 1975. Outdoor play equipment was installed by the City Recreation Department. By 1973 the old swimming pool was filled in with concrete providing an additional recreation area. When fire destroyed Hazard City Hall the Bobby Davis Library served as a temporary site of the city development center.
At this time the park was used by several other organizations with youth centered activities. For several years the City allowed the park facilities to be utilized by the Wilderness Road Girl Scout Council.
Late in 1983 restoration began in the Bobby Davis Memorial Park to fulfill another dream for the stone building, and that was to fill it with artifacts and photographs depicting the history of Hazard and Perry County. Mr. Davis with the help of W. R. Hall established Perry County’s first local history museum.
In August 1984 the City of Hazard Officially dedicated the Bobby Davis Museum and Park. This had been the dream of Lawrence Davis as he had inscribed on the plaque located outside the main door which states:
"This library, museum and park was built and given to the people of Perry County by Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence O. Davis in memory of their only son Robert Oren Davis killed in Germany July 13, 1945 "
On December 18, 1992 the building was gutted by fire. The determined Mayor of Hazard, Bill Gorman, immediately initiated construction of a new and better museum building, and by August 1993 the structure was ready for dedication.
In addition to exhibits and displays built after the fire, the museum houses a library and archives containing photographs, historical documents, oral history tapes, artifact collections, and a museum store. The serenity of the park outside is evident in the waterfall on the plaza in front of the building. A citizen committee maintains an herb garden.
Activities during the summers of 2006 to the present day reflect the time when the park was first built. Events such as Summer in the Park, the Heritage Herb Festival and several weddings, showers, and picnics have restored the original vitality of the Park.
Bobby Davis Park may be rented out for parties and events. Starting January 2013, there will be a $100 rental charge.