A Brief History of Sulligent
Sulligent was first called Elliott named in honor of the chief engineer of the Kansas City-Memphis- Birmingham Railroad, then renamed just one month later as “Sulligent”, in honor of Sullivan, the superintendent of the railroad, and in honor of Sargent, the passenger agent of the railroad. The town was incorporated October 1887. A railroad depot was constructed and replaced twice over the years. Passenger car service existed until around 1965. The establishment of Sulligent along the railroad prompted a mass move of residents, and even some buildings from the town of Moscow, which had been established in 1835 just south of present day Sulligent. Moscow ceased to exist around 1900.
The primary business in Sulligent from the mid 1890’s until the 1950’s was cotton, with over 2500 bales ginned each year and shipped by way of the railroad. At one time Sulligent Cotton Oil Company was known as the largest cotton gin under one roof. This business was established by the Ogden family around 1905.
Due to the large amount of old growth timber in the area, the Kentucky Lumber Company had a large sawmill operation in the Sulligent area from the early 1900’s until around the depression.S. F. Pennington owned the first general store and Dr. R. J. Redden owned the first drugstore. M. A. Cobb, W. W. Ogden, T.S. Noe, and Rush & Company were some of the other early retailers. The Buckalew and Bankhead Hotels were established in the town’s early days to handle train travelers and other visitors to town.
The town’s first bank, The Bank of Sulligent was established in 1905 along front Street.Other well-known retailers over the years have been Maddox Motor Company, Hall Chevrolet, Fine’s Department Store, J.M. Ray’s Store, Western Auto, M.L. Buckley (now B&P Hardware), Lawhon Motor Company, Winton’s Pharmacy, among others.
Sulligent Academy was started shortly after the town’s inception. This school evolved into the current Sulligent High School. Crew Normal College served the higher education needs of the area around the turn of the century. This school was located four miles east of Sulligent in the modern day Crews community. The town was home to Glenn Enterprises, a large textile plant from the 1950’s until the early 1990’s.NACCO Materials Handling Group, a forklift transmission manufacturer came to Sulligent around 1970.Sulligent is currently home to just over 1,900 citizens. It is served by a full time police department and volunteer fire and rescue services.