Story by SLICK TRACY. Slick Tracy is known as the Hotel Detective and Food Sleuth, seeking out the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in travel.
The Prizing House in Cynthiana, Kentucky is a unique place. Actually, Cynthiana is a unique place. Like many small towns across the United States, Cynthiana is the County Seat of Harrison County. It is probably best known as the factory home of 3M's yellow Post-It Notes.
The town of about 6,000 residents did not have any type of large facility for hosting special events or gatherings. The Gossett's had purchased an old building to be used as storage. During the cleaning process, the uniqueness of the building became apparent. Without any type of official business plan, other than discussions between the Gossett's and their daughter, the old building, originally built as a 'Prizing House', was turned into a special and unusual destination site.
So what is a Prizing House? The term originated with tobacco farming, which is quite abundant in Kentucky. A Prizing House was the term applied to a warehouse, building, or other large space where tobacco was gathered. This occurred after the cutting, drying, stripping, grading, and auction sales. The farmers, having sold their crops, would now leave the leaves in the hands of the tobacco companies. The companies would move their recent purchases to the company's Prizing House where the tobacco leaves were 'prized' or pressed into a bundle referred to as a 'hogsheads.' The hogsheads were regulated by the tobacco industry as to standards sizes and structures, so that the whole bundle could easily be viewed and examined before transportation elsewhere. In today's marketplace, almost all cured tobacco is now baled under a pre-sold contact.
One of the large companies, Liggett & Myers, built their own Prizing House in Cynthiana, so it would be convenient and close to the tobacco farmers in the area. They are best known for their L&M cigarette brand. The year was 1917 and it stayed in use for many, many years. After Liggett & Myers abandoned the building, it was used briefly by the 3M company and others as warehouse space.
The Gossett family have restored the building, restoring the name 'Prizing House' as well, and it has become a showcase for the community. The exterior is all-brick. The interior displays tall pillars, beautiful thick rafters, large chandeliers, and the original flooring.
Over 5,000 square feet of space is offered and available at the Prizing House. It can be configured to the needs and wants of almost any group, including wedding receptions, office parties, reunions, and business events. Gourmet catering is offered for on-site events as well as off-site.
In addition to the 1917 tobacco Prizing House, there are two historic churches in Cynthiana. The original Endecott Meeting House was renamed as the Indian Creek Baptist Church and was built in 1790. It remained in service until 1965. The newer historic church is the Indian Creek Christian Church, which was built in 1908. It claims itself as the 'oldest independent Christian Church of the American Revolution Movement.'
The town was named after the two daughters of Robert Harrison, donor of the land for much of the original settlement. The two daughters were Cynthia and Anna. Two Civil War battles were fought in the town both led by Confederate General John Hunt Morgan. In July 1862, General Morgan encountered resistance when he led a raid into Kentucky. In June 1864, he attempted another raid and was defeated.
The Prizing House in Cynthiana is conveniently located near Georgetown, Carlisle, Lexington, Paris, Falmouth, and other Kentucky towns. The historic event facility is located at 329 South Church Street, Cynthiana, Kentucky 41031. They can be reached at 859-588-4722 or visit them on-line at www.ThePrizingHouse.com