Wednesday, October 21, 2015

R.I.P. Dianne O'Brien

Smithland, Kentucky lost a friend recently. Dianne Boswell O'Brien passed away at her home in Paducah Sunday, 18 October 2015. She was 72 years old. Dianne was born in Smithland and even though she had lived in Paducah for many years, she loved Smithland and was involved in many activities there.

I first met Dianne when the new county office building was being planned to replace the old courthouse (built 1845). Dianne was afraid the old courthouse would be destroyed once the new building was occupied. I don't know if the idea originated with Dianne or not, but she was an early proponent of having the courthouse placed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Smithland had a reputation of destroying historic buildings rather than preserving them, but Dianne had a different vision. She saw  the courthouse as a museum and event center for many years to come.

To guarantee the courthouse had a chance at a new life, Dianne felt it necessary to have it listed on the National Register. It was not an easy process and, at times, it appeared it would not be successful, but, in 2011, the Livingston County Courthouse was placed on the National Register.   I am not sure it would have happened without the encouragement and leadership of Dianne O'Brien.

Rest in Peace, Dianne, and thank you.

Published 21 October 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

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