District 3 – Director Rick Thomas
One of the most rapidly developing residential areas in Hardin County lies in Nolin RECC’s District 3. Near the St. John Road end of Hayden School Road is the Ashton Park Neighborhood. Once dotted sparsely with a few houses, there are now several cul-de-sacs full of new homes, with more on the way, and a connector road that ties both entrances to the neighborhood together.
Long before these homes were built, however, this part of Hardin County was acres of quiet farmland. Owned by Hubert and Virginia Donaldson before the early 1970’s, the land that is the current Ashton Park Neighborhood became the home of the Robert Coakley family in 1971. Both originally from Hardin County, Robert and Dorothy Coakley settled on the farm to raise their family not far from where both were born.
Robert was born in 1926 around Youngers Creek and Dorothy was born the same year in the Rineyville area. They married and lived most of their lives together in Hardin County. Robert worked as a pharmacist in the area for 50 years and was a co-owner of Radcliff Drugs. Robert passed away in 2013.
Dorothy remembers her early years being raised with her siblings in a log house and walking to a one room school. In a time before electricity came to the area, she recalls her mother cooking on a wood stove and keeping items stored in a spring house to keep them cool.
The Coakleys built their family’s home on their 106 acres along Hayden School Road around 1971-72. That house is still standing today across from the Elizabethtown Airport. Robert and Dorothy lived there with their 3 children and welcomed their grandchildren in the home as well. Also still present today behind the house is the pond that held so many memories for the family through the years. Dorothy remembers fondly the times the family spent at the pond fishing, canoeing and using their paddleboat. They even had the chance to ice skate when the winter was cold enough.
After 30 years, the Coakleys decided it was time to move and sold the property in 2002. Developers bought the land and would eventually begin what is now a sprawling neighborhood of single-family homes.
Dorothy still lives in Hardin County and loves to garden. She is a charter member of the local garden club and her home will be featured on the upcoming spring garden tour. Her daughter resides in England with her family, and her son, Bob, runs a local bicycle business located on South Mulberry in Elizabethtown.
As for their farm, new memories are being made by the families living in the homes popping up in the cul-de-sacs of the young and flourishing neighborhood.