The 1817 Saddle Factory, which has been restored to its original layout, is perhaps the oldest industrial building in KY. Built by the Caldwell brothers in 1817, the saddle factory used workers, mainly indentured servants and slaves, living on the site to make saddles, bridles, shoes, and a variety of other leather goods. The four story structure includes a basement where the leather products were cured after the tanning process; early KY saddles and primitive tools are on display. The attic, which was home to 30 or more indentured servants and slaves, displays preserved pre-1835 writings on the walls.
The museum features changing exhibits, including the original fish weathervane that is believed to have been shot by the notorious Jesse James Gang in 1868, and photographs/artifacts from Russellville’s rich educational heritage. Tours begin at 280 East 4th Street (Historic Russellville Visitor Center.