Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Larry R. Mayfield, February 27, 1998

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:07 - Banking industry / Urban and economic growth in Owensboro, Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: --name is Lee Dew, it's February 27th, 1998, and I'm talking to Larry Mayfield.

Segment Synopsis: Mayfield talks about how the banking industry has changed in Owensboro, Kentucky and how the growth of Owensboro is being fueled by economic growth and a unified vision of key players promoting infrastructure expansion and improvement.

Keywords: Banking industry; Central Trust Company; Changes; Construction; Credit unions; Demand; Earnings; Economic growth; Employment; Expansion; Indiana; Infrastructure; Loans; Locally owned banks; Mayors; Visions

Subjects: Banks and banking.; Business enterprises.; Communities; Economic development; Historic buildings.; Historic preservation.; Money.; National City Corporation; Owensboro (Ky.)

00:07:40 - Growing up in Owensboro

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Partial Transcript: Tell me a little bit about, uh--(cough)--about Larry Mayfield.

Segment Synopsis: Mayfield gives some biographical information about growing up and attending school in Owensboro. He talks about working in the community during his childhood and how a strong work ethic was instilled in him by his parents.

Keywords: Bank presidents; CEOs; Carrying groceries; Changes; Growing up; Mowing lawns; National City banks; Work

Subjects: Chief executive officers.; Communities; Education; General Electric Company; Kentucky Wesleyan College; National City Corporation; Owensboro (Ky.); Parents; Work ethic

00:10:10 - General Electric Company restructure / Getting a job at Central Trust Bank / Industries in Owensboro today

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Partial Transcript: You, uh, worked at G.E. at the time of the great G.E. expansion then?

Segment Synopsis: Mayfield talks about how he ended up being employed by Central Trust Bank because of missing out on a job at General Electric due to restructuring. He also talks about how the community today has settled on a model which aims for small or medium sized industry because Owensboro cannot support the employment numbers for any major industries.

Keywords: Central Trust Company; College degrees; Facilities consolidation; Factory plants; G.E. expansion; G.E. restructuring; General Electric (GE); Graduate schools; Janitors; Jobs; Major industries; Marketing; Vacuum tube production; Work

Subjects: Banks and banking.; Communities; Employment; General Electric Company.; Owensboro (Ky.); Recessions; Vacuum-tubes

00:15:45 - Leaders of Owensboro in the 1960s

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Partial Transcript: Looking back at, uh, at this period of the, of the '60s, uh, uh, who, uh, who do you see as the real movers and shakers of, uh, of that era in Owensboro?

Segment Synopsis: Mayfield lists some of the people that he recalls as being influential in the Owensboro community during the 1960s. He remembers everyone being mostly friendly with one another but recounts a story about the owner of the newspaper and the owner of the radio station having a competitive relationship over control of news media.

Keywords: Competitions; News media; Newspapers; Politics; Radio station; Rumors; Stories

Subjects: Communities; Leaders; Owensboro (Ky.)

00:20:00 - Owensboro urban renewal controversy of 1964

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Partial Transcript: I can't help--we're talking about the, the, the 1964 era, I can't help but think of the, uh, of the, uh, the great, uh, urban renewal controversy of that time.

Segment Synopsis: Mayfield talks about the 1964 urban renewal controversy in Owensboro, how politically heated the controversy was, and how it failing to pass resulted in a lot of missed opportunities for the community.

Keywords: Highways; Politics; Urban renewal controversy of 1964; Vote failed

Subjects: Communities; Owensboro (Ky.); Urban development.; Urban renewal

00:23:25 - Economic changes in Owensboro

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Partial Transcript: Looking at the, the economic changes that have taken place over the last fifty years and the, the tremendous changes in, in, uh, uh, the, uh, way Owensboro-ians make their living and spend their money, what do you think is the, is, uh--do you see anything that's unique about this community in terms of its economic, uh, growth and development?

Segment Synopsis: Mayfield talks about the economic problems that Owensboro has faced in the past, with most young people avoiding the community due to no job availability producing acceptable income levels. He explains how this has been changing in the past five years, as the community leaders are recruiting more industry, but comments that there are still issues with pay rates and recruitment.

Keywords: Chamber of commerce; Income levels; Industry recruitment; Jobs for young people; Pay rates; Pinkerton Tobacco Company

Subjects: Communities; Economic development; Industries.; Owensboro (Ky.)

00:30:07 - Divided opinions on community investment / RiverPark Center

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Partial Transcript: Earlier you made the statement that, uh, that we're united in our economic efforts, uh, and yet politically we are, we are far from being united.

Segment Synopsis: Mayfield talks about the community divide between those who support the growth of Owensboro and those who disagree with economic investment for future benefit. He specifically discusses the RiverPark Center as an example of a great community asset, but how many local people do not see the benefits received from having it in their community.

Keywords: Beauty contests; Chamber of commerce; Local politics; NASCAR; Quality of life; RiverPark Center

Subjects: Communities; Education; Industries; Owensboro (Ky.); School children

GPS: RiverPark Center in Owensboro (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.775577300, -87.109501100
00:38:56 - Philanthropy in Owensboro

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Partial Transcript: What's your take on, on Owensboro as, as a, as a philanthropic community?

Segment Synopsis: Mayfield expresses how he feels Owensboro is a very generous community but not all those who are economically able are giving back.

Keywords: Donors; Generous; Giving back

Subjects: Communities; Money.; Owensboro (Ky.); Philanthropy and society

00:40:21 - City and county government merger controversy

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Partial Transcript: Probably one of the most traumatic events in recent history in, in, uh, Owensboro and Daviess County was the, the merger controversy.

Segment Synopsis: Mayfield explains the issues surrounding the controversy of a city/county merger. He expresses his own opinion that the current separation of city and county results in what he considers to be a double taxation system, and that if they were merged it would result in great benefits for the community.

Keywords: 911; Benefits; Chamber of commerce; City taxes; City-county mergers; County taxes; Double taxation; Farmers; Government mergers; Hospitals; Merger controversy; Politicians

Subjects: Communities; Daviess County (Ky.); Economic development; Local government; Owensboro (Ky.); Schools; Taxation

00:46:17 - Rise of the Republican Party in Daviess County, Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: One of the big political events of your tenure in this building has been the rise of the Republican Party in Daviess County.

Segment Synopsis: Mayfield talks about the shift in Daviess County from a Democratic Party stronghold to Republican, and explains that he thinks this is due to the Democratic Party not being active enough in bringing positive benefits and changes to the community.

Keywords: Leadership; Mayors; Politics; Presidential elections

Subjects: Abortion--Political aspects--United States.; Communities; Daviess County (Ky.); Democratic Party (Ky.); Politicians; Republican Party (Ky.)

00:52:28 - The business of religion and churches in Daviess County

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Partial Transcript: But this is a, a strong church community.

Segment Synopsis: Mayfield talks about the importance of religion in Daviess County and how it is a capital intensive industry.

Keywords: Entertainment; Loans

Subjects: Abortion--Political aspects--United States.; Church; Daviess County (Ky.); Industries.; Religion

00:54:24 - Environmental consciousness and industry in Owensboro

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Partial Transcript: One issue that, uh, I am personally involved in and always--because my wife is so identified with this issue I hesitate to ask it for fear that I might seem subjective, but then I've been so subjective on everything else it probably doesn't matter, is the, the current controversies over environmental regulations.

Segment Synopsis: Mayfield talks about how in the last year Owensboro has really become a very environmentally conscious community in terms of industry.

Keywords: Environmental regulations; Environmentally friendly; Environments

Subjects: AK Steel Company; Communities; Daviess County (Ky.); Economic development; Environmental issues; Industries.; Owensboro (Ky.)

00:58:24 - Recruitment of AK Steel Company

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Partial Transcript: As you recall, Dave, uh, at the Chamber took a lot of flak when we joined hands with, um, Southern Indiana in, uh, recruiting AK Steel to Rockport area.

Segment Synopsis: Mayfield talks about the positive gains associated with the Owensboro Chamber of Commerce's involvement in the AK Steel Company establishing itself in Rockport, Indiana, and how there were many who criticized this assistance.

Keywords: Chamber of commerce; Industrial development; Industrial parks; Land; Perfect Patterns; Regions; Satellite operations; Schools; YMCA

Subjects: AK Steel Company; Industries.; Owensboro (Ky.); Rockport (Ind.)

01:01:04 - His role models

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Partial Transcript: Larry, we've talked a lot about Owensboro and, and its pluses and minuses from your perspective.

Segment Synopsis: Mayfield lists several people who he considers as most influential to him from Owensboro, including his parents, a former mayor, and his old boss.

Keywords: Coaches; Heroes; Leaders; Ministers; Professors

Subjects: Banks and banking.; Owensboro (Ky.); Parents; Role models

01:04:02 - Hopes for the future of Owensboro

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Partial Transcript: What's, what's the--your number one wish for the future of your city?

Segment Synopsis: Mayfield explains that he would like to see a new, young leader in Owensboro to encourage growth and community unity, as well as continuing the focus on the Western Kentucky region as a whole.

Keywords: Future; Leaders; Politics; Unity; Western Kentucky; Young people

Subjects: Communities; Kentucky; Owensboro (Ky.)