Several years ago, Larry and Rosemary Conder were walking along Smothers Park, near the gazebo and old oak trees. Though many before them had made the same trek, and countless others were sure to do so after them, the Conders’ walk that day was significant for Downtown Owensboro in a way that no one could have imagined. It was during that walk that the Conders decided to look at investing more of their time and money into their community, specifically Downtown. While they have gone on to purchase, renovate, and rebuild several properties Downtown, it all started with the building at 107 East Second Street – the building that would become “The CROWNE at 107.” In addition to its aesthetic appeal, the CROWNE’s significance lies in its distinction as one of the first and most recognizable renovations in what has become a complete transformation of Downtown Owensboro.
While the CROWNE’s exterior certainly attracts attention, few would guess that it houses a 16-seat theater upstairs. On the interior, the CROWNE also boasts an antebellum archway, beautiful antique fretwork, and a huge stained glass window in the bar area of the mezzanine. With all of these features and a large upstairs living suite, the Conders, and Puckett before them, utilized the location for hosting parties and events. Since the Conders acquired the CROWNE, it has also been used by the community for everything from showers to weddings, birthday parties from age two to eighty-two, anniversary celebrations, business meetings, private parties, rehearsal dinners and charity events.
Though some of the Conders’ subsequent Downtown projects have been more sizable, none quite compare to the CROWNE with respect to its significance in the narrative of Downtown Owensboro’s renovation.
The Conders purchased the building, which was constructed circa 1887, in 2006. According to Rosemary Conder, the beautiful old structure was saved from ruin by the late Bob Puckett. In fact, the Conders named the building “the CROWNE” in Puckett’s honor. “Bob had a passion for antiques and entertaining, and used the building to showcase both! We hear he often was referred to as ‘the King’ and there is crown decor throughout!”