The Joplin Hotel, constructed on this site before 1862, was the second brick building
in Rockcastle County, the first to have a tin roof, and the home of the county's
first telegraph office at the beginning of the Civil War. By 1908, the former Joplin Brick
Hotel had become a business house owned by the Cox family. The basement was shared
by two businesses- Hysinger & Livesay (a restaurant and grocer) and S.B.Ramsey's
Butcher Shop. The first floor was shared by Robert Cox (general merchandise), Claude
Cox (furniture), and W. A. Cox (undertaker). The second floor was used by Dr. D.B.
Approximately 5:00 o'clock a.m. on Saturday, November 21, 1908 a fire broke out in
the basement. The fire completely destroyed the old hotel building. The Cox family
began construction of the present building almost immediately following the fire. The
contractor of the new building was R.H.Casey and the cast iron façade was
manufactured by G.L.Meeker & Co. of Evansville, Indiana. The current building opened
for business during the summer of 1909.
Claude Cox would eventually buy out his brothers and operate the Business as C.C.
Cox Hardware. His son, John, would join him in the business following World War II.
Cox Hardware would eventually pass on to Claude's grandson, Jim Cox and his wife
Martha. The business was a landmark in Mount Vernon until it's closing in February of