M.A. Hadley History
Hand-crafted Pottery Since 1940
Owing to the abundance of ancient clay deposits in the region, Louisville has been a center of pottery-making for generations. Out of this proud tradition, Mary Alice Hadley established one of Louisville’s most iconic and well-known potteries. The story begins in the early 1900’s. Mary Alice Hadley was born into a family of clay tile makers where her knowledge of working with clay first developed. Exhibiting an early interest in art and design, she ultimately became a widely recognized painter, winning numerous awards and acclaim from New York to Los Angeles.
By the late 1930’s Mary Alice Hadley began melding her artistic talent with her knowledge of clay ware. In 1939, Mrs. Hadley made dishes for her houseboat on the Ohio River. The creative result was a set of a custom dishes that caused such a stir among her friends and acquaintances that the idea for a business was born. Supplying those early requests provided wide circulation for her hand-crafted pottery and soon orders began to arrive from across the country. With the help of her husband, George, the Hadley Pottery Company was formed early in 1940.
In 1944, George Hadley purchased a building in the Butchertown area of Louisville as a birthday present for Mary Alice. The building, constructed in 1848, has been home to a wool mill, a candle factory and a cordage mill and for 65 years has served as the production location, factory salesroom and offices of Hadley Pottery Company. Many pieces of original art created by Mary Alice Hadley are still on display at the historic structure on Story Avenue, including several wall murals all hand-painted by Mary Alice herself.
The business prospered, attracting collectors from across the nation and around the world. The warm and whimsical designs that Mary Alice Hadley created have attracted multitudes of fans over the last 70 years and are still finding their way into the hearts of new Hadley Pottery enthusiasts every day. She worked at the Pottery until her death in 1965. George Hadley continued to run the business until it was sold in 1979 to Louisville natives, Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth W. Moore. In September 2009, new partners joined the Hadley Pottery ownership group, but operations remain largely the same as they were when the company was started. The creative inspiration that Mary Alice Hadley brought to the ware still lives today.