HARLAN COALFIELD



Marne No. 1 mine at Verda, Kentucky. (Sep. 1946 image from "A Medical Survey of the Bituminous Coal Industry" via the National Archives)


These coal camp houses at Closplint, KY are well preserved. The Clover Splint Coal Company (hence Closplint) constructed this coal town and coal mine in 1926. That is kind of a late date for a coal company town, and it shows in the "enlightened" and "reformed" arrangement of these company houses. Closplint mines were served by the L&N railroad. (Image by others)


Ruins of the U.S. Coal and Coke Co. coal preparation facility in Lynch, KY. U.S. Coal and Coke was a subsidiary of U.S. Steel. All of the coal mined in Lynch by that company went to U.S. Steel's coke ovens in Gary, Indiana, a city on the edge of the Chicago metro area. On the left of this photo is what is probably the blending bins, in the center is what's left of the prep plant, and on the right was the power house and silo. (Jan. 2007 image by author)


When the Lynch preparation plant was built in 1920 a steel structure sit on top of the concrete section. Though the preparation of U.S. Steel's coal was transferred to a newer plant at Corbin in 1955, the Lynch plant continued to serve as a loadout until 1991. (Jan. 2007 image by author)


Lamp house No. 1 and one of the portals for Mine No. 30 at Lynch. The No. 31 portal and Lamp house No. 2 are on the other side of the hollow, and are now tourist attractions. (Jan. 2007 image by author)


This was the bathhouse at Lynch. Interestingly enough, it was originally a racially segregated bathhouse. At the far end of the bathhouse was a section housing the engineering and payroll departments of the coal company. (Jan. 2007 image by author)


The former U.S. Coal and Coke Company store in Lynch. Boarded up windows are probably evidence that bored, misguided kids have nothing better to do than break windows. The high school and grade schools, also made out cut stone, have suffered a similar fate. (Jan. 2007 image by author)


The Lynch company store in all its grandeur when it was booming. (Sep. 1946 image from "A Medical Survey of the Bituminous Coal Industry" via the National Archives)


Still many nice homes built by U.S. Coal and Coke remain in Lynch to this day. Lynch was allegedly the largest coal company town in the nation. Whether or not that was true (the combined Gary, WV camps seem larger to me), it certainly was a major company town. At it's peak 10,000 people called Lynch home. Now there are less than 800 residents in Lynch. So it has lost over 90% of its population. Lynch still has a municipal government, but recent news articles about the town indicated that it was deeply in debt, and the mayor was soliciting donations from former residents to raise funds. Later it was found out that he embezzled more than $100,000 from the town. (Jan. 2007 image by author)


Large company-built homes for the miners in Lynch, KY. (Jan. 2007 image by author)


These two story duplex homes in West Lynch are simalar to the ones in U.S. Steel mining towns in Pennsylvania and McDowell County, West Virginia. (Jan. 2007 image by author)


The sign on a former school building in West Lynch recalls a strange era in American history. (Jan. 2007 image by author)


The former hospital and Resurrection Catholic Church in Lynch. (Jan. 2007 image by author)


U.S. Steel's Thomas Lynch - namesake of the town. (Image from Coal Age magazine)


Even the post office in Lynch was created from cut stone, like the bathhouse, company stores, and schools. I think the company believed that they would be here for 200 years. Once there was a bank in the post office building, but it now seems that most commercial businesses have left Lynch. (Jan. 2007 image by author)


Ancient photo of a coal miner using Ingersoll-Rand equipment in the Lynch coal mine. (Image by others)


Downtown Benham, KY was a coal company town built by Wisconsin Steel Company, which was a subsidiary of International Harvester. Kentucky did not have as many beehive coke ovens as West Virginia or Pennsylvania, but there were once coke ovens at Benham. (Jan. 2007 image by author)


The former company store in Benham, KY is now the Kentucky Coal Mining Museum. (Jan. 2007 image by author)


Some of the coal camp houses in Benham. Wisconsin Steel constructed the town between 1911 and 1919. (Jan. 2007 image by author)


Smaller company built houses in Benham. The Benham mines were still owned and operated by International Harvester in the 1970s, but by the time the mines closed in the 1980s, they were run by Arch of Kentucky. (Jan. 2007 image by author)


Totz, KY coal camp with the blue coal preparation plant in the background. Companies such as Harlan-Cumberland Coal Mining Company and Harlan Central Coal Company have operated the Totz coal mines. (Image by others)


In 1947 Stonega Coal and Coke opened the Glenbrook mine in Harlan County, with the workers living in Virginia in newly constructed houses built by the coal company. In 2007 the Glenbrook prep plant is still in existence. Though it is idle, the guards at the guard shack won't let anyone get by them, forcing photographers to take a picture of the 60 year old coal plant through the trees on the mountain above. (Dec. 2007 image by author)


This is a rare scatter tag from the Glenbrook mine. Scatter tags were mixed in with loads of coal in the mid 20th Century to advertise the coal company or brand name. Here the tag advertises the mine, but some coals had brand names, like Consol's "Cavalier" coal in Jenkins, KY, North West Fuel Company's "Grenadier" coal from Auxier, KY, Island Creek Coal's "Scarlet Flame" coal at Scarlet, WV, and Raleigh Coal and Coke's "Black Knight" coal in Raleigh, WV. In that case, if the coal company used scatter tags (not all did), the brand name of the coal was often printed on the carboard or aluminum tags. (Image by author)


The Glenbrook tipple as it appeared in an ad for Alcoa aluminum siding. (Image by others)


Compact surface arrangement of a tipple and coal company housing at Benito, Kentucky. The row of houses located across the railroad tracks may have been an ethnic neighborhood. (Sep. 1946 image from "A Medical Survey of the Bituminous Coal Industry" via the National Archives)


Benito, KY - coal miners' homes along the tracks. (Sep. 1946 image from "A Medical Survey of the Bituminous Coal Industry" via the National Archives)


Coal mining camp at Brookside, KY. This was a captive mine for Duke Power in North Carolina. Labor struggles at Brookside were the subject of the 1973 film "Harlan County USA." (1973 image from "Harlan County USA")


Slightly less than ideal living conditions at Brookside. These houses were still owned by the coal company and rented to their miners in 1973. Although America had sent men to the moon by then, these homes had no running water. (1973 image from "Harlan County USA")


Coal camp of the Dixie Darby Fuel Company at Lejunior, Kentucky. (Sep. 1946 image from "A Medical Survey of the Bituminous Coal Industry" via the National Archives)


A few remaining coal company-built homes at Kentenia, KY. (Image by others)

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