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LYNCH, KY


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)

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