Whitesburg KY

The way we were

Clips from Mountain Eagle front pages over the past 50 years



July 16, 1959

The Letcher Fiscal Court approved a new budget for the county Tuesday, then voted to borrow $52,000 from the Bank of Whitesburg to pay current bills, some of them several months old.

The July grand jury wants Letcher County to tear down the jail and start all over again. In its final report, made this week, the jury recommended condemnation of the jail building.

Letcher County citizens will gather Friday night at a banquet to honor Miss Carol Fairchild Brown of Whitesburg, now reigning as “Miss Kentucky of 1959.”

Ground beef is 49 cents a pound at the A&P food store. Spare ribs are also 49 cents a pound.

July 17, 1969

The state has agreed to pay $271,558 for Lilley’s Woods to the four surviving sons of Lilley Cornett, who throughout his life refused to let his land be timbered. As a result, it is the only major tract left in Eastern Kentucky still in the same wild state found by the first white settlers more than 200 years ago.

Beth-Elkhorn Coal Company reportedly will announce within a few days — possibly early next week — the name of the surface-mining operator with which it has contracted to auger 7,000,000 tons of coal in Letcher County.

July 19, 1979

A water tank above Jenkins ruptured Sunday evening and sent more than 300,000 gallons of water rushing down the mountainside. The water destroyed two homes and a grocery at the junction of U.S. 23 and KY 805 and killed Dr. T.M. Perry as it carried his home off its foundations and 200 feet down the mountainside.

Strikes or threats of strikes affected Letcher County firms this week. Employees of South East Coal Co., a non-union mine, are threatening to strike Sunday in protest of the company’s cutback in health insurance benefits and cancellation of life insurance policies. Employees of Scotia Coal Co. went on strike at midnight Sunday after rejecting a new contract offered by the company, but then returned to work after the company objected to the strike. Approximately 90 United Steel Workers were back on the job in Jenkins Monday, following a two-week strike at Adams Corp.

Two suits have been filed against Golden Oak Mining Co. of Colson alleging that the company damaged four homes and two tracts of land by negligently discharging explosives near Indian Creek of Rockhouse in Letcher County.

July 19, 1989

A new citizens’ group wants to make one thing perfectly clear: It wants no dams in Letcher County. Several of the group plan to hand-deliver that message to Lexington’s Kentucky River Steering Committee later this month.

State and federal money has been appropriated to help some Letcher Countians whose property was damaged by flooding. However the disaster relief won’t be available to residents of the Cram Creek, Pine Creek and Bottom Fork sections, despite the heavy damage those areas received in late April.

Late afternoon traffic was blocked for about 45 minutes in Whitesburg while workers cleaned up a gasoline spill on Bentley Avenue. Fire Chief Roy Benge said a tank truck belong to Childers Oil was filling up the gasoline tanks at Fields Gulf when the truck’s pipes began to leak.

July 21, 1999

Judge/Executive Carroll Smith says he would be willing to reintroduce his proposal for a $7.50 minimum wage as early as next month if one of the three magistrates who voted the measure down last week decides to support it.

Workers last week finished installing 33 signs around Fishpond Lake as part of a self-guided nature walk around the county park.

Eighty-eight-year-old Bud Tolliver of Colson grows a large garden every year and does most of the work himself after the initial plowing. His gardening tools are two tillers and a hoe.

Most property owners along the Little Shepherd Trail say they aren’t willing to sell their land to allow the state to widen the trail to two lanes, according to a feasibility study on the proposal.

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