Whitesburg KY

The way we were

Clips from Mountain Eagle front pages over the past 50 years



July 12, 1962

During a downpour of rain, Otis Morgan, 43, a welldriller and a member of a large and well-known family, was killed July 7 by the local L&N freight rain. The accident occurred at 1:11 p.m., while Morgan was sitting on a cross tie when the train approached around a sharp curve.


Letcher Circuit Judge J.L. Hayes commented on the improvement in cleanliness of the county jail and the courthouse since January. He remarked that he no longer is ashamed of the courthouse and no longer felt it was so dirty that he should wipe his feet when he left it.


The City of Whitesburg is taking bids on a new fire truck, to be bought with proceeds from the new city auto tax stickers.

July 13, 1972

Not much is expected to happen in Letcher County over the next year, with both population and jobs continuing at their present level. That is the overall conclusion in a 127- page comprehensive development plan and initial housing element for Letcher County, prepared by W. Booker Associates of Lexington. The plan is the first step in a series of projected actions which could control future land use and development in the county and could include such programs as public housing, utility development and local control of strip mining.

The Booker study estimates that Letcher County’s population will be 23,300 in 2980 and 23,430 in 2990. It points out that the only population group that is growing in Letcher County is residents more than 50 years old.

The study says that more than 400 new jobs will be needed to stop outmigration of young adults. It sees a need from strong laws to regulate strip-mine operations. It says the damage from strip mining is an economic cost to the county and could make unsuitable for future use.

The study predicts a continuing decline in farming, once the mainstay of the county’s life.

The plan proposes during the next three years the county apply for and construct 160 more units of public housing; begin urban renewal projects in Jenkins; create a new city which would include the present populations of Fleming- Neon, McRoberts, Hemphill and Haymond; and begin construction of a county-wide water system.

July 15, 1982

Employees at Scotia Coal Company went on strike when their contract expired at midnight Tuesday, marking the first time in several years the employees had walked out over a contract dispute.


U.S. Tom Daschle of South Dakota is telling his urban colleagues in Congress that agriculture in America is in a depression. “We have not seen a situation similar to this since 1933,” he says.


Oaksie Caudill of Blackey, who has made woven oak baskets for almost 20 years, says he plans to retire in a few weeks. Caudill said it takes two and a half days to make one basket.


Letcher County will receive $299,409 for rural road maintenance in the coming year.

July 15, 1992

More accidents occurred on US 119 and KY 7 than on any other roads in Letcher County, according to a Kentucky State Police survey. Surprising, the number of accidents on KY 1862, the Thornton-Camp Branch Road, matched the number on KY 15, the county’s largest and busiest road.


One of every six Kentucky babies born in 1990 had a teenage mother. The year was the last for which figures were available.


Chances for a water system to serve Blackey citizens are looking better.

July 17, 2002

About 30 students in the Letcher County School District will be going to different schools this year unless their parents want to drive them to school. The Letcher County Board of Education approved new transport routes on July 11, moving some places into areas served by different schools last year.


Gwen Christon, owner of Isom IGA, has been chosen as state and regional winner of the 2002 Minority Small Business Advocate of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.


Contractors are scheduled to begin cutting trees this week in preparation for major improvements to U.S. Highway 119 on Pine Mountain.


A day after the Letcher Fiscal Court gave its approval for the City of Whitesburg to lay water lines along county rights-of-way in Mayking, construction of the lines began.

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