Whitesburg KY
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The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1908


These photographs, apparently taken in the late 1930’s, show a couple of different views of downtown Whitesburg after heavy snowfall. The photo at top was taken by late Whitesburg barber Milburn Polly from East Main Street. The photo at bottom was taken at the corner of Webb Avenue and West Main Street and shows a lot that was occupied for many years by service stations before the expansion of what is now the Community Trust Bank building.

These photographs, apparently taken in the late 1930’s, show a couple of different views of downtown Whitesburg after heavy snowfall. The photo at top was taken by late Whitesburg barber Milburn Polly from East Main Street. The photo at bottom was taken at the corner of Webb Avenue and West Main Street and shows a lot that was occupied for many years by service stations before the expansion of what is now the Community Trust Bank building.

February 1, 1923

Friday evening near Ice an L&N Railroad motorcar on which were Supervisor Sudduth, Pat Logan and another man, was wrecked. Sudduth was probably fatally injured and the others seriously hurt. It is said the car struck a hog and was knocked from the track.

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Coal operators tell The Mountain Eagle that the month of January showed the best in the coal mining business for many months. Almost twice the number of cars of any month lately have come into the field and been loaded. Coal men are anticipating other improvements in the industry.

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For a valuable consideration, Esq. Jas. T. Whitaker bought the S.P. Jenkins hotel property in Blackey and will rent same for the accommodation of the traveling public.

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In her seventy-seventh year, surrounded by six of her eight grown children [including Mountain Eagle editor and publisher Nehemiah Webb] and other friends, Mrs. Ludemia Webb, for nineteen years the widow of Jason L. Webb, at the old homeplace at Sergent, passed from earth to the home toward which her hopes had been fixed for many years.

 

 

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A citizen from Cumberland was in town [Whitesburg] last week and filed his application with the Town Board of Trustees for the privilege of running a ferryboat from the depot to the hotel during the winter months ensuing.

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Dave Hays will sell 1,000 fine plum trees, large enough to bear, from the Wat Long fruit farm.

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Arch C. Craft Sr., progressive merchant and farmer, was down from Craftsville.

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The Mayking High School Wildcats defeated Whitesburg High by a score of 29 to 13.

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Public notice advertising shows that on February 5, more than 100 tracts of land will be sold at the Courthouse Door by Letcher County Sheriff James Combs. The sales are necessary to satisfy the amount of taxes due on the properties. [One-hundred acres at Bottom Fork, for example, was being sold because the owner owed $31.51 in taxes. Two acres were sold on Rockhouse Creek because the owner owed $6.37.]

February 4, 1943

Rev. Bolt came from Harlan to speak to a large audience at the Courthouse on Sunday at 3 p.m. in the interest of liquor control. A local organization was formed to fight the liquor evil in Letcher County.

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Letcher and surrounding counties were shocked and saddened around the middle of last week when word came that young Doyle Hogg, ex-sheriff of our county, had only a slim chance to recover from a short illness. Doyle passed away Sunday at the Jenkins Hospital about the hour of 2 a.m. The cause of his death was attributed to uremic poisoning combined with double pneumonia.

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Bus lines operating out of Hazard and Jenkins still remain idle after a strike that has now been going on for two weeks or more. However, the bus from Whitesburg to Harlan is running as usual.

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Since newsprint has been rationed this year [because of World War II] and more rationing will probably follow, we will be forced to reduce our paper to six pages, and probably four. We are asking correspondents to write their news as briefly as possible, sending in only the most interesting items.

February 5, 1953

Many citizens of Neon have been jubilant recently since Dr. B.F. Wright announced his intention of moving his hospital now located at Seco to the Cumberland Hotel building on Main Street of Neon. The maternity ward now operated at Dr. Wright’s home will also be moved to the new location, where ample space is to be provided by building owners Owen and Benton Wright.

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According to a member of the Whitesburg Park Commission, the deeds have been received from the L&N Railroad Company for the property adjacent to the Whitesburg Ball Park for the sum of $2,500, including three houses and approximately three acres of land. Mr. R.P. Price, spokesman for the Park, stated that plans for the new recreation area will be executed as speedily as possible and it is hoped construction work will be well underway by spring. Other members of the Park Commission are V.D. Picklesimer and Joe Romeo.

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The Mountain Eagle has been informed that Whitesburg’s new radio station [WTCW] will soon be in operation. The block work on the studio at Mayking has been completed and tests are expected to be made within the next week or so.

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It has been rumored for quite some time that Mr. James M. Caudill, well-known Neon businessman, would be a Democrat candidate for county judge. This rumor was confirmed this week when Mr. Caudill make a statement to the county paper that his official announcement would be made to the people of Letcher County in the not too distant future. Byron Hunsucker stated this week he would probably seek the Republican nomination for county judge.

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Herman Combs announces he will seek the nomination to the office of Letcher County Sheriff in the Republican Primary on August 1, 1953. On the Democrat side, Harve Hall announces his withdrawal from the sheriff ’s race, but says he will always be interested in good government and the betterment of Letcher County.

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Robinson Motor Sales of Neon is advertising the arrival of the ’53 Henry J, which is being hailed as America’s lowestpriced, full-size automobile at $1,499. The car is said to deliver up to 30 miles on a gallon of gas. Robinson Motors is a Kaiser-Frazer dealer.

February 7, 1963

Neon residents killed a rabid fox in the downtown area and city officials declared quarantine on all dogs. Mayor Nicey Hazen said city police would shoot any dog found loose. State law requires each county to have a dog warden and a dog pound and to enforce the law requiring dogs to be vaccinated against rabies and to have licenses, but Letcher County is making no effort to comply.

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Repairs are being made to a South East Coal Co. head house at Millstone, which was damaged by an explosion. Company officials said they believe some former employees may have thrown a case of dynamite at the structure. United Mine Workers of America members have been picketing the South East mine since the company canceled its contracts with the union and began using non-union workers.

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City councils of Neon and Fleming gave first reading and preliminary passage of an ordinance, which will permit merger of the two towns.

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The second in a series of discussions on “Brave New World,” a novel by Aldous Huxley, will be held at the Letcher County Public Library in Whitesburg.

February 8, 1973

The livelihood of some 1,500 in Leslie, Letcher, Knott and Perry counties is threatened by cuts in the national budget proposed by the Nixon administration. The families receive their incomes from a variety of anti-poverty programs financed by the federal Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) through the Leslie, Knott, Letcher, Perry Community Action Council. President Nixon’s budget does not include any community action funds after next June 30.

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Letcher County Sheriff Lewis Hall has changed the locks on his office door and has refused to have anything to do with the county’s new police force. He declined to accept phone calls for the policemen and said he is not going to cooperate with them. County Judge Robert B. Collins said new federal funds will pay for the policemen and the fiscal court does not plan to replace the sheriff ’s force with them but will supplement the sheriff ’s officers.

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The federal Appalachian Regional Commission is one of the few pieces of the Kennedy-Johnson era social legislation to survive the 1974 Nixon budget.

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State inspection of coal mines is likely to fade away now that the federal government has assumed complete control over coal mine health and safety.

February 10 1983

The City of Whitesburg has agreed to accept title of the Whitesburg industrial site in west Whitesburg in a move to preserve the site for future factories. The city council voted unanimously to accept the Letcher County Industrial Foundation’s offer to sell the 14-plus acre site to the city for $1 and “other good and valuable considerations.” The action apparently has put an end to the Letcher County Board of Education’s hopes to locate a proposed new Whitesburg High School there.

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A hundred years from now, the waters of Bad Branch Falls should be as pure as they are today, and the area around them still would be a treasure of unusual plants and animals. That is being assured through a series of property purchases and leases. The Nature Conservancy, which emphasizes stewardship of the land, has bought one large tract and is negotiating an option on the purchase of more.

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Nationally prominent real estate developer Donald W. Webb of Lexington urged the Letcher County School Board to take another look at locating the new Whitesburg High School back on School Hill. Webb, a Whitesburg High graduate, has been a major force in the redevelopment of Lexington where he has lived for several years.

February 10, 1993

Letcher County is the least poor of the eight counties in the Kentucky River Area Development District, according to U.S. Census figures for 1990 released this week. The census figures show that only 31.8 percent of Letcher County residents have incomes below the federal poverty level, defined as an income of $12,675 or less for a family of four. Owsley County, with a poverty rate of 52 percent, is the sixth poorest among all U.S. counties.

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Letcher Circuit Court officials have begun seating a special grand jury to hear allegations against suspected Letcher Circuit Judge Larry D. Collins and other local officials and private citizens. Collins was suspended in December — less than a year after he took office — after he was charged with five counts of bribery of a public servant. Special Circuit Judge John Adams of Lexington has been appointed to hear the Collins case.

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The Letcher Circuit Courtroom was evacuated Monday after a bomb threat against suspected Judge Larry D. Collins was telephoned into the office of Letcher Circuit Clerk Margaret Nichols.

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Financially troubled South East Coal Co. received a special arrangement from the state to forgive a $600,000 tax bill in exchange for a 2.1-mile road in Letcher County. The trade is one of several made recently for South East by state government officials.

February 12, 2003

TV Service Inc. – United Cable of Hindman, which operates cable television systems throughout most of the west end of Letcher County, plans to offer cable Internet service sometime within the next year.

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Police arrested a Jenkins man after he dived headfirst through the plate-glass window of a pharmacy. He is charged with stealing three bottles of prescription painkillers.

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The Letcher County Fiscal Court voted Monday night to rescind a $6,000 a year raise for magistrates and replace it with a much smaller cost-of-living increase which will also apply to other officials.

On Feb. 6, 1947, The Eagle:

• reported that convicted bank robber Jim Halcomb was sentenced in Letcher Circuit Court to a life term in prison in while co-defendant Carmen Stacy asked for change of venue to Pike County.

Halcomb confessed that he and Stacy robbed the Whitesburg Bank and shot and seriously wounded bank security guard Clark Day.

• reported that the new East Jenkins Theatre, owned and operated by A.B. Phipps and James Vanover, opened for business on Sunday, February 2.

A new theatre building has been erected and modern new equipment installed in the 500-seat facility.

• reported that University of Kentucky School of Law student Harry M. Caudill, son of Mr. and Mrs. C.C. Caudill of Whitesburg, has pledged to the Phi Delta Phi national legal fraternity.

• reported that William Craft, son of Mr. and Mrs. Nat Craft of Neon, was listed on the honor roll at Union College in Barbourville for the past quarter.

Elsewhere, a full-page advertisement announces the arrival of the D.&P. Electrical Store scheduled to open in Neon on Saturday, February 8. Proprietors are Willie Dawahare and J.P. Peters.

On Feb. 6, 1958, The Eagle:

• reported that Iowa State College in Ames, Iowa has appointed former Fleming-Neon High School football star Clay Stapleton as its new head football coach.

Stapleton, a single-wing stylist, was hired after a 10-day search by the Cyclone Athletic Council for a successor to Jim Myers, whose controversial departure to Texas A&M on January 22 created the vacancy. His contract assures he will be paid $24,000 a year for three years.

Stapleton, 36, played guard at the University of Tennessee in 1940 when Myers was at the other guard position. Stapleton served his coaching apprenticeship at Wofford, Wyoming and Oregon State.

Known as “Stud” since his high school days at Fleming-Neon, Stapleton is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Stapleton of Haymond.

• reported that Jack Craft of Neon, owner of Craft’s Department Stores of Neon and Whitesburg, recently purchased Tepper’s Store in Whitesburg.

Elsewhere, an advertisement by Isaac’s Ultra-Modern Alene Theatre announces that “Jailhouse Rock” starring Elvis Presley begins a four-day run February 9. Elvis will sing seven new songs in the film.


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