Whitesburg KY
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The Way We Were




Downtown Whitesburg wall turns 90 This retaining wall, photographed this week from Webb Avenue facing Church Street in downtown Whitesburg, has been around for 90 years. According to a report in the March 31, 1927 edition of The Mountain Eagle, “the new rock wall on Church Street is completed,” and work is now underway on a new street to be located between Main Street and Church. “This will be a great improvement to Whitesburg and … relieve the growing congestion in traffic on the streets of that section of the city,” the paper reported. The wall was built by Italian immigrants who began arriving in Letcher County in about 1912, after the coming of the railroad. The native sandstone used in the construction was cut from a cliff beside what used to be known as River Road [now Jenkins Road], near the present Dairy Queen restaurant and Letcher County Recreation Center. (Eagle photo)

Downtown Whitesburg wall turns 90 This retaining wall, photographed this week from Webb Avenue facing Church Street in downtown Whitesburg, has been around for 90 years. According to a report in the March 31, 1927 edition of The Mountain Eagle, “the new rock wall on Church Street is completed,” and work is now underway on a new street to be located between Main Street and Church. “This will be a great improvement to Whitesburg and … relieve the growing congestion in traffic on the streets of that section of the city,” the paper reported. The wall was built by Italian immigrants who began arriving in Letcher County in about 1912, after the coming of the railroad. The native sandstone used in the construction was cut from a cliff beside what used to be known as River Road [now Jenkins Road], near the present Dairy Queen restaurant and Letcher County Recreation Center. (Eagle photo)

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

Thursday, March 31, 1927 Whitesburg will field its own coalfield baseball team this spring and summer as players from the Marlowe and Sandlick camps will be combined and will play on the new diamond on the James P. Lewis Bottom. A pie and box supper was held at Marlowe several weeks ago to raise funds for the new baseball club.

. Consolidation Coal Company is holding grand openings on new properties in Jenkins on Friday and McRoberts on Saturday. The company says it has spent “several thousands of dollars” on additions and benefits in the two communities.

. George M. Adams, state highway foreman for Letcher County, is taking advantage of spring weather to smooth down the roads here by grading and scraping. Motorists say the roads are better than any year before with the exception of a few bad holes.

. Uncle Marion Stallard has died in the same Letcher County home he was born in 100 years ago. His mother, Aunt Crissy Stallard, died in the same house a few years ago at the age of 110.

. The new rock wall on Church Street in Whitesburg is completed and work is underway on a new street to be located between Main Street and Church. “This will be a great improvement to Whitesburg and … relieve the growing congestion in traffic on the streets of that section of the city,” reports The Mountain Eagle.

. Six Letcher County boys are enrolled this semester at Centre College in Danville.

. Letcher County’s best marksman is 86-year-old Hiram Mitchell of Kingscreek, who defended his title last Saturday when he won a shooting match that included Neon Police Judge W.S. Tolliver, who is considered one of the best shots in the county, as well as Tilden Wright of Millstone, himself a top marksman.

. Several readers are pleading with The Mountain Eagle to urge county officials to grade the road between Sandlick and Ice. “They say it would be a small job, requiring only a few trips with the grader,” The Eagle says on its editorial page, “and that it would be of great benefit to a large number of people.”

Thursday, April 1, 1937 A “talking picture” was shown at Kyva Motor Company in Whitesburg on Tuesday evening, depicting the Buick automobile from its humble beginning to the new dazzling 1937 model. Kyva’s showroom [now the home of Kentucky Mist Moonshine] was filled to capacity with viewers. A future showing will look at the Pontiac brand of autos.

. A Ford V-8 stolen here from Dewey Polly, owner of Coca-Cola Bottling Works in Whitesburg, has been found on the streets of London, Kentucky.

. The “frog pond” on Main Street in Whitesburg has been sold to L.W. Fields, who will build a three-story office and apartment complex on the site.

Thursday, April 3, 1947 Despite winning the regional band competition in Middlesboro last week, the Jenkins High School Band will not be permitted to travel to Lexington for state competition because of the acute lack of housing there.

. Fire of unknown origin has caused considerable damage to the building in downtown Whitesburg that houses Kermit’s Superette grocery.

. S.J. Chewning, supply foreman for Consolidation Coal Company in Jenkins, has established what is believed to be a record for working safely in the coal mining industry, having gone 137 months — more than 11 years — without a lost-time accident under his supervision. Chewning and his crew of 12 men handle all kinds of mine supplies, such as timbers, cement, pipe, steel rails, brick, and railroad ties, as well as mining machinery of every description.

. A raid at Willie Wright’s place on Potter’s Fork this week turned up 10 gallons of moonshine, 15 bottles of beer, one shotgun, one rifle, one revolver and one automatic pistol. Wright was arrested and taken to the Letcher County Jail in Whitesburg.

. Joan Crawford stars in “Humoresque,” showing April 8-9 at the Kentucky Theatre in Whitesburg.

. Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman star in “Bells of St. Mary,” showing April 8-9 at the Haymond Theatre.

. Consolidation Coal Company is rebuilding its road up Marshall’s Branch, near Burdine, and will use it to transport miners to the new entrance to the No. 4 Mine. The company is already building several large structures on the site.

. Some 500 onlookers packed the Perry County Courtroom in Hazard March 28 to witness the examining trials of three Ft. Knox, Kentucky soldiers, including

Jasper Nease of McRoberts, who are charged with murdering Vernon Hodge of Louisville by drowning him in the North Fork of the Kentucky River at Hazard after kidnapping him in Jefferson County. Among the observers of the hearing, which ended after none of the three entered a plea, were a brother and sister of the victim who, according to one of the alleged murderers, was killed to hide all evidence of the fact they had stolen his automobile. Each of the three accused blame the others for the actual killing.

. In a letter to the editor, a Letcher County preacher calls in the county’s citizens to back prosecutors as they work to convict the three men, including Jasper Nease from McRoberts, who are charged with murdering Vernon Hodge of Louisville by drowning him in the North Fork of the Kentucky River at Hazard.

. United Mine Workers of America President John L. Lewis has ordered a six-day work stoppage by 400,000 softcoal miners. The stoppage is in memory of the 111 victims of the Centralia, Illinois mine disaster. Bodies of all but one of the miners have been recovered.

Thursday, April 4, 1957 One of Letcher County’s most prominent citizens, Dr. Daniel Van “D.V.” Bentley of Neon, died Tuesday morning at St. Joseph Hospital, Lexington, after receiving injuries in an auto accident near Whitesburg. Dr. Bentley was driving toward Whitesburg when his car left the highway just past the stone bridge at the north edge of town. His car went into the North Fork of the Kentucky River, and when help arrived he was able to assist himself from the car, but was unable to explain what had happened. He was suffering head injuries and was taken to Miners Memorial Hospital in Whitesburg. After receiving medical attention here, he was taken by Craft’s ambulance to St. Joseph’s, where he died the next morning at 3:30. Dr. Bentley was born in 1887 at Neon Junction.

. Tucker’s Cafe in Neon is the only Grade A” restaurant in Letcher County under requirements of state health department.

. The Kiwanis Club of Jenkins celebrated its 18th anniversary March 21 at the Jenkins Methodist Church. Ninety-three Kiwanians and their ladies and guests attended the event.

. Mr. and Mrs. Carol Sexton are announcing the birth of their first child, Stephen Mark, born March 30 at Miners Memorial Hospital in Whitesburg.

. Dr. George Flessas is the new Chief of Pediatrics at Miners Memorial Hospital in Whitesburg. He replaces Dr. Jean McGavran, who resigned to join her husband, a chemical engineer, in northern Ohio.

. Phyllis Ann Hall, freshman at the University of Kentucky, has accepted an invitation to join Chi Delta Phi, an honorary organization for young writers. She was recommended to the organization by her English professor on merits of her themes and writing “On the Hill” in The Mountain Eagle during her senior year of high school.

. World-famous minister Norman Vincent Peale will be the principal speaker at the National Coal Association’s 1957 convention banquet in Washington, D.C., on June 6.

. Mrs. Archie Craft [Virginia] is a candidate for re-election as coroner of Letcher County.

A box and pie supper was given at the Blair Branch School Friday night in honor of the Letcher High School seniors. The amount of $150 was raised during the event.

Thursday, March 30, 1967 The local War on Poverty program this week was asked to remove its equipment from the Blackey Community Center. The center, which is the site of an anti-poverty program, has cost some $60,000 over the past 11 months.

. Cutbacks from the Work Experience and Training Program will begin again next week, amid a flurry of last minute efforts to provide substitute welfare programs. Approximately 1,500 men will be cut from the WE&T program in the 19 participating eastern Kentucky counties during the next several months. In Letcher County, where 254 men are currently participating in the program, between 80 and 100 are likely to be cut, according to estimates furnished by state Economic Security Commissioner Leslie Dawson. The number may increase by the end of 1967.

. The U.S. Army reports that Pfc. Eugene A. Nash, son of Dr. Arthur J. Nash of Jenkins, is participating in “Operation Faragut” in Vietnam with his unit, the 101st Airborne Division. Nash, an assistant machine gunner in Company C, 2nd Battalion of the division’s 327th Infantry, and his unit have accounted for 83 dead, 17 captured, and 67 weapons and 70 tons of rice, salt and corn recovered, according to army sources.

. James N. Majority, 19, son of Mrs. Edith Majority of Whitesburg, reported for active duty with the U.S. Navy this week. He will undergo basic training in Great Lakes, Ill. He is a 1960 graduate of Whitesburg High School and attended Alice Lloyd College.

. Rib roast is on sale at the Whitesburg A&P for 79 cents a pound.

Thursday, March 31, 1977 Employees and administrators at Whitesburg Appalachian Regional Hospital began gearing up this week for a possible repeat of 1974’s prolonged contract strike. The United Steelworkers of America, which represents approximately 2,000 workers in nine ARHs throughout the Appalachians, announced plans this week to begin striking tonight at midnight if a new contract cannot be reached with ARH officials.

. Officials of the National Labor Relations Board expect a decision this week on the investigation of a shutdown at Pioneer Coal Co. in Perry County. The United Mine Workers of America filed charges of unfair labor practices against Pioneer late last month. Seventy-five miners at the Sassafras mine were laid off shortly after most of them had signed cards asking for UMWA representation.

. The second Scotia explosion, which killed 11 men last year, apparently was caused by sparks created during a rock fall, according to Harreld N. Kirkpatrick, commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Mines and Minerals.

. The Blackey Area Jaycettes are sponsoring a “Gong Show” at the Letcher School gym on April 1, says Blackey correspondent Gaynell Begley. “No fooling,” she says, “if you have a talent come and enter the contest.”

Wednesday, April 1, 1987 Kentucky’s education policy is cheating nearly half of Letcher County’s schoolchildren out of an education, according to a private group which says the state education system must be reorganized. Kentucky Youth Advocates

Inc. says it is so alarmed by the large number of poor children in the state’s public schools that it fears they may become a “lost generation of children.”

. Finding suitable temporary housing for flood victims has been a recurring problem for eastern Kentucky officials. However, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved funding for a survey of 14 counties, including Letcher County, that will address the problem.

. Some merchants at Neon Junction are up in arms over a hole in the road. Really it isn’t the hole that has them worried, it’s the gravel that used to be in the hole. Storeowners say the problem is that the gravel gets pushed onto the asphalt every time a vehicle pulls out of Neon Junction and hits the hole.

Wednesday, April 2, 1997 Letcher County’s effort to develop a countywide water and sewer system now has the attention of members of the Kentucky Public Service Commission. Bill Grier, a Lexington engineer who has been working with the county in its attempt to get good water and proper sewage disposal facilities to all citizens, told members of the PSC at a meeting in Whitesburg that the only way to solve the problems is to set up a system which will serve the entire county.

. The failure to participate in the National Flood Insurance Programs appears to have cost Letcher County a $77,000 federal grant. Participation in the flood-insurance program is one of the 19 “assurances” the Letcher Fiscal Court must agree to before it can receive $77,000 which was to be given to the county to help get a new proposed new recycling center up and running.

. Judge/Executive Carroll A. Smith hopes federal officials will give financial assistance to Letcher County to help pay for damages caused by flooding on March 3. On Monday, Smith met with Kentucky Disaster and Emergency Services (DES) officials to review new estimates which show that the flooding caused $313,600 in damages to public roadways and bridges in Letcher County. Thirty-eight homeowners in Letcher County also suffered financial losses as a result of the flooding, Smith said.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007 Hundreds of Appalachian Regional Hospital employees have been striking at Whitesburg and eight other ARH hospitals since early Sunday morning. Negotiations between ARH and the United Steelworkers union, which represents the hospital workers, are expected to resume today.

. In a ruling filed March 8, Special Judge Eddy Coleman said Death Row inmates Benny Lee Hodge and Roger Epperson “suffered no violations of their federal of Kentucky constitutional rights to a fair and impartial jury” when they were tried and sentenced to death. Hodge, Epperson and a third defendant, Donald Terry Bartley, murdered University of Kentucky coed Tammy Dee Acker and attempted to murder her father, Dr. Roscoe Acker, after robbing his bedside safe of nearly $1.9 million.

. ZZ Top will perform this week at the Eastern Kentucky Expo Center in Pikeville. The three-man band from Texas has been performing together since 1969. The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.

. The Jenkins Lady Cavs softball team split a doubleheader with the Pikeville Lady Panthers. Pikeville won the first game 6-4, and Jenkins took the second game 3-2.


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