Whitesburg KY
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The Way We Were

New school plans told


An architect’s drawing of the new Letcher Consolidated School was released by architect D.E. Perkins of Harlan in late August 1958 and published on the front page of the September 4, 1958 edition of The Mountain Eagle, which is pictured at right.

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 1938 Linefork area residents are commending officials in the Letcher County School System who have provided the area with its first school bus. Until this year, Linefork area students had to walk up to seven miles to get to the Kingdom Come High School. The operation of this bus will help those students very much.

. The WPA highway leading from Blackey up Pratt Branch to Roxana is now complete to the gap at the head of Mill Branch. After another two miles of construction is finished, the road will connect to the highway up Kingscreek at Roxana, shortening the distance from Blackey to Cumberland by 20 miles.

. More than 3,000 people are expected to attend a big Letcher County Fish and Game Club Rally scheduled to be held on top of Pine Mountain near Whitesburg on Sunday. U.S. Congressman A.J. May is among those scheduled to speak to the crowd of people expected from all over eastern Kentucky. The main part of Sunday’s program will be devoted to seeing what can be done about turning the proposed dam on the Poor Fork of the Cumberland River into reality.

. Letcher County will soon have one of the nest country clubs in eastern Kentucky at the Mayking Golf Course. Work is being rushed on completion of the clubhouse. The ballroom, which measures 28 feet wide by 60 feet long, is expected to be ready for the opening dance being planned for the later part of September. The excellent hardwood dance floor will easily accommodate 200 couples with room to spare. A large veranda built entirely around the clubhouse gives an excellent view of the golf course, which has now been in use for about one year.

. William M. Williams, better known to Letcher County citizens as “Uncle Bill,” died at his home in Whitesburg on Wednesday afternoon following an illness of several months. For the last 18 years, “Uncle Bill” was a familiar figure to many who saw him carrying the mail daily from the L&N Railroad Depot to the post office in Whitesburg, no matter if the weather was good or bad.

. School bells will sound for more than 10,000 pupils in the schools of Letcher County on Monday, September 5, when all the schools in the county are in session for the next school year. The figure does not include those students attending classes in the Jenkins system. According to Letcher Schools Supt. Watson Webb, the schools beginning Monday are Marlowe, Sergent, Mayking, Neon, Carbon Glow, Fleming, Haymond, Hemphill, Kona, Seco, Tolliver Town, and the Whitesburg graded and high schools. Also set to start on Monday are the colored schools at Fleming and Haymond. The county’s other schools opened August 28.

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 1948 Baker Maytag Company of Whitesburg says it has appliances sitting on its showroom floor for sale and immediate delivery for the first time since long before the end of World War II.

. James Ison, about 50, is expected to survive a .22 rifle bullet that entered his back and exited his chest while he was squirrel hunting in the mountains above Kona. Ison was hunting with Charles Mauk and Mauk’s young nephew, Wallace B. Mauk. Wallace Mauk, who will leave this week to attend school at Berea College, was carrying a .22 rifle through the woods when the safety was knocked off when the gun came into contact with thick brush. The gun fired and hit Mr. Ison, who is said to be doing as well as can be expected. Mr. Ison has told Wallace Mauk not to worry about the shooting, as it was purely an accident.

. State Alcoholic Beverage Control offi cials came to Letcher County and raided

two establishments, one at Neon Junction and the other on Potter’s Fork. Confiscated from both places were whiskey, beer and slot machines.

. Dr. B.C. Bach of Whitesburg has resigned from his longtime seat on the Letcher County Board of Health, citing criticism the health board has been receiving over what Dr. Bach calls the “stale and offensive” body of water that has been allowed to form on Main Street in Whitesburg, between the Bank of Whitesburg and the Whitesburg Post Office. “In this water will be found every form of filth imaginable — sticks, bottles, tin cans, rags, and numerous other items of filthy nature. This is nauseating and offensive to the hundreds of people who pass by every day,” Dr. Bach said. “… I do not care to be criticized by the public for allowing such a condition to exist, or for being a member of the board of health of this county when such a menace is being permitted.” [Note: The site in question was eventually cleaned up to make room for the Craft Building, which now houses StreetSide Bar and Grill.]

. Two of Blackey’s leading merchants, Mr. and Mrs. Troah Campbell and their son, Bobby, are selling out their mercantile business this coming week and plan to move to Winchester to live while the elder Mr. Campbell attends college for further work on his bachelor of arts degree.

. The body of Private First Class Willard Polly, a World War II casualty, was returned home to Mayking for reburial in the Webb Cemetery. A Purple Heart recipient, PFC Polly was killed at age 30 in battle at Luxembourg on December 24, 1944. Before leaving Letcher County to eventually serve with the 3rd Army under General Patton, Polly was a miner with the Elkhorn Coal Company at Kona.

. The Kentucky Railroad Commission is directed the Louisville and Nashville Railroad to continue operation of two daily trains between Hazard and Lexington. The railroad previously announced plans to discontinue the trains on September 7.

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 1958 An architect’s drawing of the new Letcher Consolidated School has been released by architect D.E. Perkins and published on the front page of this week’s edition of The Mountain Eagle. The school building will be divided into separate wings for the elementary and high schools and will have 34 classrooms, a lunchroom, and a library.

. Letcher County’s eight elected magistrates each were $1,000 better off today following the Letcher Fiscal Court’s adoption of a budget for the county this past Friday. The magistrates voted unanimously for the budget, which provides them with salaries of $200 a month, with back pay to April 1.

. Threat of a polio epidemic in Letcher County increased today, following the outbreak of three cases this week in the Fishpond area of the county at the headwaters of the Kentucky River near Payne Gap. The three new cases bring to five the number which have occurred in the county within the past three weeks.

. French Martin, 32, of Isom, was killed in an unusual truck accident Tuesday. Martin was sitting in the shade of a tree along the side of the road, eating a candy bar and waiting for a ride to work when a coal truck driven by Henry Morgan came along. The truck had a front tire blowout, went out of control and struck Martin, killing him. Martin was survived by his wife, Mrs. Helen Johnson Martin, and 10 children.

. Don F. Crosthwaite, general manager of WTCW radio station, has received the titles of Kentucky Colonel and Duke of Paducah by Governor A.B. Chandler and Paducah Mayor George G. Jacobs. Crosthwaite came to Whitesburg from Paducah in 1954 as general manager and vice-president of Kentucky-Virginia Broadcasting Company.

. Cecil Caudill of Whitesburg is the new manager of the Letcher County office of the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Committee. He took over his duties August

25 after completing 10 weeks of training.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 29, 1968 Letcher Manufacturing Company learned this week that its annual contract to produce upholstered furniture for the federal government would double in size. Lois A. Baker, president of the firm, said contracts for the coming year will total $2 million. The firm plans to construct a 10,000-square-foot addition to handle the new orders. About 30 more upholstery workers will be hired, she said.

. Manuel Lee Adams, 31, of Mayking, was killed when he was struck by lightning while he was on a hunting trip in the Daniel Boone Forest in Pulaski County. Officials said he apparently sought shelter under a tree during a rainstorm and was killed when lightning struck the tree near its tip and continued down the trunk and into Adams’s body. His shotgun was badly damaged and bark from the tree was found 75 feet away.

. Malcolm Holliday of McLean, Va., has been named executive director of the Kentucky River Area Development District. He will start work September 15.

. The annual financial report of the Letcher County Board of Education shows total expenditures of $3,976,786.21 in the general fund for the 1967-68 school year and $453,715 in Title I funds. The highest net teacher salary listed was $4,892, paid to U.G. Horn at Whitesburg High School.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 24, 1978 Letcher County is more than a quarter million dollars in debt and the state government has virtually taken over day-to-day financial operations, say county and state officials. Robert Purdon, director of Local Finances for the Department of Local Government, says the state intervention was triggered by a fiscal court decision in January to borrow $150,000. “They borrowed the money without amending their budget, without notifying us or getting approval. That is illegal,” he said. The $150,000 loan must be paid back with revenues received this fiscal year, July 1, 1978 to June 30, 1979. In addition, the county had $113,701.97 in unpaid bills as of last month.

. The bodies of four members of a Cincinnati, Ohio, family were discovered last Tuesday afternoon in the wreckage of their private plane which apparently had crashed Sunday on a mountainside two miles from the north end of the Whitesburg airport runway. The family left Blue Ash, Ohio, about noon Sunday on the way to their summer home at Hilton Head Island, S.C. The plane was located by Roy Crawford of Whitesburg and another Civil Air Patrol searcher after they heard signals from the craft’s emergency locating device.

. A state official has confirmed that plans are in the making for a new airport to serve Whitesburg and the Letcher County area. Members of the Whitesburg Airport Board have chosen a mountaintop site currently being strip mined by Red Fox Coal Co. at Isom, as the best site for a new airport.

. “Red Fox/Second Hangin’” will be performed by Appalshop’s Roadside Theatre at West Whitesburg Elementary School on Friday, sponsored by the Letcher County Unit of the American Cancer Society. The play is based on the life story of Doc Taylor, the “Red Fox”, who was executed in 1892 for the murder of Ira Mullins and his family.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 31, 1988 At least four ducks have died recently at Fishpond Lake. Greg Moore said he saw a duck that looked like it was trying to fly away but couldn’t lift off the water. Thinking the bird was caught in a brush hook, he tried to help it. By the time he crossed the lake the bird was dead. Minutes later he saw another die in the same way and found another carcass beside it. H. Combs of Whitesburg said he had picked up 15 carcasses along the North Fork of the Kentucky River. Conservation Officer Jerry Coots of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife said the duck population along the river was so large that the natural food supply probably isn’t large enough to support it.

. Letcher County’s Democratic Party leaders have apparently chosen Randy Hall of Cromona as the party’s choice to fill the remaining months of a term left vacant by the resignation of former PVA Columbus Sexton, also a Democrat.

. Letcher County was named for Robert Letcher who served as Kentucky’s governor from 1840 to 1844, says William T. Cornett in a column on the source of Letcher County’s name. Letcher ran for governor on the Whig ticket. His platform was fiscal conservatism and he wanted to slow down expenditures on what were then called “internal improvements.”

. A Mountain Heritage Festival shopping cart race will be held on Main Street in Whitesburg on Sept. 22. Trophies will go to the first- and second-place teams. Teams will consist of two members, one to push and one to ride.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 26, 1998 The schedule for the Mountain Heritage Festival features arts, crafts and entertainment including quilt and baking contests, a dog show, a community church service, food booths and a carnival. At the Jenkins Homecoming Festival, country music singer Gary Stewart will perform. Neon Days will honor Vietnam War veterans and 1960-69 sports figures.

. The new E-911 system will begin operating on September 23. With the turn-on date less than a month away, officials say it is important that residents and business owners display the new address numbers assigned to their houses and businesses. Orell Fields, coordination of the county’s E-911 service, said the numbers are a vital part of the new addressing system, and are designed to tell police, firefighters and ambulance drivers exactly where a house or business is located.

. Residents of the Sandlick community are calling for lower speed limits in the wake of a coal truck accident there Friday night which caused a large amount of property damage, but miraculously spared injury to any person. An truck empty of coal left KY 931 and struck the rear of pickup truck parked outside Pennington Electric. After knocking the rear of the pickup through a corner of Pennington Electric, the coal truck went airborne before striking the left front corner of Loren Bentley’s home, From there, it crashed into a second pickup owned by Bentley, then smashed a small out-building and broke a power pole before crashing into a bedroom of Lettie Hall’s home.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 27, 2008 Letcher County’s unemployment rate fell slightly in July even though 38 fewer people held jobs here than in the month before. According to the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training, 8,128 Letcher County residents held jobs last month compared with 8,166 people in June, dropping the county’s jobless rate from 7.8 percent to 7.6 percent. The drop occurred because 52 people who formerly held jobs exhausted their unemployment benefits during the same month.

. Eighty-five-year-old Arlie Potter received birthday present from grandson David Potter — a 1936 Ford sedan. David Potter purchased the classic car on eBay as a thank you present to the man who helped rear him. Arlie Potter had acquired a ’36 Ford in 1942 and said it was the best car he ever owned.

. The Letcher County Board of Education voted to spend more than $150,000 on plumbing repairs at Fleming-Neon Elementary School after Supt. Anna C. Craft warned that the situation was critical. “We’ve got to get the plumbing fixed or we are going to be shut down,” said Craft.

. Writing about night fishing, Greg Caudill says, “Some of my best crappie and largemouth bass fishing trips have been at night. During the early morning from around 4:30 to 5 a.m. fish like bass and crappie and some walleye will move up very shallow at times and will feed.”

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