Monday, May 06, 2013

West Virginia's increased bid for Hatfield-McCoy tourism dollars snags on scraggly cemetery

Hoping to bring tourism dollars to the struggling economy in West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky coal country, the states are trying to attract people to the region by offering a glimpse into the history of its most famous feud, reports Chase Purdy for The New York Times. (Times photo by Kyle Green: Hatfield cemetery at Sarah Ann, W.Va.)

The success of the 2012 Kevin Costner mini-series about the Hatfield-McCoy feud has already resulted in an increase of tourists, he writes. Since its airing, "communities along the Tug Fork [of the Big Sandy River], the stream that is the state boundary in the area, have witnessed a surge in out-of-town foot traffic, tourists by the thousands drawn to the region in search of history."

Tombstone of the McCoy patriarch,
Randolph and wife (Kyle Green/NYT)
Officials in Pikeville, Ky., several years ago restored a cemetery where many of the McCoys are buried, but in West Virginia, the Hatfield Family Cemetery remains in poor shape, mostly because no one is sure who owns the land, Purdy writes. Until an owner can be determined, the cemetery remains untouched. Kentucky has spent thousands in state money to try to lure tourists to the area, and have managed to get at least three cemeteries submitted for National Register of Historic Places status. (Read more)

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