Thursday, April 17, 2014

Coal Camp Documentary Project seeks to glean, share histories of company towns in Eastern Ky.

Lynch, Ky., lives on. (Photo from
The Appalachian Center at the University of Kentucky has launched an interactive website that educates and gathers information about historic coal-company mining towns in Eastern Kentucky. The Coal Camp Documentary Project seeks memories or images related to experiences in company towns or villages in the region.

Coal companies constructed and managed the built environment, which shaped much of the social and economic life of the residents. Each coal camp had a similar structure (housing that residents did not own, stores that used company “scrip” for currency, and alignment with railroad tracks)  but its own way of life. Most coal camps have disappeared but are re-created at reunions of former residents and their descendants. Stories and images shared at those reunions may be found on the website, as well as archived materials.

The site was created in response to community requests for Appalachian Center faculty, postdoctoral scholars, staff members and documentarians to record the memories shared by former coal-camp residents. For more information about the site or to learn more about how to participate, visit the center online or contact program coordinator Shane Barton at

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