Kentucky Arts and Culture
100 Years of Coal Mining in Harlan
On Aug. 25, 1911, a Friday, a Louisville & Nashville locomotive steamed away from a tipple in a hollow in Harlan County with a load of coal bound for Western Kentucky, and the county changed dramatically, forever. It was the first commercial coal shipment by rail out of the mountainous county. Within a few short years, a sparsely populated place that had long been defined by subsistence farming was transformed into an industrial society largely controlled by the coal industry.