This section includes the Kentucky Appalachians & Daniel Boone Country tourism regions.
Kentucky's Eastern region offers a rich blend of the state's history and culture . With the Appalachians as a
backdrop, this is where Kentucky's story unfolds - first with Native Americans, then, in 1750 with Dr. Thomas Walker
crossing the Cumberland Gap, followed 25 years later by Daniel Boone blazing the trail of the Wilderness Road.
In the hills and hollows of Appalachia, English-Irish-Scots immigrants settled and their Celtic tunes evolved
into the region's folk music. Butcher Hollow became internationally famous thanks to a "Coal Miner's Daughter,"
and indeed life in the mines gave the region its hardscrabble reputation. Here, early 20th century life
revolved around coal production, spawning the “model” communities of
Cumberland, Benham and Lynch. Company recruiters populated the
coal camps with miners and their families including African-Americans
and a number of immigrants from Ellis Island, resulting in some
15 languages being spoken in the region.
This is a region of incomparable beauty - whether it be
the pristine wilderness of the Daniel Boone National Forest
or the mountains surrounding Jenny Wiley and Pine Mountain
State Resort Parks.
The region is home to both the "Grand Canyon of the South" at Breaks Interstate Park on the
Kentucky-Virginia border, and the "Niagara Falls of the South,"
at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park where, on a clear night
during a full moon, you can see the rare
moonbow, occurring nowhere else in
the Western Hemisphere.
Greater Hazard Area Performing Arts Series
One Community College Drive, Hazard, KY
The mission of this organization is to assist with the
development of the arts and art education in the
Southeast Kentucky region by presenting experiences in
music, drama and dance. The Greater Hazard Area
Performing Arts Series consists of six to eight performing
arts events presented during the academic year August
through May. Events include state, regional, national
and international performing artists, as well as locally
produced arts events by community arts organizations.
Harlan County, KY
Contact: Lynch City Hall (606) 848-2873
Built in 1917 by U.S. Coal & Coke Company, a subsidiary
of U.S. Steel, Lynch was the largest coal camp in the
world. At its height, the population encompassed nearly
forty nationalities. African-American miners were a
significant segment of the community. The company
owned and controlled the community, including its own
private police force and built state-of-the-art schools,
homes, a theater, hospital, hotel and more. In the 1950's,
the company began to release its ownership and control
of the community, although its influence remained for
Lynch Colored School
KY HWY 160, Lynch, KY
Contact: Lynch City Hall (606) 848-2873
In its heyday, the Lynch Colored School “was the
pride of the community.” The building, constructed by
US Steel Coal & Coke Company in 1923, was leased to
the Lynch Colored Common Graded School District for
the “separate but equal” education of the children of
African-American miners in enham and Lynch.
Portal No. 31
KY HWY 160, Lynch, KY
Contact: KY Coal Mining Museum
(606) 848-1530 http://kycoalmuseum-portal31.southeast.kctcs.edu
Portal No. 31 is the mine entrance at Lynch. In February,
1923, a coal production world record was set when nearly
13,000 tons of coal (over 250 railcars) were mined in one
9-hour shift. At its peak in the 1940's, the mine employed
some 4,000 workers, and over a period of forty years, the
mine produced over 1 million tons of coal per year. The
portal is now open to visitors through a tour that offers a
glimpse into the historic coal operation and the lives of
its workers. Next to the portal is the Lamphouse, which
now houses a museum featuring exhibits of coal mining
Benham Coal Miners Memorial Theater
Originally billed as the “New Benham Theater,” this
theater was built in 1923 to bring vaudeville acts and
silent movies to the people of Benham. Sporadically
occupied over the last twenty years, the building had,
in recent years, fallen into disrepair. After an extensive
renovation, the building has opened again to the public
as a multipurpose entertainment facility.
Benham Schoolhouse Inn
100 Central Ave., Benham, KY
(606) 848-3000 www.facebook.com/benhamschoolhouseinn
Built in 1926 by Wisconsin Steel Corporation
(International Harvester), this school operated as an
elementary and high school for the children of coal
miners. The elementary school continued to operate until
1992. In 1993, work began to convert the building into a
charming country inn, which today welcomes visitors.
Kentucky Coal Mining Museum
213 Main Street, Benham, KY
Thousands of African-American men, typically from
places like Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia, found
improved opportunities for work and family in the
coal mines of Eastern Kentucky. The Kentucky Coal
Mining Museum, located in the original commissary
building, gives visitors a glimpse into coal mining
communities of the early 20th century.
Kentucky Folk Art Center
102 West 1st Street, Morehead, KY
(606) 783-2204 www.moreheadstate.edu/kfac
Long-standing African-American traditions have
encompassed a variety of artforms including folk art.
The Kentucky Folk Art Center offers visitors one of the
most important and unique cultural experiences to be
found anywhere in Appalachia. With a growing
permanent collection of nearly 1,000 works by regional
folk artists, KFAC strives to preserve and promote a
broader understanding of traditional and contemporary
folk art. The Center's expanded areas of interest include
traditional music, storytelling, literature, dance and crafts,
all of which hold prominent places in the experience of
African-American and multicultural traditions.
Keas Tabernacle C.M.E. Church
105 S.Queen Street, Mount Sterling, KY
The Keas Tabernacle Christian Methodist Episcopal
Church was formed in 1878 as a part of the Post-Civil
War / Reconstructionist effort to organize former slaves
into a new denomination. The church is named for the
Rev. Samuel Keas. This structure is a fine interpretation
of the Romanesque Revival style of architecture.
This church has since served as an important
religious and cultural institution.
The Laurel Gorge Cultural Heritage Center
Sandy Hook, KY
Opened in 2003, the Laurel Gorge Cultural Heritage
Center provides visitors with information about the
people, culture, natural environment and history of its
Appalachian region. The site includes an interpretive
center featuring exhibits and displays, many of which are
environment- related; the Kentucky Native Flora Garden
where more than 300 native wildflower species thrive,
as well as a 1 mile walking trail through tranquil
vegetation, outcroppings, and a rock shelter believed
to have been used by Native Americans.