Kentucky Tourism
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Eastern Kentucky

This section includes the Kentucky Appalachians & Daniel Boone Country tourism regions.

North Central Kentucky

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.

North Central Kentucky Map Jack Hart


Greater Hazard Area Performing Arts Series
One Community College Drive, Hazard, KY
(606) 487-3067
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 years after.

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
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 artifacts.


Benham Coal Miners Memorial Theater
Benham, KY
(606) 848-5506
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
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
(606) 848-1530
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
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.

Mount Sterling

Keas Tabernacle C.M.E. Church
105 S.Queen Street, Mount Sterling, KY
(859) 498-0900
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.

Sandy Hook

The Laurel Gorge Cultural Heritage Center
Sandy Hook, KY
(606) 738-5543
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.