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Links Of Interest


Tour Information - Portal 31 is part of the Kentucky Coal Museum.



Subterranean Sojourns: Coal Mine Opens to Tourists ABC News

Kentucky: Coal mining tourism going animatronics'

News Article in the July 2002 Engineering Times (here 583 kb size) for the scanned article.


A sightseer's Guide to Engineering - Kentucky Coal Museum & Portal 31 Exhibition Coal Mine

Kentucky Coal Education


     It is dedicated to the men and women in the coal industry who provide heat, light, and power to our nation.  Their efforts sustain our world every day.

     In an effort to educate the public, the contents of this page are directed to students, teachers, employees of the coal industry, and the general public to expand their knowledge of coal and the coal industry.  The Coal Education Web Site is a dynamic, growing portrait of one of America's most essential industries.  Its purpose is to present factual, useful information about coal in a fun and productive way.

Official Kingdom Come Scenic Parkway Web Site


     One of the most historic and ruggedly beautiful areas in Central Appalachia, The Cumberland Mountains of Kentucky.

     The major US highway through the area is US 119, designated as the Kingdom Come Scenic Parkway.

     The core portion of the Parkway follows US 119 from Harlan to Whitesburg in Southeastern Kentucky (Get Map Movie). Beneath the shadows of Pine Mountain, this historic Parkway was named the Rhododendron Trail in 1939, for the profusion of Mountain Laurel and Rhododendron that bloom on high craggy exposures above the Parkway.

     Beginning in 1911 large manufacturers, from the US north, developed mining operations at the base of Black Mountain, extracting high-grade coal from thick bituminous seams. The towns of Benham and Lynch were the heart of this mining operation and are today the most well preserved coal mining communities in Kentucky. (Visit: Benham and Lynch).

Southeast Community College


     We're happy to be able to share with you information about our institution. Founded in 1960 as the Southeast Center of the University of Kentucky, SECC, now a proud member of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, has evolved into one of the state's outstanding community colleges. With campuses in Cumberland, Middlesboro and Whitesburg, the College is well positioned to offer programs and services to Harlan, Bell and Letcher counties, our primary service area.

     Our educational program is built around two primary components: (1) a transfer, or pre-baccalaureate, program, and (2) a technical, or associate of applied science, program. Some 50 percent of our students are enrolled in the transfer programs and will earn associate of arts or science degrees before transferring to 4-year institutions around the country. Almost 35 percent of our students are in applied science degree programs that prepare them for immediate employment. We have strong programs, either available or planned, in several areas. These include nursing, physical therapy assisting, clinical laboratory technology, radiography, respiratory care, business management, management information systems, banking, hospitality management, golf course management, office systems, civil engineering technology, network and information systems, and mining technology, computer repair technology, law enforcement, and arts and crafts -- pottery.

Harlan County, Kentucky. Where the Adventure Begins 

Harlan County, Kentucky
"The official site of Harlan, KY"


     Harlan county, Kentucky is named after Silas Harlan.  It is located in the southeastern portion of the state on the border of Virginia.  We are located in the Eastern Kentucky coal fields stretching along the Appalachian Mountains and the Cumberland Plateau.   Harlan has several mountain systems.  Black Mountain runs along the Kentucky -Virginia border.  Big Black Mountain is the highest point in the state of Kentucky at 4,145 feet above sea level, near Lynch.  Another system in Harlan is Pine Mountain which runs toward Cumberland.  Stone Mountain is another mountain that isn't talked about much but has very beautiful  views many times of the year.  This mountain is located on the Harlan-Bell-Virginia borders.  Another one of natures heavenly sites is Blanton Forest.  This is by far the largest old-growth forest in Kentucky and one of the oldest in the United States. It covers 2,350 acres of Pine Mountain's south slope.

kcmm-1.jpg (162237 bytes)Kentucky Coal Mining Museum


     The Kentucky Coal Mining Museum is located in the former coal camp town of Benham in Harlan County Kentucky. Benham was originally occupied by farming families. International Harvester purchased the area in the early 1900's for its rich coal seams; then mining began.

     In 1911, L&N built a spur line and Benham became a productive coal mining town. The City of Benham was incorporated in 1960 after International Harvester sold several buildings and lots to the town council.

     The museum building was the second building built by the company to house a company commissary. The first one, built on the same site, was a wooden structure destroyed by fire in the mid-teen's. The concrete and masonry structure replaced the burned building in 1923.

     The building was purchased in June 1990 by the Tri-City Chamber of Commerce for the future site of the museum. It underwent extensive renovations with funds provided from the state of Kentucky and opened its doors for the first time in May 1994. Museum visitors always have an enjoyable time when they visit the museum and recount the past coal mining history.

     The Kentucky Coal Mining Museum offers a complete picture of the lives that revolve around the coal industry. Visitors to the museum can view the process detailing the formation of coal by looking at several visuals and fossil displays. Next a narrated video describes the early coal mining days in Benham and Lynch.

David A. ZegeerDavid A. Zegeer Coal-Railroad Museum
Jenkins, Kentucky


     Mr. Zegeer received his bachelor's degree in Mining Engineering in 1944. After two years in the U.S. Army Engineers, he joined Consolidation Coal Company in Jenkins, Kentucky. The mines were sold to Bethlehem Steel in 1956, and he became Division Superintendent. He retired as Manager of Beth-Elkhorn Corporation in 1977. Mr. Zegeer was confirmed as Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety & Health in 1983, serving in this capacity until retiring again in 1987 to return to private consulting.






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