Posted by admin on 04 Jan 2012 at 12:00 am | Tagged as: Uncategorized
The history of Kentucky coal mining appears to have evolved following the discovery of coal in Virginia around 1701 by Thomas Walker, a physician, who experimented with these ‘black rocks’ in seeking ways to use them other than in the production of horseshoes. Under the auspices of the Loyal Land Company formed around 1750, Dr. Walker went to Kentucky in search of coal.
The first commercial mine is believed to have opened around 1820 with the production reaching 2,000 tons by 1830 ultimately increasing to 1 million tons by 1879. The growth of coal mining in Kentucky continued with supply efforts being increased by demand for its use during World War I resulting in over 20 million tons extracted. World War II demand raised this figure to approximately 72.4 million tons.
A member of Kentucky’s McLean family found coal in a farm field around 1913. Even though coal was harder to acquire than wood, in 1943 this family opened the ‘McLean drift bank’ which generated a plethora of competitive mining operations. Had it not been for the formation of Kentucky Coal Association in 1947, Kentucky might not have become the number one coal-producing state in the United States in 1972.