Eastern Kentucky Coalfield

"Eastern Kentucky" redirects here. For the community in Floyd County, see Eastern, Kentucky. For the university, see Eastern Kentucky University. For that school's athletic program, see Eastern Kentucky Colonels.
Counties of the Eastern Mountain Coal Fields of Kentucky.[1][2]

The Eastern Kentucky Coalfield is part of the Central Appalachian bituminous coalfield, including all or parts of 30 Kentucky counties and adjoining areas in Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia and Tennessee.[3] It covers an area from the Allegheny Mountains in the east across the Cumberland Plateau to the Pottsville Escarpment in the west. The region is known for its coal mining; most family farms in the region have disappeared since the introduction of surface mining in the 1940s and 1950s.

The Daniel Boone National Forest is located on rough but beautiful terrain along and east of the Pottsville Escarpment. There are many natural arches and sandstone cliffs that are excellent for rock climbing and rappeling. The Red River Gorge, part of the National Forest, is known worldwide in rock climbing circles.

The Sheltowee Trace Trail runs 420–430 km north and south through the region.

During the American Civil War most of this region leaned toward the Union due to its makeup at the time of mostly small farmers, but more than 2,000 men from this area formed the 5th. Kentucky Vol. Inf., known as the Army of Eastern Kentucky, under Gen. Humphrey Marshall, C.S.A. During the Great Depression, New Deal programs and the organizing of the United Mine Workers of America made many of the eastern counties Democratic.

Eastern Kentucky has a rich musical heritage. A large number of nationally acclaimed country music singers and musicians are from the area. These include: Loretta Lynn, Crystal Gayle, The Judds, Ricky Skaggs, Keith Whitley, Patty Loveless, Dwight Yoakam, Tom T. Hall, Billy Ray Cyrus, Jean Ritchie, Sturgill Simpson and George S. Davis.

As of the 1980s, the only counties in the United States where over half of the population cited "English" as their only ancestry group were in the hills of eastern Kentucky (and made up virtually every county in this region).[4] In the 1980 census, 1,267,079 Kentuckians out of a total population of 2,554,359 cited that they were of English ancestry,making them 49 percent of the state at that time.[5]


The Eastern Kentucky Coalfield covers 31 counties with a combined land area of 13,370 sq mi (34,628 km²), or about 33.1 percent of the state's land area. Its 2000 census population was 734,194 inhabitants, or about 18.2 percent of the state's population. The largest city, Ashland, has a population of 21,981. Other cities of significance in the region include Pikeville, Corbin, and Middlesboro. The state's highest point, Black Mountain, is located in the southeastern part of the region in Harlan County.


FIPS County Code
County seat
Bell County 013 Pineville 1867 Harlan County and Knox County Joshua Fry Bell, Kentucky legislator (1862–1867) 30,060 361 sq mi
(935 km2)
State map highlighting Bell County
Boyd County 019 Catlettsburg 1860 Greenup County, Carter County and Lawrence County Linn Boyd, United States Congressman (1835–1837; 1839–1855) and Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky (1859) 49,752 160 sq mi
(414 km2)
State map highlighting Boyd County
Breathitt County 025 Jackson 1839 Clay County, Perry County and Estill County John Breathitt, Governor of Kentucky (1832–1834) 16,100 495 sq mi
(1,282 km2)
State map highlighting Breathitt County
Carter County 043 Grayson 1838 Greenup County and Lawrence County William Grayson Carter, Kentucky state senator (1834–1838) 26,889 411 sq mi
(1,064 km2)
State map highlighting Carter County
Clay County 051 Manchester 1807 Madison County, Floyd County, and Knox County Green Clay (1757–1828), military general and surveyor 24,556 471 sq mi
(1,220 km2)
State map highlighting Clay County
Elliott County 063 Sandy Hook 1869 Morgan County, Lawrence County, and Carter County John Lisle Elliott or John Milton Elliott (1820–1885), legislators 6,748 234 sq mi
(606 km2)
State map highlighting Elliott County
Floyd County 071 Prestonsburg 1800 Fleming County, Montgomery County, and Mason County John Floyd (1750–1783), surveyor and pioneer 42,441 394 sq mi
(1,020 km2)
State map highlighting Floyd County
Greenup County 089 Greenup 1803 Mason County Christopher Greenup, Governor of Kentucky (1804–1808) 36,891 346 sq mi
(896 km2)
State map highlighting Greenup County
Harlan County 095 Harlan 1819 Knox County Silas Harlan (1753–1782), soldier in the Battle of Blue Licks 33,202 467 sq mi
(1,210 km2)
State map highlighting Harlan County
Jackson County 109 McKee 1858 Madison County, Estill County, Owsley County, Clay County, Laurel County, and Rockcastle County Andrew Jackson, President of the United States (1829–1837) 13,495 346 sq mi
(896 km2)
State map highlighting Jackson County
Johnson County 115 Paintsville 1843 Floyd County, Lawrence County, and Morgan County Richard Mentor Johnson, Vice President of the United States (1837–1841) 23,445 262 sq mi
(679 km2)
State map highlighting Johnson County
Knott County 119 Hindman 1884 Perry County, Letcher County, Floyd County, and Breathitt County James Proctor Knott, Governor of Kentucky (1883–1887) 17,649 352 sq mi
(912 km2)
State map highlighting Knott County
Knox County 121 Barbourville 1799 Lincoln County Henry Knox, United States Secretary of War (1785–1794) 31,795 388 sq mi
(1,005 km2)
State map highlighting Knox County
Laurel County 125 London 1825 Rockcastle County, Clay County, Knox County and Whitley County Mountain laurel trees that are prominent in the area 52,715 436 sq mi
(1,129 km2)
State map highlighting Laurel County
Lawrence County 127 Louisa 1821 Greenup County and Floyd County James Lawrence (1781–1813), naval commander during the War of 1812 15,569 419 sq mi
(1,085 km2)
State map highlighting Lawrence County
Lee County 129 Beattyville 1870 Breathitt County, Estill County, Owsley County, and Wolfe County Robert E. Lee (1807–1870), Confederate general or Lee County, Virginia 7,916 210 sq mi
(544 km2)
State map highlighting Lee County
Leslie County 131 Hyden 1878 Clay County, Harlan County and Perry County Preston Leslie, Governor of Kentucky (1871–1875) 12,401 404 sq mi
(1,046 km2)
State map highlighting Leslie County
Letcher County 133 Whitesburg 1842 Perry County and Harlan County Robert P. Letcher, Governor of Kentucky (1840–1844) 25,277 339 sq mi
(878 km2)
State map highlighting Letcher County
Magoffin County 153 Salyersville 1860 Floyd County, Johnson County and Morgan County Beriah Magoffin, Governor of Kentucky (1859–1862) 13,332 310 sq mi
(803 km2)
State map highlighting Magoffin County
Martin County 159 Inez 1870 Floyd County, Johnson County, Pike County, and Lawrence County John P. Martin, United States Congressman (1845–1847) 12,578 231 sq mi
(598 km2)
State map highlighting Martin County
McCreary County 147 Whitley City 1912 Pulaski County, Wayne County and Whitley County James McCreary, Governor of Kentucky (1912–1916) 17,080 428 sq mi
(1,109 km2)
State map highlighting McCreary County
Menifee County 165 Frenchburg 1869 Bath County, Montgomery County, Morgan County, Powell County and Wolfe County Richard H. Menefee, United States Congressman (1837–1839) 6,556 204 sq mi
(528 km2)
State map highlighting Menifee County
Montgomery County 173 Mount Sterling 1796 Clark County[8] Richard Montgomery (1736–1775), military general killed at the Battle of Quebec 22,554 199 sq mi
(515 km2)
State map highlighting Montgomery County
Morgan County 175 West Liberty 1822 Bath County and Floyd County Daniel Morgan (1736–1802), Revolutionary War general 13,948 381 sq mi
(987 km2)
State map highlighting Morgan County
Owsley County 189 Booneville 1843 Breathitt County, Clay County, and Estill County William Owsley, Governor of Kentucky (1844–1848) 4,858 198 sq mi
(513 km2)
State map highlighting Owsley County
Perry County 193 Hazard 1820 Floyd County and Clay County Oliver Hazard Perry (1785–1819), Admiral in the War of 1812 29,390 342 sq mi
(886 km2)
State map highlighting Perry County
Pike County 195 Pikeville 1821 Floyd County Zebulon Pike (1779–1813), discoverer of Pike's Peak 68,736 788 sq mi
(2,041 km2)
State map highlighting Pike County
Powell County 197 Stanton 1852 Clark County, Estill County, and Montgomery County Lazarus Whitehead Powell, Governor of Kentucky (1851–1855) 13,237 180 sq mi
(466 km2)
State map highlighting Powell County
Rowan County 205 Morehead 1856 Fleming County and Morgan County John Rowan, Congressman from Kentucky (1809–1811; 1825–1831)) 22,094 281 sq mi
(728 km2)
State map highlighting Rowan County
Whitley County 235 Williamsburg 1818 Knox County William Whitley (1749–1813), Kentucky pioneer 35,865 440 sq mi
(1,140 km2)
State map highlighting Whitley County
Wolfe County 237 Campton 1860 Breathitt County, Owsley County, and Powell County Nathaniel Wolfe (1808–1865), member of the Kentucky General Assembly 7,065 223 sq mi
(578 km2)
State map highlighting Wolfe County

Major cities

The following list consists of Eastern Kentucky cities with populations over 4,000 according to the U.S. Census estimates released in 2014:[9]

Ashland, the region's largest city.
Rank City Population 2014 County
1 Ashland 21,335 Boyd
2 Middlesboro 9,872 Bell
3 London 8,126 Laurel
4 Flatwoods 7,405 Greenup
5 Pikeville 7,327 Pike
6 Corbin 7,308 Whitley and Knox
7 Mount Sterling 7,178 Montgomery
8 Morehead 6,978 Rowan
9 Hazard 5,346 Perry
10 Williamsburg 5,274 Whitley
11 Paintsville 4,258 Johnson
12 Grayson 4,105 Carter

Protected areas

Natural Bridge State Resort Park

Historical parks

State resort parks

State recreational parks

Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park



The region's economy is centered around the vast amount of natural resources available, which includes coal, timber, natural gas, and oil. Recently, tourism has become a leading industry in the region, due to the region's unique cultural history and the creation of state parks.

Calgon Carbon constructed the Big Sandy Plant near Ashland in 1961 and it has since became the world's largest producer of granular activated carbon. The facility produces in over 100 million pounds of granular activated carbon annually.[10]

Appalachian Regional Commission

The Appalachian Regional Commission was formed in 1965 to aid economic development in the Appalachian region, which was lagging far behind the rest of the nation on most economic indicators. The Appalachian region currently defined by the Commission includes 420 counties in 13 states, including all counties in Kentucky's Eastern Coalfield. The Commission gives each county one of five possible economic designations—distressed, at-risk, transitional, competitive, or attainment—with "distressed" counties being the most economically endangered and "attainment" counties being the most economically prosperous. These designations are based primarily on three indicators—three-year average unemployment rate, market income per capita, and poverty rate.[11]

From 2008-2010, "Appalachian" Kentucky—which includes all of the Eastern Coalfield and several counties in South Central Kentucky and a few in the eastern part of the Bluegrass region—had a three-year average unemployment rate of 10.2%, compared with 9.3% statewide and 8.2% nationwide.[12] In 2009, Appalachian Kentucky had a per capita market income of $16,923, compared with $24,290 statewide and $32,562 nationwide. From 2007-2011, Appalachian Kentucky had an average poverty rate of 24.8%—the highest of any of the ARC regions—, compared to 18.1% statewide and 14.3% nationwide.[12] Twenty-three Eastern Mountain Coal Field counties—Bell, Breathitt, Clay, Elliott, Floyd, Harlan, Jackson, Knott, Knox, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, McCreary, Menifee, Morgan, Owsley, Powell, Rowan, Whitley, and Wolfe—were designated "distressed," while six—Carter, Johnson, Laurel, Montgomery, Perry, and Pike—were designated "at-risk." Two Eastern Coalfield counties were designated "transitional"—Boyd and Greenup. No counties in the Eastern Coalfields region were given the "attainment" designation or were designated "competitive."

The following table illustrates the economic status of each county.[12]

County Population (2010)[13] Unemployment Rate (2011)[14] Per Capita
Market Income (2010)[15]
Poverty Rate (2007–11) Status (2014)[12]
Bell 28,691 13.2% $13,863 32.5% Distressed
Boyd 49,542 9.0% $22,299 19.1% Transitional
Breathitt 13,878 10.4% $14,622 30.0% Distressed
Carter 27,720 12.2% $15,318 17.8% At-Risk
Clay 21,730 13.7% $11,882 36.5% Distressed
Elliott 7,852 12.2% $10,480 31.9% Distressed
Floyd 39,451 10.2% $17,121 27.3% Distressed
Greenup 36,910 9.6% $23,844 16.1% Transitional
Harlan 29,278 10.6% $15,746 31.1% Distressed
Jackson 13,494 16.2% $10,360 35.6% Distressed
Johnson 23,356 10.0% $16,252 21.5% At-Risk
Knott 16,346 11.1% $14,715 24.5% Distressed
Knox 31,883 11.6% $15,304 36.4% Distressed
Laurel 58,849 10.8% $17,956 20.6% At-Risk
Lawrence 15,860 11.2% $14,917 25.8% Distressed
Lee 7,887 12.4% $11,631 31.5% Distressed
Leslie 11,310 12.5% $14,791 23.2% Distressed
Letcher 24,519 10.2% $16,547 26.0% Distressed
Magoffin 13,333 12.6% $12,198 30.1% Distressed
Martin 12,929 16.6% $14,387 37.6% Distressed
McCreary 18,306 10.3% $9,680 30.9% Distressed
Menifee 6,306 15.2% $11,475 27.8% Distressed
Montgomery 26,499 10.6% $19,438 23.2% At-Risk
Morgan 13,923 12.0% $12,463 25.8% Distressed
Owsley 4,755 11.6% $10,667 39.3% Distressed
Perry 28,712 10.2% $18,818 26.4% At-Risk
Pike 68,736 7.8% $20,205 22.2% At-Risk
Powell 12,613 12.2% $15,961 28.7% Distressed
Rowan 23,333 8.4% $17,160 29.0% Distressed
Whitley 35,637 10.8% $16,773 26.8% Distressed
Wolfe 7,355 13.6% $10,331 42.1% Distressed

Post-secondary education

Morehead State University

Public universities

Private colleges and universities

Community and technical colleges

Notable residents

See also


  1. http://wayback.archive.org/web/20080328072411/http://www.uky.edu/KentuckyAtlas/map-kentucky-geologic.gif
  2. "National Digital Newspaper Program: The Kentucky Edition, More about KY-NDNP: regions". Uky.edu. November 6, 2007. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  3. Eastern Mountain Coal Fields Retrieved on 2010-1-30
  4. James Paul Allen and Eugene James Turner, We the People: An Atlas of America's Ethnic Diversity (Macmillan, 1988), 41.
  5. http://www.census.gov/population/www/censusdata/files/pc80-s1-10/tab03.pdf
  6. "EPA County FIPS Code Listing". EPA. Retrieved 2007-04-09.
  7. 1 2 3 4 National Association of Counties. "NACo – Find a county". Retrieved 2007-07-22.
  8. "Montgomery County, Kentucky Genealogy". Kentucky Comprehensive Genealogy Database. Retrieved 2007-01-26.
  9. Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014 Population Estimates U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015-08-13
  10. Calgon Carbon Big Sandy Plant Retrieved 2014-03-21.
  11. Appalachian Regional Commission Online Resource Center. ARC. Retrieved: 2010-07-20.
  12. 1 2 3 4 County Economic Status, Fiscal Year 2014: Appalachian Kentucky Appalachian Regional Commission. Retrieved on 2014-05-16
  13. Census Population Change, 2000–2010: Appalachian Kentucky Appalachian Regional Commission. Retrieved 2013-05-20.
  14. Unemployment Rates, 2011: Appalachian Kentucky Appalachian Regional Commission. Retrieved 2013-05-20.
  15. Personal Income Rates, 2010: Appalachian Kentucky Appalachian Regional Commission. Retrieved 2013-05-20.
  16. Earle Combs / Baseball Legend

External links

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 8/5/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.