All articles in Senate section

RECOGNIZING THE CITY OF JENKINS, KENTUCKY
(Senate - February 14, 2013)

Text of this article available as:
        


[Pages S755-S756]
               RECOGNIZING THE CITY OF JENKINS, KENTUCKY

  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I stand before you today to recognize 
and salute the city of Jenkins in Letcher County, KY, as they celebrate 
100 years of rich State history.
  Jenkins's roots reach back before its official incorporation. Four 
smaller communities combined to form the city of Jenkins when 
Consolidation Coal Company purchased 100,000 acres of coal lands in 
eastern Kentucky. Consolidation Coal's director, George C. Jenkins, 
became the city's namesake in 1912 when it was officially founded. The 
communities that joined together, Dunham, Burdine, Jenkins, and 
McRoberts, helped build the new city, which grew quickly. On January 9, 
1912, the Commonwealth of Kentucky recognized Jenkins as a city of the 
sixth class, and by April 20 of the same year, its government was 
established.
  The people of Jenkins had an important role to play in the State--
mining the ``Cavalier'' coal that earned the reputation as the best 
coal in Kentucky. The success and importance of their work further 
facilitated the expansion of the city, and within a few years a bank, 
grocery store, sawmill, brick plant, hospital, bakery, drug store, post 
office, jail, hotel, recreation center, and a few churches and schools 
all opened to serve the population of the area.
  Today, citizens of Jenkins enjoy the incredible Appalachian heritage 
as much as the beautiful mountains and scenery that surround them. The 
picturesque surroundings of the southeastern Kentucky mountains, and 
the Pine Mountain area, are on display in Breaks Interstate Park, known 
as ``The Grand Canyon of the South,'' and in places like the Raven Rock 
Golf Course. Set in this environment is ``Jenkins Homecoming Days'' and 
the

[[Page S756]]

Zegeer Museum, which celebrates the history and culture of the town. 
These highlights speak to the hard work and dedication of the citizens 
of Jenkins in the past century, especially their pioneering work in the 
coal mining and railroad industries, which the Zegeer Museum details 
wonderfully.
  At this time, I would like to ask my colleagues in the U.S. Senate to 
join me in honoring the city of Jenkins as we look back in appreciation 
on their storied past, and recognize the diligent work of the residents 
to keep up the traditions and build a bright future.
  I also ask unanimous consent that an article from the Mountain Eagle 
noting Jenkins's rich history be printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                [From the Mountain Eagle, June 13, 2012]

        100 Years of Mining History Displayed at Jenkins Museum

                            (By Marcie Crim)

       With the City of Jenkins celebrating its centennial this 
     year, there is much to learn about the town's history, and 
     the David A. Zegeer Coal-Railroad Museum is a good place to 
     begin.
       In the fall of 1911, Consolidation Coal Company purchased 
     100,000 acres of coal lands in Pike, Letcher, and Floyd 
     counties from the Northern Coal and Coke Company. A site was 
     selected for a town to be named in honor of George C. 
     Jenkins, one of the leading citizens of Baltimore and a 
     director of Consolidation Coal. By the time Jenkins was 
     incorporated in 1912--containing the communities of Dunham, 
     Burdine, Jenkins, and McRoberts--construction of the town was 
     booming.

       Consolidation Coal built Elkhorn Lake to supply water to 
     run the turbines in a power plant. The company constructed 
     several businesses to serve the new residents of Jenkins--a 
     bank, grocery store, sawmill, brick plant and a hospital that 
     was built in 1915. Also built were a bakery, drug store, post 
     office, jail, hotel, recreation center, churches and schools.
       Jenkins was a town built to serve one purpose--to mine the 
     ``Cavalier'' coal that was to become known as the best coal 
     in Kentucky--and its history is on display at the Zegeer 
     Museum located on Main Street in the old train depot.
       The museum is named in honor of a former employee of 
     Consolidation Coal and its successor in Jenkins, Beth-Elkhorn 
     Coal Corp. Zegeer joined Consol in Jenkins in the late 1940s. 
     When the company sold its Letcher County operations to 
     Bethlehem Steel in 1956, Zegeer became division 
     superintendent. He retired as manager of Beth-Elkhorn in 
     1977.
       In 1983, Zegeer was confirmed as Assistant Secretary of 
     Labor for the U.S. Department of Mine Safety and Health 
     Administration (MSHA) in 1983, until retiring in 1987. 
     According to Lois Greer, the current curator of the museum, 
     Zegeer was ``a company man, but he really cared about the 
     people in this community.''
       Zegeer also became interested in the history of Jenkins, 
     and in conjunction with another resident of Jenkins--Marshall 
     Prunty, president of Roberts and Schaeffer Co.--compiled a 
     videotape of the history of Jenkins based on 145 photographs 
     taken during the years of 1911 through the early 1930s and 
     various publications and interviews with some of the oldest 
     living residents. The documentary, entitled ``Birth of a 
     Mining Town, Jenkins, Ky.,'' is available for purchase at the 
     museum.
       Many pieces of Jenkins history can be found at the museum, 
     from photos of the town's construction to various examples of 
     mining equipment--everything from hard hats to breathing 
     devices, dinner buckets, head lamps and more. Also on display 
     is the sword of ``Bad'' John Wright, also known as ``Devil 
     John,'' an infamous former resident of Letcher County. Many 
     of the exhibits in the museum are on loan from current and 
     former residents of Jenkins.
       Lois Greer is a friendly woman who has called Jenkins home 
     for many years. She loves to talk about the history of the 
     town and tell stories of the people and buildings that once 
     called Jenkins home. She's more than happy to walk visitors 
     through the various rooms at the museum, pointing out 
     photographs that show coal camp houses, community centers 
     that no longer exist, and grand buildings that were later 
     taken by fire. She said attendance has been down at the 
     museum lately, but she expects it will pick back up come 
     August when the celebration begins in earnest.
       As Jenkins prepares to celebrate its 100th birthday, the 
     museum is the perfect place to dive in and begin exploring 
     the history of coal mining in Letcher County. You can leave 
     with DVDs to watch at home, folk art made from lumps of shiny 
     black coal, and postcards showing photos of the town's 
     construction and subsequent boom years. You'll also walk out 
     with enough knowledge to make you want to start Googling the 
     history of Jenkins to find out more.
       Jenkins is a proud town with a singular story to tell--a 
     story of building a town from scratch, digging it out of the 
     earth to be settled solely for the purpose of mining coal.
       To contact the museum, phone 606-832-4676.

                          ____________________




    

All articles in Senate section