Lynch Kentucky [Part II: Lynch High School]

Lynch High School opened its doors in 1924.  The entire town of Lynch, including the public schools were paid for and ran by the US Coal and Coke Company which is a subsidiary of US Steel.   The schools, along with many of the other company constructed buildings in town were built of cut sand stone.  Many people believe that US Steel thought they would be in Lynch mining coal for more than a century.

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Lynch High School is next door to the old Lynch Graded School I covered in this blog earlier.  It is a large, two story building made of cut sandstone.  Most of the windows have been borded up in the front, I assume this was done because some idiots had nothing better to do than let their kids go out and break the window panes.

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As you can see in this photo and the one to follow, the front door is secure and boarded up.

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I love the attention to detail the stone masons made to this building.  Every stone is cut and laid perfectly.   In 1924 that had to take some talented and hard working people.

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Around to the side, I found this side entrance wide open.

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Im not really sure what has happened in this room….If something caused the wall to fall, or if someone caused the wall to fall.  This is the room just inside the side entrance.

hs5This shot was taken just as you enter the side hallway, well….as you climb over the debris in the side hallway.

hs6 The stairwell on the left side of the building.

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One of the classrooms inside the building.   I cant get over at how large these rooms were.  They were humongous.

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They really believed in using chalk boards at Lynch High School apparently.

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HS11Sadly, US Steel wasn’t in Lynch for over a a century.   In 1981 the Lynch School District merged with the Harlan County School District and Lynch High School closed.  Students from Lynch were sent to Cumberland High School.

It’s such a shame that what was once the largest coal mining town in the world has buildings like this that arent being utilized.  These buildings should be restored and used for something.  Anything.  I if the city of Lynch or Harlan County could apply for promise zone funds to restore these buildings to be used for some kind of job location such as a call center or customer service center?  The money is out there and these buildings are in dire need of attention and being saved.  I just cant stress enough how beautiful these buildings are, I would love to have saw them and Lynch in their glory all those years ago.

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7 thoughts on “Lynch Kentucky [Part II: Lynch High School]”

  1. The Stones you are talking about were actually cut out of a rock cliff area above Lynch I can’t remember the name. The men who built the schools also cut out the stones, my grandfather used to talk a lot about how the schools were built. It is my understanding there is a cut out area where they got the stones on the old mining road that goes around Lynch toward the upper end on the left side of the highway. If I find out the name I will post it.

  2. Thank you for posting this and the post before it about these schools. You are right, it is sad to see them decaying and neglected. They were already in pretty bad shape in the early 90’s when I was around. The high school was nowhere near this bad back then. I wish I’d have taken pictures.

  3. So very sad to see our old school in such deterioration. It could have been turned into something grand before all the destruction took place. It would have been a landmark such as is the Benham Schoolhouse Inn is. What a terrible waste! Lovely marble floors and awesome memories going to ruin……

  4. I serve on mission teams in this area (since 2005) and it is like a second home. My good friend, Bob Lunsford tells me about the school and how his wife was the valedictorian of her class at that school. We even have a Lynch bulldogs tshirt…lol.
    From what I have read about the “Promise Zone” grants, it would be perfect for the money to go to restoring or using the buildings for something.
    Thanks for all the info!

  5. Those buildings are filled with asbestos and the foundations are breaking down (cracks in the walls through the stone) and it would be very expensive to renovate them. Plus the City would have no way of keeping them up once they were renovated. I attended both the Elementary and the High School (1946-1958) and have a lot of memories there. Several years ago, probably around 2008 there was some talk about trying to renovate the High School through donations from alumni but that fizzled out. Even the expense of demolition would be more than the city could afford. I had heard at one time that a company out of Knoxville, TN was going to purchase and demolish the Big Store for the stone but it, like the schools are still standing. The “Colored School” was not built of native stone as was the East Main buildings. I lived right across the street from the east door of the “Colored School” for most of my childhood, up until I left there in 1958.

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