Benham Kentucky and The Kentucky Coal Mining Museum

Benham (population 599), a city in northern Harlan County was founded in 1911 as a coal mining company town by Wisconsin Steel, a subsidiary of International Harvester.  There are several buildings in the town that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  For the purposes of this entry I will focus on one of these buildings, The former Commissary which was built in 1923.

Benham1

The Kentucky Coal Mining Museum, housed in the former commissary building (1923), which is in the center of this photo, has became a regional tourist attraction. Three stories of exhibits feature the history of coal mining in Kentucky and the life of coal miners and their families. The Kentucky Coal Mining Museum features exhibits on a miner’s home, a company hospital, commissary, and school; engineering, coal sampling, a mock mine tour and the Loretta Lynn “Coal Miner’s Daughter” exhibit.  The Museum opened in May of 1994.

Benham3

Benham2

The Benham Post Office is located near the Kentucky Coal Mining Museum.

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