Railroad Street — Harlan, Kentucky

I am going to start a series of entries that will cover the sights of downtown Harlan.  Many people take these buildings and places and landmarks for granted and I really want to take a minute to at least spotlight them in my blog, before progress comes along and wipes some of them out.

One building in particular that I fear is nearing the end of its life is the old Jellico Grocery Company Warehouse on the corner of Main Street and Railroad Street.  In the past few years there has been noticeable change in its appearance, the front of the building has had the loading dock torn off, bricks and masonry materials are laying on the ground and it just looks ran down in general.  I’ve always referred to this area of Harlan as the warehouse district, and below you will see why I do.

hackney1Remains of the loading dock and front of the building as seen from Railroad Street.  The Jellico Grocery Company opened sometime before World War II in Harlan County, One reference point I came across on the internet was 1925, another was 1935.  I am thinking probably 1925.


In 1975 Jellico Grocery Company was purchased by the H.T. Hackney Company.  The warehouse in Harlan continued to operate for some time after this, although I can’t find a definite date.  So I am inclined to believe it closed sometime before 1985.


I suppose at one time, this was the main entrance to the warehouse?


As you can tell in this picture the railroad literally goes right by the front of the building.


I took this shot by accident and hated not to include it because I really like something about it.


In this shot you can see the Jellico Warehouse, next on that side of the street is a fairly newly constructed building with some healthcare related agencies as tenants.  Next is the former McCombs Supply Company complex which was several buildings all warehouse style construction as well.  On the left side of the railroad you have the semi-newly constructed Depot which is a semi-newly constructed building that sits in the same general area as the original Depot did in Harlan.  This building houses the Harlan County Cooperative Extension Offices.  Barely visible behind that you have the Kentucky Mine Supply building, home to arguably the most recognized sign in down town Harlan.


several years back, when I first developed an appreciation for photography and documenting community history I ran across a fellow online who had posted this picture above, and the picture below.  This was taken in 1973 from the same general area of Railroad Street.


In this photo you can see that the original depot was very large and long compared to the new building.  It looks to me as though it stretched almost the entire length of Railroad Street until it intersects with River Street.

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