Like so many others around this area, Cannel City in Morgan County, Kentucky has a colorful past, all tied to coal.
At one time Cannel City had a population of from 1.000 to 1,500 people, hundreds of houses, a high school, bank, commissary, roller rink, hotel, movie house, church, private grocery stores (Caudill Brothers. George Neal and Taylor Day had stores), Cannel City Gas Company, Cannel City Telephone Company, Cannel City Recreation Club, oil wells, the Kentucky Block Cannel Coal Company, and the O&K Railway.
Cannel City became known as the largest cannel coal field in the world and its cannel left Caney Valley on the O&K Railway to be shipped to the Great Lakes region, Europe, and South America. Coal buyers came from Paris and London to stay at the Hotel DeLancey and enjoy the hospitality of East Kentuckians while buying coal.
The usefulness of cannel coal, however, declined once coal gas, then electric lighting, became commonplace. The mine shut down in the mid‑1930s, then the railroad. By the 1940s it was all over and today no more than a few dozen people reside in Cannel City, but there are a few remains of what was once a boom town.
Cannel City School still stands at the bend in the road on state route 191. When it opened in 1938 it was an elementary – middle and high school all in one.
I’ve not been able to pinpoint a closing date, so if anyone out there knows, please comment. It’s such a large, beautiful building. I’m guessing it closed sometime within the last decade or so.
I would love to get inside of a building like this, as it looks well preserved. It is also, however, secured and locked tight at all ends.
This is the side of the building nearest the bend in the road and next to the post office.
The corner stone says 1936, but as far as I can tell through research, the school didn’t open until the 1938-39 school year.
This has to be the smallest free standing post office I have ever witnessed.
Cannel City, Kentucky 41408
This Caboose serves as a monument to the community’s past heritage and relationship with the railroad. The park, DeLancey Park is named after the hotel that once stood at the center of the community. This church was built in 1905, it appears to have been abandoned for many years.