Martin’s Fork Time Machine

First and foremost before I begin this entry I want to give credit and thanks to the Martins Fork Lake Facebook page for sharing these photos. Ever since I was small I have always wondered what the land looked like before the lake was built at Smith. So, with great gratitude I thank the folks who control the lake’s social media page for having the thoughtfulness and courtesy to share these wonderful archives with us.

 
Martins Fork Lake Construction (Mid-Late 1970s) Im starting off the photos with what I consider to be the holy grail of the bunch. This photo is looking toward the bridge nearest the beach. Imagine that little road running up and down the middle is the road along the beach area. If you look closely you can see the roof of the old Smith School and the rock church near the center. Im shocked at how flat this area was. Martins Fork Lake Construction (Mid-Late 1970s)
This second picture is looking off toward the lake from the last bridge. In fact, to this day, if the water is down far enough you can still tell where this bridge was that is in the picture.
Martins Fork Lake Construction (Mid-Late 1970s) The rest of the photos are pretty self explanatory, but fascinating no doubt. Martins Fork Lake Construction (Mid-Late 1970s)

The last picture is an old welcome sign that was at the lake until the 1980s according to the lake’s Facbook page.
Martins Fork Lake Construction (Mid-Late 1970s)

I also have a couple of other entries that includes more historical pictures from Martins Fork Lake and the Smith community that I posted a few years ago, if you are interested in reading those articles you can do so by clicking  the links below:

Smith Kentucky; A Glimpse To The Past, Present and Futrue

Smith Presbyterian Church

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Adiós mi amigo hermoso Taco Bell

for as long as I can remember I (and probably anyone around my age) have heard my parents talk of a place called Denny Rays. Apparently Denny Rays was a drive in Sonic type restaurant where all of the young people went. This Taco Bell was my Denny Rays. Ive spent many nights in the early and mid 2000’s hanging out and wasting time in this building.
Taco Bell -- Harlan, KY
One of my favorite memories from this Taco Bell was from the days when my friends and I thought we were destined for fame as independent film makers (lol). We would film a while, then go hang out at Taco Bell for a few minutes or few hours. After all, the Taco Bell bathroom vestibule is where Krazi Girl broke free from to wreak havoc on Walmart once again.
Taco Bell -- Harlan, Kentucky Late last week a friend of mine messaged me and told me that this Taco Bell would be closed and a new building built in its place. Not to be overly dramatic or too sentimental, but my heart sank. All those memories. All that character. Once I done a little snooping and asking, I discovered that yes it was true and that the original Taco Bell in Harlan would close at the end of the day on Saturday March 25. Taco Bell -- Harlan, Kentucky
naturally, with a milestone such as this in my life coming to a close, you know I have to devote a blog entry and flickr photo album to this store. When I went to visit for the final time on Saturday I heard the store manager say that they hoped to have the building demolished by Wednesday (March 29).
Taco Bell -- Harlan, Kentucky The store was originally opened in September 1994 and was one of the last stores to have the brown taco bell signage that I can remember……as late as 2010. Taco Bell -- Harlan, KY
I took some interior photos that day, and some exterior photos this morning, as thats probably the last time I will see this landmark of my youth standing. Adios original Taco Bell…..I am going to miss you, but at the same time a part of me is excited to see it updated. Its a conflicted feeling, but regardless, this old building will hold a special place in my heart and memories.
Taco Bell -- Harlan, Kentucky Taco Bell -- Harlan, Kentucky
Taco Bell -- Harlan, Kentucky Taco Bell -- Harlan, Kentucky
Taco Bell -- Harlan, Kentucky Taco Bell -- Harlan, Kentucky
Taco Bell -- Harlan, KY

FOUND! Kmart #9610 — Village Center Mall — Harlan, Kentucky

If you havent caught on yet I have a fascination with many things.  If Im “into something”  Im in it for the longhaul and almost obsess over it for long periods of time.  One of my obsessions is Kmart, another is my home town of Harlan, Kentucky.

I come from a generation of Harlanites (yes its a word) whose primary retail destination as a child was Kmart and the other stores located at the Village Center Mall.   Walmart didnt arrive in Harlan until 1991.  Until then Kmart and Magic Mart had the corner on the mass merchandiser market in town.

Sadly, the Kmart store in Harlan closed in the spring of 1995.  The memories of this store still stay with me today.  Naturally with the advent of the internet I have always thought that a photo would pop up of the actual store.  Those wishes had not came true until last weekend when I stumbled upon a website known  as Vintage Aerial.  I immediately searched for Harlan County and discovered that there were sets from the early to mid 1980s on dozens of sets of photos.  It took me the better part of an evening, but I finally found it.

Kmart in Harlan KY -- 1984

I can close my eyes and almost taste the superman ice cream from the deli. The future isnt bright for Kmart as a chain. As Ive stated in this blog before, if (when) they finally go, I am probably going to be very dramatic, over react and travel a ton documenting the stores before they are gone. Someone has to do all three of those things right?
Kmart in Harlan KY -- 1984

Diving Into The Archives

Recently, and by recently I mean within the past 72 hours, I have been exposed to a vast array of historic aerial photography archives from my home town that are readily (with a fee) available to the public from as far back as 1952. The first that I decided to purchase is this shot:
1952 Aerial View of Where I live. For comparison as to what you are looking at here is the same image marked with where my house is now. 1952
For even further reference for anyone familiar (IE family) Here is notations of what each building was that showed up on the land in 1952.
1952 None of these structures are still around today. Its really neat to see a visual representation, especially from the air to show what I have heard my grandmother and my parents and aunts and uncles talk about for years and years. For a representation of how things have changed in this little community I took a screen shot of the most recent google earth image (fall 2016) from the same exact location 2015 Aerial View of my Neighborhood
If you notice in the 1952 photos the road has clearly just been constructed as the banks where they blasted the mountain off hasnt grown back at all. You can also make out the old road if you look close enough. According to my dad the old road crossed the river right across from my house and went across and around the other side of the river. You can see that the culvert right by my house has clearly not even been installed yet. Its amazing to me that you can find things such as this on the internet. A lot has changed in 65 years. If you would like more information about these aerial photography archives visit the site by clicking HERE

The L&N Open Truss Train Bridge in Cawood Has Left The Building

abandoned railroad bridge//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
It’s always a shock when you are driving along a road that you’ve traveled your entire life and all of the sudden a huge landmark is completely missing. That’s what happened to me today as I drove past Cawood. I looked over, like I always have, to peer at the rusty trusses of the old railroad bridge that crossed the river. They werent there. The bridge is gone. I had to turn around and drive down the lane to where you could access the bridge and sure enough, the bridge was completely gone.
Site of truss railroad bridge -- Cawood, KY//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
Of course, what blog entry would be complete without a little history lesson. So for those of you interested, here goes. This bridge, as well as the one at Neff was built by the American Bridge Company in 1910. This rail line remained active well into the 1980s. Once it was abandoned the bridge was retrofitted as a pedestrian bridge to carry foot traffic to a community park. I remember an article in the paper last year where the county wanted the railroad company to sign the bridge over to the county or they would abandon it or something to that effect. Apparently the two couldnt come to an agreement.
InstagramCapture_5148e056-eb38-4fb6-bcf4-905d94a3cff1.jpg//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
These truss bridges are quickly becoming a very rare find. I hate to see another one go, especially so close to home.

Betty Howard Coal Miner’s Memorial Theater –Harlan County, Kentucky

The Betty Howard Coal Miner’s Memorial Theater is located in the town of Benham, Kentucky in northern Harlan County.  Benham is a former company town built by Wisconsin Steel subsidiary International Harvester in the 1910s and 1920s.
Betty Howard Theater -- Benham, Kentucky//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
The theater was built by the coal company in 1921. Over the years as with many coal company towns, the theater and other buildings fell into disrepair. Benham, however is a great success story of preservation and rejuvenation. On July 21, 1983 the theater along with most of the other buildings surviving in Benham were placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Betty Howard Theater -- Benham, Kentucky//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
That includes the theater. The town sought for private funding to restore the theater. In December of 2006 the theater was re-dedicated.

Konica Monochrome Disposable: Expiration 1999

One of my favorite things to do is experiment with old, expired film.  I ran across this disposable Konica camera on ebay for roughly 6 bucks with shipping so I thought I would give it a try.  A neat note about this camera and film is that even though black and white 35mm film is usually more expensive to process, this is monochrome film so I was able to have it processed with the standard C-41 process.  This camera expired in 1999 and considering the film is going on 20 years old, I was pleased with the results.  Enjoy.

Konica Minolta Monochrome Disposable 35mm

Konica Black & white disposable  Exp 1999 Konica Minolta Monochrome Disposable 35mm

Konica Minolta Monochrome Disposable 35mm Konica Minolta Monochrome Disposable 35mm

Konica Minolta Monochrome Disposable 35mm Konica Minolta Monochrome Disposable 35mm

Konica Minolta Monochrome Disposable 35mm
One thing I will remember, this film requires a lot of light. The picture above was taken shortly after daybreak and the little flash just didnt provide enough boost to lighten the photo.