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.
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.
That includes the theater. The town sought for private funding to restore the theater. In December of 2006 the theater was re-dedicated.
The First National Bank of Iaeger was founded in 1918 in the McDowell County town of Iaeger.
The First National Bank Of Iaeger in West Virginia printed $287,830 dollars worth of national currency. That is a pretty standard output. However, some types of currency from this bank could still be rare. This national bank opened in 1918 and stopped printing money in 1930, which equals a 13 year printing period. That is actually quite brief in terms of bank existence. During its life, The First National Bank Of Iaeger issued 4 different types and denominations of national currency.
War bills itself as West Virginia’s southern-most city. War is located on state highway 16 about 15 miles south of Welch. War was the home of Big Creek High School, Homer Hickam’s alma mater.
War was incorporated as a city in 1920. The population of War peaked in 1950 at 3,992. According to the 2014 census estimate the town has a population of 793.
A true testament to how preserved and dead the downtown area of Iaeger is would be the Montgomery Ward Building in Iaeger. Iaeger’s downtown district is basically a long rectangle shape with buildings along the outer edge of the three sides. Most of the businesses here have closed over the past years. The few that have remained, right down to the post office have moved out onto US 52 on the other side of the river.
This is the former Melvin Grade School located in Melvin, Kentucky.
The school is located along state highway 466 in southern Floyd County. The school was originally constructed in 1949 and replaced a one room school at nearby Abner and a three room school at nearby Weeksburry.
The Melvin Grade School served the community for nearly 40 years. A neat picture of 8th grade class from 1985 can be found by clicking HERE
The school closed at the end of the 1997-98 school year. The grounds currently serve as the grounds for a junk yard.