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.
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?
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.
Snow isnt a rarity here in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky. In fact there is a pretty good chance you will see some of the stuff from late October all the way to late April around here. It is however a rarity that we get big snows….This last storm, Jonas was the third in the past 11 months to dump more than a foot on the bluegrass state. Thats pretty astonishing, and pretty rad for snow lovers for sure. These are a few of the photos Ive taken around the house since the storm hit, seeing as how my cars are still stuck in the driveway and probably will be for a few more days….Im getting a touch of cabin fever. Enjoy.
I have been out at the lake with my fuji instax wide film camera today and I am very excited to share the results. If you are thinking of diving into the instant camera arena I cant suggest this camera enough. You can find them fairly cheap now and the film isnt that bad either. The results are fantastic. Enjoy.
Merry Christmas to all of my readers and followers. Enjoy your day!
Cumberland Middle School or historically known as Cumberland School is located in the city of Cumberland, Kentucky in the northern part of Harlan County.
The school was fun
The school was completed in 1936 and was funded by the Federal emergency Administration of Public Works.
The building is a very long shape that is kind of shaped like an elongated U, with the gymnasium shooting off at one end. The building archetect was John T. Cillio and was built by Harlan Construction Company.
This structure served as a K-8 school for the city of Cumberland until the new Cumberland Elementary School which served students in grades K-4 from Cumberland, Benham and Totz Elementary Schools.
From 1993 until 2001 this building served as the newly formed Cumberland Middle School which served all students in the tri cities area in grades 5-8.
In 2001 faced with aging facilities and a budget problem, the Harlan County School Board voted to close Cumberland Middle School along with Verda Elementary and Loyal Elementary Schools.
At the end of the 2000-2001 school year approximately 280 students were sent to Cumberland Elementary and Cumberland High School from the closed Cumberland Middle School with 5th and 6th grades going to the elementary school and the high school absorbing the 7th and 8th grades.
The facility is now home to several community agencies and is utilized to a great degree.