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.
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.
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.
The rest of the photos are pretty self explanatory, but fascinating no doubt.
The last picture is an old welcome sign that was at the lake until the 1980s according to the lake’s Facbook page.
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
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.