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Program 425

1. Barthell, a restored coal town
2. professional clown Nick Wilkins
3. doctor/artist James Golden
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McCreary County

For more information:
Barthell Coal Camp, P.O. Box 53, Whitley City, KY 42653, (888) 550-5748

Producer, videographer: Gale Worth


Coal Camp

The rebuilding of Barthell

During the first half of the 20th century, Barthell, in McCreary County, was just one of Eastern Kentucky’s many coal-mining company towns. When its mine shut down, it seemed destined to suffer the same fate—most of its buildings were dismantled in 1952. But thanks to the efforts of long-time residents Harold and Marilyn Koger, Barthell has new life today.

In an effort to show people what life was like in the coal towns of a bygone era, the Kogers reconstructed it right down to the company store. It’s part tourist attraction, part educational display, and part tribute to the miners who risked their lives daily to extract the “black gold” from Kentucky’s mountains.

Harold Koger died in 2003, but the Barthell Coal Camp lives on as a window into Kentucky history. It offers lodging, dining, and guided tours of the camp and the mine.

Watch This Story (5:19)




Warren County

Producer: Barbara Deeb


Serious Fun

Professional clown Nick Wilkins

For Nick Wilkins of Bowling Green, clowning around is serious business. An alumnus of both the Ringling Brothers Clown College and the Ringlings’ famous “Greatest Show on Earth,” Wilkins makes his living as Broadway the Clown. And yes, he does do children’s parties. In this segment, Kentucky Life follows him to one and peeks behind the scenes as he applies his makeup and prepares to make ’em laugh.

Watch This Story (5:50)




Bell County

Producer: Janet Whitaker


Golden Art

Doctor and artist James Golden

The children of Pineville have their own local hero: Dr. James Golden, who delights them each year with fancifully carved Halloween pumpkins. Years ago, this country doctor turned to art to relieve the stresses of his profession. He began creating whimsical sculptures from found objects and started a project of photographing every type of wildflower that grows in Appalachia. He even found a way to combine his vocation with his avocation by inventing a unique method for making unusual photographs from X-rays.

Watch This Story (8:29)


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