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Program 1222

1. Cumberland Gap
2. Lilley Cornett Woods
3. Fitchburg Furnace
Season 12 Menu

Dr. Clark’s Kentucky Treasures | Introduction | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Bell County

For more information:

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, U.S. 25E South, P.O. Box 1848, Middlesboro, KY 40965-1848, (606) 248-2817

The Way In

Cumberland Gap and the Narrows

Cumberland Gap provided a path for early settlers through the Allegheny Mountains, which had long been an obstacle to westward expansion. The Narrows, a gap in Pine Mountain about 15 miles north, made a way for the settlers to get from the mountains to the open lands of Central Kentucky and beyond.

Dr. Thomas Walker left the first record of a white man passing through Cumberland Gap on April 13, 1750. By 1810, nearly 300,000 people had come through the gap or the Narrows along the Wilderness Road to start America’s great westward migration.

Kentucky Life Program 716 includes a segment on early mapmaker Thomas Walker and Bell County history.

Letcher County

For more information:
Lilley Cornett Woods, 91 Lilley Cornett Branch, Hallie, KY 41821, (606) 633-5828

Towering Trees

Lilley Cornett Woods

“Lilley’s Woods,” as Dr. Clark called it, is one of the few remaining places in Kentucky that are unchanged from the way settlers found them more than 200 years ago. Purchased by Lilley Cornett after he returned home from service in World War I, the 250-acre patch of forest contains trees dating back more than 400 years. This rare example of virgin forest lets us see how the Eastern Kentucky mountains looked before the first settlers came through the Cumberland Gap.

Lilley Cornett Woods is administered by Eastern Kentucky University as an ecological research station. Hiking and picnicking are permitted at designated times of year, though large groups must make advance arrangements.

Estill County

For more information: Fitchburg Furnace, c/o Daniel Boone National Forest, 1700 Bypass Rd., Winchester, KY 40391, (859) 745-3100

Smelting Pot

Fitchburg Iron Furnace

Fitchburg Furnace, in Estill County, was built in 1868 by brothers Frank and Fred Fitch. At the time, Kentucky was the third largest iron producer in the nation.

When it opened, the furnace was thought to be the largest stone furnace in the world. The Fitches planned to make iron on a grand scale, on the order of 10,000 tons a year. But bad timing soon put an end to Kentucky’s chance to become a major player in the iron industry. Better iron ore deposits were found in other parts of the country, better furnace technology became available, and a financial panic forced the Fitches to close their furnace in 1873.

Kentucky Life visited several other historic iron furnaces around the state in Program 204.

Dr. Clark’s Kentucky Treasures | Introduction | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

SEASON 12 PROGRAMS: 120112021203120412051206120712081209121012111212
1213121412151216121712181219122012211222: Dr. Clark’s Kentucky Treasures

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