Photo and story supplied by Alma Louise (Kidd) Phillips.
to this site by: Dee Murphy
Justus Stearns of Mich. bought ??? acres of land in southern
Kentucky. Not long after coal was discovered on the land.
Then the Stearns Coal & Lumber Co. was born. The
company soon built the town of Stearns. This town
served as the business center of the mining and logging
business. There were over 15 coal camps spread out over the
land. They had their own General Store that served the
miners and the loggers. Justus Stearns owned the first
electric sawmill in Ky. and maybe the world. His company
built the Kentucky and Tennessee Railway. Some of the Coal
camps were named Barthell (now a thriving tourist area), Blue
Heron (now a swimming ground for the locals), Yamacraw, Comargo,
and many others. In 1907 the large office building was
constructed in what is now downtown Stearns. They used this
building until sometime in 1975 and now the Stearns Museum is in
the same building. Sometime in the 1950s the mines
started shutting down. At this time the camps started
becoming abandoned. By 1975 the Stearns Coal & Lumber
Co. had all but gone out of business. Around this time the
Blue Diamond Coal Co. who had bought up most of
Stearns holdings was operating. This company ran coal
until the mid to late 1980s. The whole town of
Stearns comprising of one block is now a historical area and is
being slowly but surely restored.
photo was taken on Christmas day, in the mid to late 30's in
The building was a theatre and is still standing. Above left was
the Mill pond and the Smoke stack which also served as the
whistle for the Stearns Coal and Lumber Co.
Each Christmas day, December 25th, Santa came to the theatre and
each child standing in line who talked with Santa, was given a
one pound box of candy.
If it was warm enough Louise Kidd Phillips was allowed to walk
the 1 l/3 miles to the theatre to see Santa Claus
Louise was taken by her sister Grace to see her first movie at
Tuesday, 18-Dec-2012 11:10:30 EST
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