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Van Lear

Trip Planner USA  /  Kentucky  /  Van Lear
Historic Sites
Van Lear is an unincorporated community and coal town in Johnson County, Kentucky, United States.HistoryIncorporated in 1912, the town was named for a director of Consolidation Coal Company (Consol), Van Lear Black. It owes its existence to the viable efforts of John Caldwell Calhoun Mayo. Mayo bought coal rights to land along Miller's Creek in Johnson County, which he later sold to Northern Coal and Coke, which in turn was later acquired by Consol.Consol built five miles of railroad into the Johnson County property with money loaned by Van Lear Black's Fidelity Trust. Eventually five coal mines were opened and operated in Van Lear from 1910 through 1946. The vast coal deposits were mined from five underground mines around the clock. The miners included immigrant Irish, Italians and Slavs, as well as Appalachians and locals. The mines were integrated; both blacks and whites worked underground. During the boom years the population surpassed 4000.In 1945 Consol merged with the Pittsburgh Coal Company, then divested itself of its Miller's Creek properties. The people who lived in company-owned housing were given first chance to purchase those homes and many did. However, most of the major buildings were torn down.
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