Wheelwright, where did you go?

Miners working the mine portal in Wheelwright
Miners working the mine portal in Wheelwright

Looking at Wheelwright, than and now.

People seemed to enjoy my last BLOG on the subject of my home town. I thought I would get a little more detailed with this post. Several of Wheelwright's dilapidated buildings were once so much more. Next to the current city hall stands a block building, missing a top due to ignorance, that is now an eye sore. It sits collecting water and mildew, wasting away into nothing. That was never it's intentions though. That block disaster once was the Inland Steel bath house. That building was a shower house for the miners to clean themselves before they ventured home to their families. It also served as a place to pick up your check after a long week's work.

If you venture up a little and go to the post office and masonic lodge you will see what I would call a masterpiece of architectural design. The post office building is a beautiful piece of work, but just to the right you will see a building that is anything but pleasant to look upon. It's walls are mangled by neglect and many holes exist as the result of troubled youth. It's second floor sports a large black singed hole where a teen hiding from the law on a cold night set a fire to keep warm. (yes, he did get caught) Inside you will find beer bottles and cans and various debris. At one point this was not the contents that the building hosted. It once served home to books, and pictures. It was the Wheelwright Library that so many people in the state of Kentucky talked about. Now it is a shell awaiting demolition.

Just above that you will find the clubhouse. At one point this was the mecca of this small town. Rooms for rent that rivaled anything a 5 star hotel could accomplish. It had a fine diner that served the populace with charm and facade. In the basement was the bowling ally. That is right a bowling ally. Now that alley is caving in. It once kept patrons entertained with alluring games of bowling and good conversation. Now the only conversation is by those who sneak in and sit on make shift benches to drink beer and talk about how bad the town is. I wonder if they ever stop to think how much worse it has been made by the attitude they exhibit sitting there polluting a historical landmark.

Outside the clubhouse one can find the war memorial. Any town would be honord to have such a grateful emblem of hope. Not Wheelwright. The concrete structure is decaying at a rapid rate. Several of the brass name plates that tell the names of those who gave all for this country have been stolen, not by family members wanting to keep them safe, but by people selling the brass for profit. Several times people have tried to remove the brass back plates and do the same. The flag still flies, of course it is riddled with holes and is as dingy as a punk rocker's jeans. The black fence that shields it has become rusted and worn.

Let's go further up the road to a place called Sharp Fork, or as we all know it Hall Hollow. (Hall Holler if you are from around here) A church stands to the left of the road, slanting out toward the pavement. It was once the home of the African American church folk here. Its walls would echo stories that would touch the coldest of hearts. An amazing blind man by the name of Dunbar used to wail the piano with such expertise he would literally have made Elton John jealous. Now the foundation has crumbled. The building has slanted so much that windows have managed to pry themselves open, or simply burst under the pressure.

In the same quaint little hollow is the boarding house. It was once the clubhouse of Hall Hollow's african population. It was an inn that any person would be proud to have stayed in. Now it has a hole the size of a car in the roof. The very floor upstairs is bowed to the extent of 1 foot. It was supposed to become a halfway house but the outlook is still bleak.

I assume that by reading this you think I hate my hometown, or am shamed of it. This is not true. I love Wheelwright. I always have. I am merely expressing my concern that these historic sites have been allowed to waste away and be lost in time. Once again I encourage you to take pride in your home town.

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Comments 13 comments

lorddraven2000 profile image

lorddraven2000 6 years ago from Wheelwright KY Author

Anyone have a simular story?

Cheeto 6 years ago

I liked

lorddraven2000 profile image

lorddraven2000 6 years ago from Wheelwright KY Author

Thanks. I am goimng to do a few follow ups if I can ever get the time.

Leslie 5 years ago

A very interesting read Sam, I really enjoyed it.

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lorddraven2000 5 years ago from Wheelwright KY Author

Thanks Les, so when you coming back to see all of us.

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xDeadxGirlX 4 years ago

I honestly hate it, every time i return there it is a cold reminder of my old life, although it used to be beautiful, but if the right people were in charge it could be so much more. it's pretty "f.u.b.a.r.d"

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lorddraven2000 4 years ago from Wheelwright KY Author

I would agree with that. I would love to see it be a glorious town again.

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xDeadxGirlX 4 years ago

Only way I could see that happening, if it's population actually cared more.

but not enough people do. or will probably ever.

some people just got to keep hope I guess.

Dave Chafin 3 years ago

You have not been back for a long time. Wheelwright has been made over it is clear of the old buildings which you can see in your mind still standing in all there old glory.

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lorddraven2000 3 years ago from Wheelwright KY Author

Actually I live there and am the head of the historic society. The old library is gone, clubhouse gone, and the bath house is falling apart. I am not sure what you are seeing but I do think you may be a bit mistaken.

Donna Cook 2 years ago

I grew up in Wheelwright. My Dad Curt Cook, worked for Inland Steel and he and my Uncle Junior Little put the TV cable system in as well as a TV repair shop. It was a great place to grow up and I wish my children could have seen it in all its glory. But Wheelwright was not the only place this happen to look at Wayland and all the other small towns in the area.

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lorddraven2000 2 years ago from Wheelwright KY Author

Donna you are right. When inland left it ripped the very heart out of these once great coal towns.

Larry Gullett 14 months ago

I was raised in Wheelwright and left there to keep from going into the mines and went into the military not because I dis-liked Wheelwright, but like others around town we needed jobs that weren't there. Wheelwright is my home town and I will always love it, but the people was what made the town what it was. Think for a minute what it is like to drive through town and wave to all the people sitting on their front porch who waved back. Yes it was quite a town and not to be forgotten by those who grew up there. Still love it.

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