Pine Mountain Settlement School is an over 100-year-old institution focused on environmental stewardship, cultural and heritage preservation, health education, and agricultural development in the central Appalachian region.



 An in-depth digital look at the collections associated with the history of the School. The collections include photographs, documents, biographies, objects, video collections and other materials that describe the institution from its beginnings in 1913 to the present day. Many documents are available in FULL TEXT. Work is on-going.


Pine Mountain Settlement School_logo


The programs at Pine Mountain Settlement School have evolved to meet the changing needs of the community and region. Today’s programs focus on environmental education and educational support for students in local schools.

The Pine Mountain Settlement School mission reflects a history of multiple enrichment programs for the local community and beyond. Once a boarding school with a progressive educational curriculum, recent programming has moved away from residential education to multi-faceted offerings of short-term environmental, cultural, medical, social and agricultural courses and workshops.

Though “hidden” and largely inaccessible for many years, the materials in the rich local archive are being organized, digitized and offered in a growing website that contains the School’s historical record. The School’s archive contains many historical treasures regarding life in the Southern Appalachians from 1913 until the present. This website attempts to bring some of these unique holdings to the attention of scholars, former students, former workers and the communities of interest both near and far.






LITTLE SHEPHERD TRAIL When Marguerite Butler took her hike to Jack’s Gap on August 14, 1914, an ascension of some 2,800 feet up the north face of one of Kentucky’s most unique and rugged mountains, she did not complain.  John Fox Jr. didn’t complain either. He memorialized the journey in his The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come about a young man’s coming of age as he traveled from Big Black Mountain across Pine Mountain, down the Kentucky River and into the Civil War. Today many visit the overlooks of Harlan and Letcher counties from atop Pine Mountain by driving along the Little Shepherd Trail. Originally a forester’s trail for quick access to hard to reach forest areas, the trail was upgraded by the CCC in 1933-37 and in 1961-62 an additional 21 miles were added by the Kentucky Division of Forestry staff at Putney, Kentucky. The troubled history of this rustic but noble trail is explored in a description of its past, present and future.

THE GUIDE TO COMMUNITY FAIR DAYS at Pine Mountain Settlement School explores through photographs, programs, and narratives  the nearly 95 year old tradition held in the Fall at the School. Come join in the celebration on Saturday, August 27, 2016.


ANTIOCH COLLEGE CO-OP AT PMSS describes a program that supplied a steady stream of practice teachers for Pine Mountain Settlement School in the 1920s and 1930s. The page portrays this partnership using excerpts from letters and narratives written at the time and which are now part of the PMSS Collection. Also featured is a list of the names of many of the work/study students and hired teachers who came from Antioch to teach at PMSS.

The Co-op program began at Antioch College over 90 years ago and continues to be a signature part of the college’s curriculum today. At the time, it was an innovative program that was a good fit for both Antioch College and PMSS.

VII 52 LIFE WORK CHILDREN AND CLASSES [Part I- 85 images] Includes students in 1960s. David Saylor ; Tony Ely ; Vickie Hoskins ; Celest Lehigh ; Norma Lewis ; Glenda Callahan ; Flora Johnson ; Evelyn Wilder ; Anita Baker ; Evelyn Wilder ; Delora Turner ; Danny Boggs ; Dwight Baker ; Eddie Hoskins ; Ray Cox ; Ernie Huff ; Sue Cox ; Sue Gross ; Myria Watkins ; Steve Wilder ; Rodney Huff ; Billie June Lewis ; Vicky McCoy ; Hollis Boggs ; Debbie Turner ; Bobby Bo Callahan ; Glenda Callahan ; Brenda Lewis ; Clyde Wilder ; Connie Cornett ; Mark Workman ; Lorene Lewis ; Doris Merrill ; Jerry Day ; Don Wilder ; Norma Callahan ; Debbie Middleton ; Connie Cornett ; Audry Shepherd ; Pattie Whitaker ; Suzie Whitaker ; Don Boggs ; Kathy Wilson ; Bonnie Lewis ; Anita Baker ; Artie Merrill ; Barbara Callahan ; Kathy Brown ; Jerry Caldwell ; Judy Hoskins ; Julian Turner ; Titus Boggs ; Mina Jane Huff ; Chloe Middleton ; Rickey Turner ; Kitty LeHigh ; Judy Turner ; and others.

VII 52 LIFE WORK CHILDREN AND CLASSES [Part II – 55 images] Continues VII 52 Life Work – Children & Classes Part I and covers students in the classes of Mrs. Campbell, Mrs. Whitaker, Mrs. Wilson and others. Photographs were largely taken in 1965.

VII 63 LIFE WORK MAINTENANCE, FARM, GROUNDS [123 images] Maintenance and work at the Pine Mountain Settlement School Campus. Multiple pages. Automobile mechanics ; auto repair ; gasoline ; gas station ; gasoline pump ; planting garden ; tractors ; sorghum ; gardening ; maintenance ; farm ; farming ; rock work ; roofing ; stone walls ; Boyd Harris ; Brit Wilder ; Hobart Wilder ; Jess Patterson ; Omer Lewis ; Lonnie Lewis ; Julian Lewis ; Burton Rogers ; Gib Lewis ; Fred Lewis ; Asrel Browning ; Burkham School House ; Farm House ; bee keeping ; apiaries ; composting ; sowing ; painting ; ditch digging ; butchering beef ; seeding ;

VII 64 LIFE WORK MAINTENANCE, FARM, GROUNDS [66 images] Maintenance and work at the Pine Mountain Settlement School Campus. Tags: William Hayes ; Hobart Wilder ; chickens ; Ayrshires ; cows ; farms ; farming ; barns ; silos ; pastures ; model farms ; sheep ; chicken houses ; tractors ; hay baling ; corn ; fodder ; stock ponds ; Jesse Patterson ; sugar cane ; sorghum ; syrup ; mills ; cane ; sorghum pans ;

VERTICAL FILES The vertical files at Pine Mountain Settlement School contain a varied collection of materials that relate to the School, to Harlan County and to the broader Appalachian region. The material is rich in Harlan County newspaper information and collected material for the Settlement Schools of the Southern Appalachians (SIA) and related institutions. Largely comprised of newspaper clippings and publications, the collections also contain some primary source material. The VERTICAL FILES online are currently available only as a list. No online access to full text is available at this time.

THE ROAD – LADEN TRAIL From Katherin Pettit regarding progress on the Laden Trail, c. 1920:

You’d be interested in the preliminary report Mr. Obenchain [State Engineer] has just gotten out. On this side of Pine Mountain, there is a rise of one foot in every 1.34 feet (less than 45 ‘degrees). The distance through the mountain is 1-7/8 miles, but we shall need almost 12 miles of road at $6,000 a mile, with an ascent of five feet in every hundred feet. Some undertaking!

Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections Website Launched
on H-Net Commons and H-Kentucky, June 1, 2016

 Dr. Randolph Hollingsworth , Assistant Provost, University of Kentucky; President, H-Net:Humanities & Social Sciences On-Line,H-Kentucky and currently editor of H-Kentucky on a recent visit to PMSS, described the goal of the digital network: [It] “…seeks to create an online collaborative environment to facilitate communication and the exchange or scholarly and pedagogical ideas among teachers, researchers, scholars, advanced students, and related professionals (e.g. local historians, librarians, archivists, genealogists), all in an open, democratic, respectful and non-partisan manner. H-Kentucky especially welcomes those who are interested in Kentucky, as well as those in any history/humanities field who live and/or work in Kentucky.” For instructions on subscribing to H-Kentucky go to:




Comments and feedback regarding the material on this website or on the institutional history are welcomed. Please contact office@pinemountainsettlementschool.com or (606) 558-3571 with your inquiries and comments. We welcome your identification of people and activities on our site and, particularly, corrections to the record.

Comments directly on the website are not enabled.








USE AGREEMENT (Reproduction Request Form)


Many of the texts included in this site have been automatically generated using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software. In some cases these texts have not been manually reviewed or corrected.

OCR enables searching of large quantities of full-text data, but it is not 100% accurate. The level of accuracy depends on the print quality of the original publication and its condition at the time of microfilming. Publications with poor quality paper, small print, mixed fonts, multiple column layouts or damaged pages may have poor OCR accuracy.


Any PUBLIC use of material must properly cite Pine Mountain Settlement School in the following manner:

 “[Identification of Item],” [Collection Name] [Series Number, if applicable]. [date], Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY. [date accessed]


The manuscript collections and archival records in the Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections may contain sensitive and/or confidential information that may be protected under federal and state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers who wish to publish and users who may share material from the Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections are advised by this notice that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in some collections within the Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g. may be a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy if facts concerning an individual’s private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person.) for which Pine Mountain Settlement School assumes no responsibility.

If you believe that your privacy rights have been invaded please notify the following. 


See INDEX TO COLLECTIONS for an overview of collections and series.