Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: Biography – Staff/Personnel
Series 03: Histories
Series 12: Land Use
Series 16: Events
WELLS RECORD 19 PMSS The Road 1913-1928
WELLS RECORD 19 PMSS Road 1913-1928 is a brief history written by Evelyn K. Wells, documenting the building and financing of The Road [Laden Trail] across Pine Mountain from Laden to Pine Mountain Settlement School.
TAGS: Evelyn K. Wells, Pine Mountain Settlement School, Harlan County, Kentucky, The Road, Laden Trail, roads, trails ; foot-paths, Harlan County Fiscal Court, Hurricane Gap, Poor Fork, KY, Rosspoint, KY, Incline, Ky, events, economics, infrastructure, loans, Celia Cathcart, Katherine Pettit, Ethel de Long Zande, Uncle William Creech, Columbus Creech, Zande House, mining camps, Logging camps, convicts, convict labor, economic change, PMSS endowment, students from mining camps, railroads, politics, race relations, standards of living, WWI, WWII, Intermountain Railway, freight rates, freight hauling, privacy
FOOT-PATHS TO ROADS
When Pine Mountain was started, there was a rough wagon road over the mountain from Rosspoint to Incline, fourteen miles each way from the School, and in the other direction, a road over Hurricane Gap to Poor Fork, about sixteen miles each way. Between those two points, there were only rough mule tracks or foot paths and early visitors to the school came over a trail that might be made impassable by the falling of a tree or the sliding of a boulder to say nothing of a washout. The need of a road therefore was obvious to the directors of the school, and they began to work for it at once.
At a meeting of the Local Advisory Board in 1913, it was decided to ask the Harlan County fiscal court to appropriate money for a good road over Pine Mountain. Early estimates place the cost of the road at $10,000, and in June 1914 at a fiscal court meeting, half that sum was appropriated, and the school started out to raise the other half by sending postcards asking for a dollar each to 5,000 people.
Miss Ethel de Long made several trips to Harlan in the fall of 1915 on road business, usually riding horseback both ways. The more they looked into the matter, the more expensive it proved to be. By the spring of 1917 engineers said the road would cost $50,000, and the plan was made for the school to raise half, and the state to give dollar for dollar. The School, however, had to raise the second half to loan the state, which promised to pay it back in annual installments of $1,200. These payments were to be put into our Endowment Fund. Miss Celia Cathcart, who had taught at the school in 1915-1916, went to work to raise the first half, in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky. Miss de Long, writing letters from the School, raised the second half, which was to be the loan to the state.
All this money-raising went on at a time when the School itself was barely struggling into existence and was committed to a heavy building program. Business conditions were unstable because of the war, and money was, therefore, harder to get.
One of the interesting events of the road campaign was Uncle Williams‘ visit to Louisville in 1917, where he was the guest of the
Woman’s Club Board of Trade and spoke on the need of the road. He was an impressive figure and made many friends for Pine Mountain.
In January 1918, surveying for the road began, though a preliminary survey had been made in 1915-1916. In May 1919, actual work on the road began, and by that time prices had soared so that we had to face the fact that the road was going to cost all of $100,000, the $50,000 we had raised would be only our half, and that none of it would come back to us for Endowment as we had expected. In 1922 the funds gave out, and the road had been graded only to the top of Pine Mountain. All the grading of this side and the final surfacing remained, and there was no more money.
Mrs. Ethel de Long Zande, therefore, went to Frankfort and after a month or so of lobbying, succeeded in having a bill passed which made the road a link in the chain of State Primary Highways between county seats, thus ensuring that, eventually, Kentucky would have to finish our road. At this point the School felt it could do no more; certainly it could not ask for any more contributions.
The hauling road down this side of the mountain was built by neighbors and county labor a couple of years later upon the further appropriation by the County of another $5,000. This hauling road which connects with the State road on top of the mountain does not follow the line of the permanent surveyed road.
This brief outline cannot attempt to go into the details of the matter — the tremendous efforts made, the complications of politics, engineers and surveyors, the crises when it seemed that work must stop, the journeys made at any minute and under any conditions. The Road correspondence is on file in the office, and Mrs. Holton (Miss Celia Cathcart) has full files also.
EVELYN K. WELLS Biography
ETHEL DE LONG ZANDE Biography
EVELYN K. WELLS GUIDE to Administrative Correspondence
RECORD OF PINE MOUNTAIN SETTLEMENT SCHOOL 1913-1928 [INDEX] (Early in-depth history of Pine Mountain Settlement School)
The following is a list of the 22 sections of Pine Mountain Settlement School History gathered by Evelyn K. Wells from 1913 to 1928:
3. Year by Year [Construction, Workers, Gifts, Children, Events, etc.]
12. Extension Work
18. Religious Life
19. The Road
22. List of Workers
EVELYN K. WELLS PUBLICATIONS
Wells, Evelyn K. The Ballad Tree: A Study of British and American Ballads, Their Folklore, Verse and Music, Together with Sixty Traditional Ballads and Their Tunes. New York: Ronald Press, 1950. Print.
EVELYN K. WELLS A Little True Blue American, Over Sea and Land: Our Southern Mountains, November 1920, p. 140.
EVELYN K. WELLS TALKS
EVELYN K. WELLS Harvard University talk, on Folk Music. July 21, 1955