Pine Mountain Settlement School


Lutrella Baker Album. Line Fork Settlement, 1937-41. Community gathering at Cabin.

Group portrait of community youth at Line Fork Settlement, 1937-41.

The Lutrella Baker Album is a collection of photographs taken at the Line Fork Settlement which was an extension settlement of Pine Mountain Settlement School some six miles to the west.  The photographs, taken in the late 1920’s to the beginning of 1940’s by various photographers document life at the satellite settlement school while it was under the direction of the Stapletons and then, the Rev. Richard Baker and his wife Lutrella.  Dr. Ida S. Stapleton and her husband the Reverend Robert Stapleton left Line Fork in 1937.  The album begins with photographs of the Stapletons and then many images of the Bakers.  The small album of 15 pages contains  41 photographs.

The album, called the Lutrella Baker Album is named for Lutrella Baker, Rev. Richard Baker’s wife.  Rev. Baker, a minister, not a physician, was charged with the management of  Line Fork Settlement in 1938 under the general direction of Pine Mountain’s director, Glyn Morris. The Bakers continued to be salaried and administered by Pine Mountain Settlement School. Lutrella, assisted with the education and industrial training programs at Line Fork, while the Rev. Baker was charged with programming and general site administration.  The photograph collection and album were donated to Pine Mountain by the daughter of Lutrella Baker who was one of two children in the Baker family at Line Fork.  The two children show up frequently in the photographs.

There does not appear to be a chronological order to the images and some images are difficult to date, but generally they provide an overview of the Baker’s time at Line Fork and a window on the physical facility and surrounding community. Compared to earlier images of the settlement, these images provide a graphic record of the changes in the community since the inception of the Line Fork programs in the 1920s.

With the Bakers, the settlement programs of Line Fork came to an end in 1941.  There were many reasons for the closure of the facility at Line Fork — economic, educational, religious, and social — but it largely was phased out due to the increasing drain on resources for Pine Mountain Settlement which was struggling to grow its increasingly important boarding school for high-school students. New buildings were being constructed at Pine Mountain, and the Infirmary was picking up most of the community medical needs. Harlan County was managing the local schools, and industrial training was fragmented and difficult to focus as mining dominated the work options and women struggled to keep families together as men left to work in the mines.

Following the departure of the Bakers in 1941, an artist,  Mr. Sanford, occupied the Cabin from April to June of 1941 and he was followed by B. McKnight and his family in July of the same year. Neither occupant was engaged in programming for settlement work or under the administration of Pine Mountain, though rental was collected by Pine Mountain School. There followed a series of renters of the Cabin until the main cabin burned and the second cabin soon followed the same fate.