Page name: Wheelright [Logged in view] [RSS]
2009-03-31 14:38:44
Last author: Hedda
Owner: Lothuriel
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Please Note: These images are FREE to use stock for art reference, photo manipulation etc. You may use them without restriction except for the historical photographs (see website info below).  You do not have to credit me each time you use them, however a link back would be appreciated. If you have questions or comments, please feel free to email me

Thanks and enjoy!
Please see also Reference Pictures
Go to Photographing Kentucky
All historical black and white photos in this wiki are from the Russell Lee Collection at the Still Pictures Branch of the National Archives.

Please visit the Wheelwright Historical Society's website

I am still searching for the history on this one. It was the pharmacy when I was growing up, but, to be honest I am not sure what it was before that.
The vined doorway to the old Library/Dentist office. I think this building was originally built in 1942 but, I might be mistaken on that.
The inside of the library/dentist office now lies in ruin. The Historical Society of Wheelwright is considering renovation.
Built by Inland Steel circa 1935, the Grand Hotel is the largest standing structure in Wheelwright today.  It contained a hotel, a community hall, post office, restaurant, barber shop, soda fountain, and drug store.
This is what it looked like in the 1940's
Inland Steel Build this mines in 1930, it was the first to be built and the only one (to my knowledge) still standing today. A photo of this entrance in 1946:
Along both sides of this old road, were houses where the miners and their families lived. Now, it is private property but, the owner was nice enough to let me photograph some of the area. To the left of the photo is the original sidewalk poured around 1935.
This photo is out of place with the others but, I'll leave it. It is the Wheelwright High School Gym. The rest of the school was torn down in the 90's and this gym is used as part of a chruch.
The foundation of one of the original flats remains, along with hand carved steps.
A bench now sets in the spot that used to hold a home of a miner's family.
The first building, I am not too sure of but, the second is the original town hall and police dept built in 1945 and dedicated in 1946.

At the dedication in 1946
Some of the original houses still being used by the residents of Wheelwright. Most of these identical homes were built in the 1950's and used by the miners and their families.
One of the original libraries built by Andrew Carnegie. It has seen a few restorations of course....
The oldest house in Wheelwright built in 1890 (?) and used for the post master and the postal workers. They would stop there and rest before their next run (horse). Sadly, the original stone post office built around 1850, was burned to the ground by stupid people a few years back. The empty parking lot is a grim reminder of history lost forever.
Again, a better view of the original Town Hall.
Stairs to the Bath House
The foundation is all that remains of the Bath House. Very sad sight if you ask me but, it is being remodeled for a good cause.
My assistants, Lex and Eebo

/ [Lothuriel] /Go to Photographing Kentucky

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2008-07-07 [Cia_mar]: ah... ok well i have not visited too many of them lately... suppose i should see mine and see what is up there too

nice shots
look forward to seeing more

2008-07-07 [Lothuriel]: thanks!!

2008-07-11 [Daisy le Fleur]: So jealous! I'd kill to get a location like this to shoot! =)

2009-11-11 Rusty Carter: That has to be the most painful set of pictures I have ever viewed. The stupidity of destruction is sickening.

2009-11-11 [Lothuriel]: Um, I think I might agree with you...that is if you mean it is sickening to see Wheelwright go to waste? Are you from that area?

2010-05-02 Gwendolyn Pennington: My mother, Donna Jane Clifton, was born and raised in Wheelright. Her father, Joffrey Wade Clifton and maternal grandfather, Harry Benner were coal miners in Wheelright in the 1930's and 1940's. After my mother lost her father, she and my maternal grandmother, Shirley Mae [Benner] Clifton, moved to Balto. MD., to obain work. My mother resided in Baltimore until her death in 2005. She always wanted to return to her beloved home of Wheelright KY. and to her, it was her heaven. I'm curious to visit Wheelright on day, to experience the beauty that she spoke of. Is there any way that I could find out where her house was? Of course, she is no longer with us, to ask these questions to. Thank you for this website and the photos.

2010-05-13 [Lothuriel]: That is a wonderful story. :) Thanks for stopping by. If you would like to email me at, I will do my best to help you out. I am friends with a couple of the members of the Wheelwright Historical Society. Hopefully they will be able to point us in the right direction. If we can pinpoint where she lived, I can send some photos to you. It's pretty much a near-ghost town these days but, it still holds so much history and beauty.

2010-09-19 Joyce A.W.C: 2010-09-19---Joyce A. W. C.
Pam, thanks for sharing these awesome pictures. I grew up with the folks of Wheelwright. I did not live in town but went to school (elementary/high school)there. My dad was a coal miner and oh, what a beautiful town and group of people we had living in the area. The Inland Steel Corporation did a great job when they laid out that lovely little piece of Heaven. It was so clean, every house white-washed to perfection, and there was nothing the town did not have (golf course/swimming pool/pool hall/bowling alley/company store, dept store, dental office/police & jail house/doctor's office/dry cleaners/churches to choose from....a perfect role model town for that time period. Me, I was a country girl--lived on a small farm about 6/7 miles out, did not live in town but lived between Buckingham & Bevinsville (where Osborn Elementary School is today). I rode the bus to Wheelwright each day for school. I went to the elementary school that sat on the hill in town by the place where the miner's went into work and the bath house---then later to the High School where I was very active and had so much fun! Today, when I return to the area to visit, it is hard for me to go to town. I want to but it hurts so bad to see the ruins of something that was so beautiful and had so much life. When Inland Steel Corp moved out, it left the folks devastated--a lot moved away quickly for work but some stayed behind where their hearts will always be. I don't visit there anymore but I can shut my eyes any day of the week and see this little piece of Heaven! These memories will live in my heart forever! For the lady who had the grandmother, Shirley Mae (Benner) Clifton---Oh how I wish she could have got back home just one time before she passed away, but just know that your grandmother experienced a little piece of Heaven here on earth prior to her going home to Heaven. I'm glad she remembers it the way it was back then and not today! I sincerely hope you can go to Wheelwright someday to visit but please know at one time this was the most beautiful little town in America. When you look at these ruins, please know out of all this came some beautiful, happy smiles/faces, that went on to do well in life and they will forever be grateful for their little piece of Heaven called "Wheelwright" where it all started! This little town produced some awesome folks...This was a "Happy Town" and it was people helping people always. The best folks in the world lived here! Thanks Pam once again for sharing these photos that are so real to my heart! These pictures hurt because of the ruins, etc. but nothing can take away the pictures I have stored in my heart. They are "REAL" forever! Life goes on but we never forget where we come from and the little town and the wonderful, loving, people who got us on our path to where we are today! I'm so thankful to them all---the town, the people, Inland Steel Corp., the Elementary and High Schools. I had so many wonderful teachers who will live in my heart forever and the friends I made are like my brothers/sisters forever! Yes, the town is pretty much a near-ghost town but it has so much beauty which will live forever in our hearts and the history---well, I could go on and on! On any given day--you can close your eyes, and be still for a moment, and you can hear the laughter, and giggles of these happy people who will live in our hearts forever! 

KY folks are real, no fake, no phony. If we love you, we love you forever and 'LOVE IS THE FOUNDATION." Thanks again for sharing! Note: I knew some Pennington's who lived in "Upper Burton"...just below Wheelwright Junction. I think their house is still there today! Let's hope someday, our little piece of Heaven gets a face-lift and life returns as it once was. If not, we can say "It Lived" and it made a difference in so many folks lives. Thanks Pam, for sharing your awesome pictures! I graduated in 1960!! Was in the band, majorette for 4 years and had a super, active fun time at Wheelwright H.S. These folks will live in my heart forever! 

2010-09-19 [Lothuriel]: Thank you so much Joyce! Wheelwright will forever hold a special place in my heart. You may know my family; Carol Sue, Sharon and Nancy Hall; Ronnie Hall and Michael Hall? My grandparents were Eva Mae and Sid Hall.

2013-06-04 [maiani]: I wish there were updated comments on this thread. Gwendolyn Pennington, if you see this, you and I are half cousins. My mother was born in Wheelright, and was older half sister to your mother. We have the same grandfather. I would love to speak with you. :)

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