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Historic mine

Historic mine, KY, USA

It took 32 years to turn the idea into reality, but an old, historic coal mine has reopened to visitors in Lynch, Ky., near the Virginia border. Portal 31 was opened by the old U.S. Coal & Coke Co. in 1917, produced a world record 12,820 tons of coal in a nine-hour shift in 1923 and was mined until 1963, Dori Hjalmarson of the Lexington Herald-Leader reports. "It's the best exhibition mine in the country, maybe the world," Bruce Ayers, president of Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, whose Southeast Education Foundation will oversee the operation of the tourism attraction, said. (Herald-Leader photo by David Perry)

The Disney World-like attraction will follow an animatronic Italian immigrant miner and three generations of his family on a 30-minute rail car ride through the mine. The tour starts with 1910-era hand mining and continues through 1960s mechanization. The attraction is the latest example of Harlan County's increased emphasis on tourism, Hjalmarson reports. The county opened ATV trails in nearby Evarts and is home to the Kentucky Coal Museum. Ayers hopes Lynch's remote location won't deter visitors from coming to see the mine: "We're trying to use the remoteness as part of the attraction.



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