1937 when the Bon Jellico mines closed, most of the houses, the tipple,
were torn down and nearly
all the residents moved away. A few houses were purchased and remained
for several years. The house across Briar Creek from Hwy 92 was owned by
the Lovitt family until the 1950’s; it burned in 2002. The Jim Stout
family purchased the Smith house across the cut from the Pemberton/Green/Hinkle
house; they lived there until the mid-1950’s. The house at the top
of Apple Tree Hill where Jim Pemberton and later W.A. Green and Kay Hinkle
lived is the only remaining house of the Bon Jellico camp (2007); actually,
this house belonged to the Richardson farm.
The land where Bon Jellico
camp and mines stood was purchased by the U.S. Forest Service; the area
1500 acres. Many pine trees
were planted and in the 1960’s picnic tables and fireplace/grills
were added with paths between the picnic sites. The entrance to the mine
was closed off. Two shelter houses were constructed in the picnic area.
The area was called Bon Hollow Park.
The City of Williamsburg was
deeded the Bon Hollow Park in 1970. For several years Bon Hollow Park
families to gather as well as the
venue for the annual Bon Jellico Homecomings. In the 1980-90’s several
Bon Jellico families wanted to develop the Bon Jellico site to show the
history of the Eastern Kentucky mining camps in the 1920’s and 1930’s.
This effort, lead by Ivan Bunch, obtained a grant for the construction
of an amphitheater at Bon Jellico and discussion ensued. (See City
Agrees to Form Own Bon Jellico Plan.) Many, though not all, of the picnic areas
were removed, the topology for an amphitheater was created, a concrete
pad for the stage was poured, and two comfort stations were constructed.
Although writers attended several of the Bon Jellico Homecomings and interviewed
residents, the anticipated play about Bon Jellico was never written. The
comfort stations were never completed nor was the stage of the amphitheater
ever used. The picnic sites, including the shelter houses, remained and
were used by the public but without significant maintenance services. The
City of Williamsburg cut the grass, cleaned the site, and provided portable
comfort stations for the Bon Jellico Homecoming from 1998-2002. In 1999-2001
the pine trees in the Bon Jellico Park were viciously attacked by the pine
bark beetles, quickly died, and the trees were removed.
In September 2003, there was no Bon Jellico Homecoming. However,
members of the B.F. Brown family visited the site Labor Day weekend. While
road to Bon Jellico coming off Hwy 92 was passable, the camp road was “washed” from
the heavy spring rains. The shelter houses were collapsing and vandals had
absconded with many of the tables. Grasses and weeds were “waist high” in
the area of the camp and trees were beginning to come back. In a few years
the site of the Bon Jellico camp may return to pre-1912 status.
Census History Employees Families Schools Church
Life in Old Bon Jellico Memories Photos
News Tidbits Surname Registry Brick Wall Queries Links
Guestbook What's New Contact
© 2007-present Remembering
Bon Jellico. All files on this website are copyrighted by their submitter and creator. They may be linked to, but may not be reproduced on another website or in any other form, without specific permission of
the submitter, owner, publisher and this site moderator. Although public records are as such not copyrightable, the manner in which they are presented, including the notes, comments, etc. are. The information on this site is provided free of charge, by volunteers, for your personal use