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Whitesburg City

Whitesburg City Hall is located at 38 East Main Street, Whitesburg, KY 41858; phone: 606-633-3705.

Whitesburg was founded in 1842 and incorporated in 1876. It is named for Kentucky congressman, John D. White.

Beginnings [1]

A post office opened in 1843 under the name, Whitesburgh Court House. It is not known when the "Court House" was dropped from the town's name, but in 1892 the "h" was dropped and the community has been known as Whitesburg from that time forward.

From all accounts, the community remained a small, rural, county seat throughout the nineteenth century. A 1922 retrospective in the local weekly newspaper noted that Whitesburg's original architecture was of log, including a two-story building on Main Street which contained a store on the first story and attorney James Fitzpatrick's law office on the second. The previous year, the newspaper reported that all but one of the community's pre-Civil War buildings had been razed.

The community grew slowly until the beginning of the second decade of the twentieth century when the Louisville and Nashville Railroad was built into Whitesburg. The railroad's expansion into the community came in the wake of development of the Letcher County coal fields, which was spurred by D. D. Fields, a Whitesburg mineral engineer and attorney. Fields (1853-1927) began life as an engineer and for more than fifty years was a local attorney and served as judge. At an early age he was employed by the Mineral Development Company of Philadelphia and induced them to explore the coal deposits in Letcher County. They became the first developer of the Letcher County coal fields.

  1. David L. Taylor, Principal, Taylor & Taylor Associates, Whitesburg Historic District, Letcher County, KY, nomination document, 2006, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
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