Located at the foot of Black Mountain in the heart of the state’s coal-mining country, Lynch, Kentucky (population 900) was founded in 1917 to house the workers of the U.S. Coal & Coke Co., later a subsidiary of U.S. Steel. The town was named for Thomas Lynch, the first president of the company, and at its peak, had a population of close to 10,000. In the 1950s the town was sold to the residents and incorporated in 1963.
Lynch’s showplace is Portal 31, where an outside walking tour features the mine portal, a black granite monument to former United Mine Workers President John L. Lewis, a memorial to workers who died in mining accidents, and the 1920s L&N Depot. Nearly completed, an underground rail-car tour through the mine will include animated exhibits along the route. The Lamphouse Museum, built in the 1920s to provide headlamps and other lighting for miners, showcases historic and contemporary coal mining tools.
Every summer, Lynch, along with neighboring towns Benham and Cumberland, hosts the Tri-City Grand Reunion, a festival that offers music and a range of activities celebrating the area’s Appalachian heritage. The First Frontier History Audio Driving Tour, which starts in Cumberland Gap, takes visitors on a 220-mile self-guided journey through the mountains, including a stop in Lynch and the Tri-City area.
Designated a Preserve America Community in November 2005.