Blackey, Kentucky

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Blackey is a city in Letcher County, Kentucky, United States. As of the 2000 census, the population was 153. It is located in the vicinity of one of the earliest English settlements, Indian Bottom. Blackey is thought to have been named after Blackey Brown, one of its citizens.[1]



The history of Blackey began in 1908, after local resident, Jim Brown, was given permission to establish post office on Elk Creek. He decided to name the post office "Blackey", after his brother Joseph "Blackey" Brown. Due to the areas massive coal deposits, the Lexington and Eastern Railroad ran a line through Blackey in November 1912. Over the next fifteen years, Blackey was transformed from a sleepy mountain town to a bustling modern city. It was charted in November 1912 and was incorporated on January 27, 1915 as a sixth-class city. In 1917, the Blackey Coal Company was established as the first coal company in Blackey. The company constructed thirty houses and employed eighty miners.[2]

In May 1927, a flash flood devastated the city. In one hour, the North Fork of the Kentucky River rose eighteen feet, killing 26 people in Letcher County alone. Later in December a fire broke out destroying most of the citys business district. Then in February 1928, another fire broke out and destroyed the rest of the town. Shortly afterwards, Blackey State Bank failed and the Great Depression ended the prosperity of the boom town.[2]

Today, Blackey is home to just over one-hundred fifty people, with only a few abandoned buildings and a few occupied homes on Main Street. But, within the last few years, the city has seen some revitalization consisting of a head start, a new city water system, and a public library.[2]


The Old Regular Baptist church is strong in Blackey, and the Indian Bottom Old Regular Baptist Church is located here. Just across a small bridge is the C. B. Caudill Store & History Center, operated by Gaynell Begley, was formerly a general store but has been converted into a history and community center.[3]


Blackey is located at 37°8′25″N 82°58′46″W / 37.14028°N 82.97944°W / 37.14028; -82.97944 (37.140413, -82.979368)[4].

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