Moving

Moving house onto railcar.
Transporting early Stearns Logging houses on K&T railway flatbed logging cars.

"It seemed like all the families were moving all the time."

In each of the structures you visit today, you will hear more than one voice. In most cases there is no house or public building in the Blue Heron camp that is solely associated with a single family or individual. Even in the short time from 1937-1962 different families moved in and out of Blue Heron Camp.

Most came to Blue Heron in the beginning of operations there from another camp, often Worley, Fidelity, or Cooperative. Some who lived away from Stearns Company property would stay on their own private place regardless of the location of the mine where they worked. Still others would live at one camp for a while as they worked at another.

It is not only the people who moved, so did the houses. Most were simple and small enough to be loaded on flat cars when no longer needed at one mining camp and moved to a new place. This practice began with the logging camps that preceded mining in the area.

People remember different numbers of houses in the camp because there were different numbers at different times. At one point, there were 22 houses, but one was moved out. At the end of operations, some structures were moved, some salvaged, and others merely fell away to nothing.

It is often difficult to say just who lived in a particular house in Blue Heron, as most people would move around in the camp when they could get a better house because someone moved away. Some families lived in as many as six different houses during their time at Blue Heron. Some remained in the same house as long as they worked Mine #18.

When it came time to move to another camp, most people loaded all they owned on a train flat car and traveled to the new place. Friends and neighbors would help them load and unload. When moving inside the same camp, push carts were the common way of taking belongings along.

Many of the people who worked at Blue Heron still have family and homes in McCreary County or nearby. Others have gone to Indiana, Georgia, and further away. Moving seemed as much a way of life for mining families as did mining. As one fellow put it, "...seemed like they'd get restless".

 

Last updated: April 14, 2015

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