March 12, 2023 - This tour takes you underground and back in time to experience a part of Kentucky's rich coal mining history.
Kentucky and coal go way back. So far back in fact, that coal was discovered in Kentucky, BEFORE Kentucky was even a state. For more than 2 centuries coal has been mined in the bluegrass state.
Coal has been commercially mined in Kentucky for over two centuries. In 1750, Dr. Thomas Walker was the first known person to discover and use coal in what would later become Kentucky. The earliest-known commercial coal production was 20 tons in 1790 in Lee County—two years before the Commonwealth of Kentucky became a state. Although small quantities of coal would continue to be mined across the state, it was not until 1855 that annual production would exceed one hundred thousand tons.
If you've ever wanted to learn a little bit about coal mining history, or just want to go on a unique adventure, then Portal 31 may be right up your alley!
Located in Lynch, Kentucky sits an old coal mine known as Portal 31. This is a really unique experience as you'll have the chance to go underground in a rail car and tour a coal mine. As the rail car takes you deep into the coal mine, you'll learn about the history of the mine and a bit about Kentucky's coal history.
Portal No. 31 Underground Mine Tour offers visitors the unique experience of touring an actual coal mine by rail car. Visitors will adorn the traditional protective gear of the coal miner as they enjoy animated exhibits along the tour. Outside Portal #31 stands a black granite monument in tribute to long time president of the United Mine Workers John L. Lewis and a memorial to U.S. Steel District #1 miners who died in mining accidents. The site also features a 1920s lamphouse, bathhouse, L&N train depot and loadout system.
Check out the video below of the tour, and to learn more you can check out Portal 31's website, Portal31.org.