Pride in local history

Published 11:59 am Monday, January 22, 2018

The Bell County Historical Society recently received a grant through the Kentucky Local History Trust Fund for a total of $1,500. The grant is to be used for the development of tools to help aid in the local education of the counties children.

Robert Vaughn, president of the Bell County Historical Society, welcomes the grant with open arms, as according to him, every little bit counts for keeping the Historical Society operating.

“This is very welcomed,” he stated.

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The plan is to create and distribute a history and activity book to all fourth graders in the area about the history of Bell County. The book will be produced by The Bell County Historical Society in conjunction with members of the local school system to establish all of the materials and information to be found in the book.

“The intent is to teach the kids local history and to cause them to think about history in general. Hopefully it will be a source of community pride for them,” said Vaughn.

Vaughn spoke at length as to what this book will feature. It’s just a simple book with some pictures and coloring pages (although those will be featured), but it will encompass the history of the Bell County area and Middlesboro. It will reach as far back as prehistoric times to before the meteor struck and going from there to the discovery and exploration of the area.

It will also encompass the areas involvement in the Civil War, coal mining, and even more. The chronicling of natural history as well as human history in the area will hopefully prove to be a great tool in shaping interest in local history not only for the children of Middlesboro and Bell County, but maybe even the parents and adults as well.

Vaughn said he hopes to have the book in the school system by fall of 2019.

“The Local History Trust Fund Program allows local organizations to do their best work by providing limited grant funds to do projects that help support promoting and protecting our history. This is great because it allows us, as historians, to reach a wider population and to get folks interested in history at any point in their lives. It could be a fourth grader with this activity book or an adult doing genealogical research, and just being able to help support those local history organizations in their own communities is really important,” said KHS Administrator Amanda Higgins.