Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Pine Mountain Settlement - Appalachian Mountains

By Tiffany Amber Stockton

In April, the Kentucky Historical Society in Frankfort received the spotlight. You can read last month's post if you missed it.

Last week, we took another homeschool field trip and stepped back in time!


View from the entrance
Let me tell you a little something about this gem of a place nestled in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains. It has some serious charm. The campus is surrounded by beautiful green forests, rolling hills, and babbling brooks. It's like stepping into a picture-perfect postcard. Architect Mary Rockwell Hook designed most of the buildings. She fell in love with the lead stone mason, and they lived there to raise their family.

Creech Cabin - 9 children grew up here

The school was founded way back in 1913, and it's been a hub of education, culture, and community ever since. It stemmed from families who migrated through the Cumberland Gap after the Civil War and settled in a narrow valley between two mountain ranges. Most of the families (children included) were working in coal mines, and those who weren't were farming. William Creech, Sr. wanted the best education for the children in these communities, so he donated land for the establishment of the school. Katherine Pettit and Ethel de Long Zande were the founders. 

Weaving loom class
What sets Pine Mountain Settlement School apart is their focus on preserving and celebrating the local mountain culture. They offer all sorts of programs for folks of all ages, from preschoolers to senior citizens. Classes are offered on traditional crafts like weaving, woodworking, and blacksmithing. They even host square dances and clogging lessons! And don't even get me started on the food. It's a farm-to-table program which serves up fresh, delicious meals made with food and ingredients grown right there on the farm.

Chapel interior - architectural beauty
We spent the entire day there, walking the grounds, participating in the classes they offered which included bits on micro-hydro electricity and energy, making cornhusk flowers, loom weaving, fabric dyes with flowers and vegetables, early settlers, log cutting, shingle crafting, cabin building, Appalachian social game play, plants and natural ingredients for making a wide variety of herbal teas, plus herbology and essential oils for balms, lotions, and soaps.

It was like stepping back in time to a simpler, more wholesome and healthy way of life. If you ever find yourself in Bledsoe, Kentucky, you absolutely have to check it out. Warning, though. It's a ways out there on some windy roads following a river. :)

View from the Chapel's main door, looking out.

William Creech's wish for all children. Oh, to have that be true today!

Creek with afternoon sunlight glistening off it.


* Have you ever visited a living history site dedicated to preserving the culture which once existed there? If so, where is it? And what is something unique they offer?

* What is something you know about the Cumberland Gap area?

* Is there a building or landmark near you with significant historical influence or notoriety?

** This note is for our email readers. Please do not reply via email with any comments. View the blog online and scroll down to the comments section.

Leave answers to these questions or any comments you might have on this post in the comment box below. For those of you who have stuck around this far, I'm sending a FREE autographed book to one person every month from the comments left on each of my blog posts. You never know when your comment will be a winner! Subscribe to comments so you'll know if you've won and need to get me your mailing information.

Come back on the 9th of June for my next foray into historical tidbits to share.

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Tiffany Amber Stockton has been crafting and embellishing stories since childhood, when she was accused of having a very active imagination and cited with talking entirely too much. Today, she has honed those skills to become an award-winning, best-selling author and speaker who is also a professional copywriter/copyeditor. She loves to share life-changing products and ideas with others to help improve their lives in a variety of ways.

She lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, along with their two children and four cats in southeastern Kentucky. In the 20 years she's been a professional writer, she has sold twenty-six (26) books so far and is represented by Tamela Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. You can find her on Facebook and GoodReads.


  1. Gold's building use to be a department store. Doing major renovations on the original part. Also Pershing Auditorium here was were all the concerts and such took place. Tearing down the building to build a new library for downtown. The mural on the front was saved being cleaned up now and one of the large cemeteries will have it on display next year sometime. University of nebraska is in this city and some of there building date back to 1860 when the university was founded.

    1. Kim, that's great to hear they're preserving what they can through the renovations instead of simply demolishing such an integral part of history. It truly saddens me when so many dismiss history as not important to make way for supposed "progress." I look all around the world at how history is treasured and honored. I bet that mural from the Pershing Auditorium will make for a fantastic display!

  2. Thank you for posting today. That place sounds like a gem!!! We've been to a few forts that have reenactment days, and there's a farm near our hometown in Vermont that features the farming and outdoor life.

    1. Connie, forts can be so much fun to visit when they feature reenactors. We have a couple here in eastern Kentucky which put on big productions each year in addition to periodic special events. With the way our food sources are going, I'm getting more and more into the more natural way of living and highly interested in farming techniques used by our predecessors. We ALL could use a bit more outdoor in our lives. :)

  3. I enjoy seeing historical sites. I enjoyed Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. Even the re-enactors in the gift shop stayed in character.

  4. Great images and info! I'd love to visit. We visited the last home Laura Ingalls Wilder lived (with Almonzo) in Missouri. Their daughter, also an author, bought it for them from the Sears catalogue. It was adorable! Wish those little well-built homes were still availabe for mail order.