HAZARD — This summer marks the 100th anniversary of the coming of the railroad to Hazard. This historic event led to the growth and industrial efforts in Hazard and Eastern Kentucky.
In the 1910 census, only 537 people claimed they lived in Hazard. Just 10 years later in the 1920 census there were 4,348, which is virtually the same as currently live in Hazard. This huge jump in population can be attributed to the railroad’s arrival just eight years earlier.
Thousands of people from across the world came to the United States for opportunity, and many found it in building the railways that criss-cross throughout Eastern Kentucky and the rest of the country. Prior to 1912, the closest train station was in Jackson. As the rails moved closer and closer to the city, many immigrants working to lay them decided to settle in the Hazard and Perry County area.
The railroad opened Hazard up to being a more industrial city by allowing coal mined locally to be taken out of the mountains and to the rest of the country. This meant thousands of people moving to the area to get jobs as coal miners.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the train coming to Hazard. In order to kick off this celebration, which is slated to last all year, several students at Roy G. Eversole were invited on Wednesday to take part in a program teaching them about the history and music surrounding building the train tracks. Martha Quigley, director of the Bobby Davis Museum and author of the book Railroading Around Hazard and Perry County, was joined by Ann M. Gilbert to create the program to educate students about all of the history surrounding the railroads.
The students had the opportunity to hold a nine pound hammer meant for hammering rail road ties, and sing songs about the railroad and the workers that helped them to grow across the country.