The National Trust for Historic Preservation selected Black Mountain and its adjacent towns, Benham and Lynch in Harlan County, Kentucky as one of the 11 most endangered places in the United States this year. Local activists advocated for this designation out of a lifelong commitment to their home, and as a measure to abate the possibility of a strip mine on Black Mountain.
WMMT Mountain Community Radio in Eastern Kentucky did a great piece on this effort, featuring some of the folks who advocated for this designation.
Strip mining would destroy the towns’ water supply, effectively evacuating its people. Right now their water is so pure that families make day trips up Black Mountain to cup the spring water in their hands and drink it mountainside. In 2008 I was able to get a sip of mountain water while visiting Benham.
People everywhere fight to preserve their homes. In Khirki Village, New Delhi people suffer the threat of massive construction projects that could displace thousands. Not every community is in the position to argue that its land should be preserved because of its historical relevance, but some are, and all places have a story worth sharing. It’s harder to ruin a place when its story is alive.