When Coal Is Over

In this Oct. 17, 2014 photo, an entrance to Lynch High School sits in the abandoned building in Lynch, Ky. The community of Lynch, built as a company town in 1917 by U.S. Coal and Coke, a subsidiary of U.S. Steel, was at the time the largest coal camp in the world. It was built to house the many workers and their families mining the coal to be used by U.S. Steel. The population peaked to around 10,000 but has since diminished to roughly 747 according to a 2010 census. U.S. Steel started to sell the houses to the residents as it looked to move its coal production to a newer plant in Corbin, Ky., in 1955. Coal production decreased over the years as the use of oil and natural gas increased and the progression of less labor intensive coal mining techniques meant fewer employees needed. As population numbers dropped, the school closed in 1981 as the county consolidated districts and now sits abandoned up the street from the old mines. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

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