Written by Joanna Adams Sergent
In the summer of 1941, the removal of several buildings in Dunham began. There was a recreation building, an old tipple, and several residences that came down. Several more buildings were also razed to the ground including the area from the Dunham store to Improvement Branch. This happened to make way for the extra tracks. A giant would soon rise from the valley floor and tower over the Dunham Community of Jenkins.
This building would cost a million dollars. Which was a huge price for the building in the small Appalachian town. The Tipple’s name is “The Million Dollar Tipple”.
Cost and Location
The million-dollar Tipple would have cost $18.82 million dollars in today’s currency. In today’s economic environment, the cost is much higher. The building materials, regulations, labor, and time would be the factor.
The location of the tipple would be near the Number 207 mine in Dunham. Using all steel for its construction the building was modern for its time. A railyard surrounding the tipple would have several tracks for the trains to load. Completed construction in thirteen months.
The opening ceremony was not without an accident. On Saturday, November 7, 1942, there was a derailment disaster of the C & O railway in Dunham. This happened days before the grand opening festivities.
Several cars were and called “rim-wrecked”. While others had overturned, and one car damaged that repair was not possible. Work at the tipple had to stop for the cleanup of the area to begin. Immediately, one hundred men went into action. They removed the cars, gathered up the spilled coal, and set things back into working order.
By Monday, November 9th, with the cleanup complete. The work began again, and the tracks looked almost new. This did not deter or delay the celebrations for the opening of the tipple. Completed in time as a train carrying dignitaries came a few days later.
There is no record of this accident or cleanup. Other than in Burdine Webb’s articles in the 1942 Mountain Eagle. Also, there is no information about how many cars sustained damage. How much coal spilled out of the cars. Or if there were any injuries. The accident is not listed in the 1941-1942 train accidents list online. Nor is there any information available about what caused the accident. There are also no pictures of the accident available.
The Opening Celebrations
Officials for the Consolidation Coal Company were in attendance. As well as officials from M.A. Hanna Coal Company and C&O Railroad as well as many others. The Consolidation Coal Company’s officials included acting president, Malcolm Mavity from New York. As well as acting chairperson of the board, R.C. Hill and W.L. Doolittle, who were present for the celebrations.
The “Million Dollar Tipple” no longer stands and most of the tracks that were once there are now gone. There are very few reminders of the great giant. That once stood in the little valley between the mountains and the men who once worked there. And with its removal came an end to an era for the small town of Jenkins, Kentucky.
In Memory Of
This author would like to dedicate this article. In loving memory of her grandfather, Clifton Arnold Adams, otherwise known as “Yogi”. Who retired from the Dunham Tipple during the 1970s. Rest in Loving Peace, Papaw. We love you and miss you.
We thank you for continuing to support Kentucky Tennessee Living. As we bring to you the history of the Appalachian Mountains.
For more information on the Million-Dollar Tipple
The Mountain Eagle Newspaper Publication for the following dates
Friday, June 20, 1941
Thursday, July 10, 1941
Thursday, October 23, 1941
Also, Thursday, Nov. 12, 1942
All photos are in the public domain unless otherwise noted. This includes photos dated before 1923. All other photos are used with permission or under the education fair use statute of the US copyright law.
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When we forget our past and who we are as a people, then we become who “they” say we are. ~~ David Sergent
I have attended the University of Kentucky. I have an Associates Degree from Hazard Community College and Technical School. I have also attended the University of Pikeville. I have taken several classes in Journalism as well as in the Appalachian History, Literature, and Sociology during my time at those schools.
I was born in Florida and grew up in Burdine, Kentucky. I have been married to David W. Sergent since May 4, 2013. I have two children and four grandchildren from a previous marriage. I currently live in Tennessee but my hope is to one day come back home to live in the beautiful mountains once more.