Bill Snyder forwarded this article about coal scrip from the CoinCommunity.com web site. Thanks! Here's a is short except - see the complete article for much more.
Packard Kentucky was an enigma. Of the numismatic investigations that I have recently undertaken, chronicling the elusive story of this long-forgotten town has been quite formidable. Little but scant documentation remains of this place, and nary but two photographs of Packard were found during the course my research¹. It took weeks of archive research to locate the photos herein; not a single photograph of Packard existed publicly online until now.
A ghost-town long extinct, Packard exists only in the surviving memories of a few former inhabitants, a mere handful of faded snapshots, and but a smattering of arcane references in yellowed periodicals.
Packard began as little more than a mining camp; a hamlet established prior to the dawn of the 20th century. The town sat just 9 miles from the Tennessee border in Whitley County, nestled among the Cumberland Mountains². Named in honor of Mary Amelia Packard, a local schoolteacher, the little town sprouted in a sleepy corner of southeast Kentucky coal country.
As with most coal towns, everyday life centered around mining activities, and the companies which provided the locals with their livelihoods. As long as the mines remained open, the "Company" town existed. But when the coal seams inevitably exhausted, so too was the rationale for the towns, and they would inexorably evaporate. This too was the story of Packard.
From its genesis in the late 19th century until its demise a few years after World War II, the town of Packard hosted three coal companies. By far the largest employer was the Mahan Jellico Coal Company, with upwards of 200 employees during the height of its operations. Two other coal companies, the Polley Coal Company and later the Booth Blue Gem Coal Company, also conducted mining operations in the area. At the town's apex, as many as 250 workers were employed by these coal companies.
Pictured below are three token specimens from my cabinet, issued for the town of Packard⁸. These tokens, known as ‘coal scrip', were issued to employees and their families as means of credit, and for the purchase of goods at Mahan-Jellico's Company Store.
To read the complete article, see:
The Elusive Story of Packard Kentucky and its Scrip
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