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Jenkins, Kentucky

Coordinates: 37°10′48″N 82°37′56″W / 37.18000°N 82.63222°W / 37.18000; -82.63222
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Jenkins, Kentucky
Downtown Jenkins
Downtown Jenkins
Location in Letcher County, Kentucky
Location in Letcher County, Kentucky
Coordinates: 37°10′48″N 82°37′56″W / 37.18000°N 82.63222°W / 37.18000; -82.63222
CountryUnited States
IncorporatedJanuary 9, 1912
Named forthe director of a local coal company
 • TypeMayor-Council
 • MayorTodd DePriest
 • Total8.88 sq mi (22.99 km2)
 • Land8.85 sq mi (22.91 km2)
 • Water0.03 sq mi (0.08 km2)
1,539 ft (469 m)
 • Total1,902
 • Estimate 
 • Density215.04/sq mi (83.03/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code606
FIPS code21-40312
GNIS feature ID0495200

Jenkins is a home rule-class city[3] in Letcher County, Kentucky, United States. The population was 2,203 as of the 2010 census.[4]


Coal camp houses in Jenkins during the Great Depression

In autumn of 1911, the Consolidation Coal Company purchased the current location of Jenkins as part of a 100,000-acre (40,000 ha) tract of land in Pike, Letcher, and Floyd counties from the Northern Coal and Coke Company. After the acquisition was finalized, plans were made to extend the Lexington and Eastern Railroad from Jackson to a town named McRoberts. The plans also included the establishment of the town of Jenkins for George C. Jenkins, one of the Consolidation Coal Company's directors.[5]

Because of the need of hundreds of homes and other structures, nine sawmills and two brickyards were erected. A dynamo was built to temporarily generate power for the houses. Next, a temporary narrow-gauge railroad was built over Pine Mountain from Glamorgan, Virginia, in order to carry supplies to further the development of the town.[5] Jenkins's city government was established as soon as the businesses and land were put up for sale. The company even went as far to supply the town with its own marshals to enforce the law.[5] Jenkins was finally incorporated as a sixth-class city on January 9, 1912.[6]

Jenkins was home to minor league baseball from 1948 to 1951. The Jenkins Cavaliers played as members of the Class D level Mountain States League. Jenkins played home games at the Jenkins Athletic Field.[7]

In 1956, Consolidation Coal sold Jenkins to Bethlehem Steel.[8] Bethlehem Steel closed the mine in 1988.[9]

Diana Baldwin and Anita Cherry are believed to have been the first women to work inside an American coal mine, and were the first women to work inside a mine who were members of the United Mine Workers of America. They began that work in 1973 in Jenkins.[10]

During the Southeast Kentucky floods of 2020, water spilled over the top of the Elkhorn Lake dam above Jenkins, which is considered one of Kentucky's most dangerous. About 30 percent of Jenkins is vulnerable to flooding in the event of a dam break, and the town lacks a comprehensive emergency plan.[11][12][13]


Jenkins is located in eastern Letcher County at 37°10′48″N 82°37′56″W / 37.18000°N 82.63222°W / 37.18000; -82.63222 (37.179914, -82.632148).[14] Its southern border is the Kentucky–Virginia state line, following the crest of Pine Mountain.

U.S. Route 23 passes through Jenkins, leading north 29 miles (47 km) to Pikeville and south over Pine Mountain 21 miles (34 km) to Norton, Virginia. U.S. Route 119 leads southwest from Jenkins 12 miles (19 km) to Whitesburg, the Letcher county seat, and north with US 23 to Pikeville.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.9 square miles (23.0 km2), of which 8.8 square miles (22.9 km2) are land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km2), or 0.34%, are water.[15] The city is in the valley of Elkhorn Creek, a northeast-flowing tributary of the Russell Fork, part of the Levisa ForkBig Sandy River watershed flowing north to the Ohio River.


Historical population
2022 (est.)1,830[16]−3.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[17]

As of the census[18] of 2000, there were 2,401 people, 968 households, and 671 families residing in the city. The population density was 281.2 inhabitants per square mile (108.6/km2). There were 1,122 housing units at an average density of 131.4 per square mile (50.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 97.96% White, 1.08% African American, 0.08% Native American, 0.33% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, and 0.46% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.29% of the population.

There were 968 households, out of which 31.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.9% were married couples living together, 13.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.6% were non-families. 27.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 2.97.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 25.4% under the age of 18, 8.4% from 18 to 24, 26.8% from 25 to 44, 24.7% from 45 to 64, and 14.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $20,143, and the median income for a family was $25,985. Males had a median income of $31,087 versus $21,333 for females. The per capita income for the city was $11,358. About 24.6% of families and 29.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 43.3% of those under age 18 and 14.6% of those age 65 or over.


Jenkins has a lending library, a branch of the Letcher County Library.[19]

Jenkins Independent Schools operates in the city. The district includes Jenkins and the nearby community of Burdine. The district operates two schools, Jenkins Middle High School and Burdine Elementary.[20] The current superintendent is Damian Johnson.[21]

Arts and culture[edit]

The David A. Zegeer Coal-Railroad Museum is housed in town in a historic railroad depot.[22]

Jenkins Homecoming Days is an annual festival usually celebrated in August.

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 18, 2022.
  2. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places in Kentucky: April 1, 2020 to July 1, 2022". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 26, 2023.
  3. ^ "Summary and Reference Guide to House Bill 331 City Classification Reform" (PDF). Kentucky League of Cities. Retrieved December 30, 2014.
  4. ^ "Total Population: 2010 Census DEC Summary File 1 (P1), Jenkins city, Kentucky". data.census.gov. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c History of Jenkins, Kentucky Retrieved on 2010-2-7
  6. ^ Commonwealth of Kentucky. Office of the Secretary of State. Land Office. "Jenkins, Kentucky". Accessed 1 August 2013.
  7. ^ "Jenkins Athletic Field in Jenkins, KY history and teams on StatsCrew.com". www.statscrew.com.
  8. ^ "Home > About Us > Our Communities > Jenkins".
  9. ^ Hastings, Deborah (January 23, 2000). "A Kentucky Town Shaped by Hard Lives, Hard Men". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved September 30, 2017.
  10. ^ Klemesrud, Judy Lee (May 18, 1974). "In Coal Mine No. 29, Two Women Work Alongside the Men" – via NYTimes.com.
  11. ^ Boles, Sydney (February 7, 2020). "States of Emergencies Declared Amid Eastern Kentucky Floods". Ohio Valley ReSource. Retrieved February 24, 2020.
  12. ^ McGlade, Caitlin (August 6, 2019). "At Dangerous Kentucky Dams, Locals Aren't Prepared For Disaster". 89.3 WFPL News Louisville. Retrieved February 24, 2020.
  13. ^ "Home". Elkhorn Lake Project - A Kentucky River Area Development District Health Impact Assessment. 2018. Retrieved February 24, 2020.
  14. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  15. ^ "U.S. Gazetteer Files: 2019: Places: Kentucky". U.S. Census Bureau Geography Division. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
  16. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places in Kentucky: April 1, 2020 to July 1, 2022". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 26, 2023.
  17. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  18. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  19. ^ "Kentucky Public Library Directory". Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives. Archived from the original on January 11, 2019. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
  20. ^ "Jenkins Independent Schools". www.jenkins.k12.ky.us. Retrieved September 5, 2023.
  21. ^ Johnson, Damian. "Jenkins Independent superintendent focuses on engagement during Family Friendly Schools certification". Kentucky Teacher. Retrieved September 5, 2023.
  22. ^ "Homepage". David A. Zegeer Coal-Railroad Museum. Retrieved June 5, 2019.

External links[edit]