|WWI Doughboy Statue at the Harlan County Courthouse - Harlan, Ky.|
This beautiful courthouse sits in the center of town, which is surprisingly large. Based on historic population figures, Harlan County now has less than a third of the population that it had back in the 1930s. This large and beautiful courthouse was built during this boom time in Harlan, from 1918 through 1922. It is a two story Beaux-Arts style structure built of stone. It is actually the fifth courthouse constructed in Harlan, and the second on this site.
|Memorial to the Coal Miner in Harlan, Ky.|
Sitting on the courthouse lawn is a monument to those who were killed in coal mines. Coal mining remains an important part of Harlan and its history. Repeated attempts to organize labor and the related conflict between mine owners and their security led to a great deal of violence in the region, and the nickname "Bloody Harlan" being attached to the area. The National Guard was even called in May 5, 1931, in response to violence surrounding a strike.
The courthouse itself was the scene of many heated contests over land suits, mineral rights, settlement cases for disabled miners and widows. In its mining heyday, Harlan was bustling with activity and the courthouse was at the center of it all.