Stanley Heirs Park History Page
The five original ridges surrounding the current Stanley Heirs Park were settled in the late 1700′s by the ancestors of the current protectors of Kayford Mountain. These settlers were largely people of faith who gave the mountain its original name of Mount Olive as a biblical reference to the olive covered mountain that sits east of Jerusalem. These settlers of the mountain were making their way and surviving for nearly two generations before coal was discovered and mining operations expanded. As mining operations expanded, the population of Kayford Mountain and Cabin Creek expanded.
Life on Kayford Mountain was hard work from sunup to sundown, but was a quality life that had clean air and clean water to live on. With the needs of surviving largely on what was produced on Kayford Mountian, there was enough work for everybody to have a job whether it be growing a peach or apple orchard or keeping bees for honey, or even moonshining. Faith was a strong part of peoples’ lives as the Mount Olive Church of God regularly attracted fifty or sixty families who rode buggies, horses, or simply walked in to worship. The drift mine providing coal that residents of the mountain regularly mined themselves for coal to heat their houses. The coal was free for the taking as those who mined it got to keep it and the coal was often shared with family members and friends. The mountain also had a general store where basic good were sold and every Saturday night, residents who gather together to play the fiddle, guitar, banjo, and whatever other instruments people brought by.
The drastic loss of population as mining employment declined since the mid-twentieth century and gradual destruction of the five ridges around Stanley Heirs Park by mountaintop removal has whittled away this life of survival, family, faith, and fun. The fifty acres that Kayford Mountain residents have protected to form Stanley Heirs Park is what’s left of the local mountain life that existed for two centuries . The family remains committed to protecting their land and way of life