Inland Steel Company

Alternative names

History notes:

Steel Company founded in 1893 in Chicago, Illinois; Inland Steel operated a fleet of bulk freighters for ore transport on the Great Lakes.

From the description of Records 1978-1981. (Bowling Green State University). WorldCat record id: 588915836

Wheelwright, located in eastern Kentucky's Floyd County, is a town created by the coal industry. Initially developed as a coal camp by Elk Horn Coal Corporation, Wheelwright began to take shape in 1911. It was incorporated in 1917 and named after the president of Consolidation Coal Company, Jere Hungerford Wheelwright; Elk Horn leased its properties from Consolidation.

In l930, Inland Steel purchased the Wheelwright coal camp because the nearby seams were rich with metallurgical coal. The company immediately began development of its captive mines and town and retained E.R. "Jack" Price as manager of coal properties. Price believed, like other welfare capitalists, that it was a good investment to be interested in community welfare and improvement as well as mine safety and efficiency. Under Price's direction, Inland modernized Wheelwright's coal operations and properties. In fact, many referred to Wheelwright as "the town that Jack built." Indeed, Wheelwright grew and prospered, boasting such services as a hotel, library, hospital, golf course, movie theatre, bowling alley and department store. By the mid 60s, however, conditions were deteriorating in Wheelwright--some believe because many of the long-time company men, like Price, retired in the 50s. But the decline was probably due more to the changing coal business, especially in metallurgical markets, and the fact that Inland no longer considered Wheelwright a good investment.

Inland Steel sold the "model" town and its mines in January l966 to Island Creek Coal. Within eleven months Island Creek, keeping the mines, sold the town properties to Mountain Investment Company. Gordon Brown, president of the company planned on renting and selling the houses to residents. Brown's unwillingness to even maintain much less improve the buildings and grounds further added to Wheelwright's physical decline. He also refused to cooperate with Wheelwright's governing Board of Trustees. The cohesiveness of Wheelwright, as a community, was severely tested during those years. In addition, by the early l970s Island Creek shut down its mining operations, leaving Wheelwright with a severe employment crisis.

From the description of Wheelwright Collection, 1916-1979. (University of Kentucky Libraries). WorldCat record id: 62365196


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Ark ID:


  • Ore carriers
  • Shipping
  • Steel industry and trade
  • Logbooks
  • Company towns
  • Community development
  • Coal miners--Housing
  • Coal mines and mining History


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  • Kentucky--Wheelwright (as recorded)
  • Appalachian Region (as recorded)
  • Kentucky (as recorded)
  • Illinois (as recorded)
  • Great Lakes (North America) (as recorded)
  • Wheelwright (Ky.) (as recorded)
  • Floyd County (Ky.) (as recorded)