Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Peggy Ramey Robinson, November 7, 2015

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Search this Index
00:00:09 - Family background in Elkhorn City, Kentucky

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Alright, um, this is Erica Emrick. We are interviewing Peggy Robinson.

Segment Synopsis: Peggy Robinson is a librarian who was born and raised in Elkhorn City, Kentucky. She discusses her family life, including her father's career as a teacher, and her connection to the Ramey family that founded Elkhorn City.

Keywords: California; Church; County surveyors; Grandparents; Husbands; Librarians; Little Beaver Creek (Ky.); Military service; Parents; Ramey family; Retirement; Teachers

Subjects: Elkhorn City (Ky.); Families.; Genealogy--Appalachian Region

00:02:30 - Childhood in Elkhorn City

Play segment

Partial Transcript: What was it like growing up here?

Segment Synopsis: Robinson describes her family's lifestyle in the mountains and says they did not have any money but lived off the land. She describes the town of Elkhorn City during her childhood, and the buildings from that time that still stand in the town. She describes a typical visit to the local doctors office, and talks about walking three miles to the movie theater on Saturdays when she was a little girl where she would get a ticket, a box of popcorn, and a coke for twenty-five cents.

Keywords: Beaver Creek (Ky.); Beer joints; Doctors offices; Dr. Deskins; Farming; Food; Hardware stores; Landmarks; Library; Main Street; Medication; Money; Poor; Post offices; Restaurants; Theaters; Walking

Subjects: Appalachian Region--Economic conditions; Childhood; Elkhorn City (Ky.)--Buildings, structures, etc.; Poverty--Appalachian Region

00:06:47 - School

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Alright. Um, what was school like growing up here?

Segment Synopsis: Robinson describes the one-room schoolhouse where her father was a teacher during her childhood. She talks about the consolidation of the high school with East Ridge High School, and how it angered people of the city.

Keywords: Beaver Creek (Ky.); Consolidation; East Ridge High School; Elkhorn City (Ky.); Fathers; Michigan; Military defense plants; One room schools; Whipping; World War II

Subjects: Rural schools--Appalachian Region; Teachers--Kentucky; Teaching; World War, 1939-1945

00:10:09 - Challenges facing Elkhorn City

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Uh, what do you do in the community? What roles do you play here?

Segment Synopsis: Robinson talks about how active people are in community affairs. She discusses the challenges Elkhorn City is facing, and says the town has nothing to offer because there are no motels, restaurants, or anything for tourists to do, and talks about the lack of job opportunities in town. She gives her opinion on making Elkhorn City a wet county, where alcohol could be sold. The elderly and the church of the town are against it because they have witnessed what it has done to the city in the past. The younger generation of citizens want alcohol because they think it would be a good thing for the town to generate money.

Keywords: "Nothing to offer"; Active; Buildings; Businesses; Changes; Church; Close-knit; Coal industry; Community involvement; Dry counties; Families; Friendly; Generations; Job opportunities; Land; Library; Role in community; Wet counties

Subjects: Alcohol--Law and legislation--Kentucky; Appalachian Region--Economic conditions; Economic development--Kentucky; Property--Kentucky

00:15:15 - Younger generations and the future of Elkhorn City

Play segment

Partial Transcript: What do you want--what would you like to share with future generations? With your grandkids?

Segment Synopsis: Robinson talks abut the out-migration of the younger generations of Elkhorn City citizens due to a lack of opportunities. She talks about ideas the young people have to improve the city, but says she worries they will not be able to follow through. She talks more about the town's lack of ways to attract and keep tourists.

Keywords: ACT Theater; Artists Collaborative Theatre; Breaks Interstate Park (Ky.-Va.); Businesses; Camping; Changes; Church; Coal industry; College; Economy; Entertainment; Fast food restaurants; Fathers; Future; Gatlinburg (Tenn.); Generations; Grandchildren; Hollers; Hollows; Hotels; Ideas; Leaving; Mines; Off-season; Out migration; Railroad industry; Restaurants; Teaching; Winters

Subjects: Appalachian Region--Economic conditions; Community development.; Economic development.; Elkhorn City (Ky.); Rafting (Sports); River tourism.; Tourism

00:23:06 - Childhood memories of the river

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Um, so a lot of people have been talking about, um, adding or making Russell Fork River like the kind of prime attraction for Elkhorn City so I want to ask you a couple questions about the river.

Segment Synopsis: Robinson says she does not have many memories of interacting with the river, and says her family was more involved with Beaver Creek. She talks about younger generations' interactions with the river.

Keywords: Accidents; Apple Blossom Festival; Beaver Creek (Ky.); Breaks Interstate Park (Ky.-Va.); Children; Cloudsplitter 100 Trail Race; Coal industry; Fishing; Influence; Logging; Outdoor recreation; Playing; Role; Russell Fork River; Snakes; Uses; Value; Wi-fi internet; Younger generations

Subjects: Big Sandy River (Ky. and W. Va.); Childhood; Elkhorn City (Ky.); Outdoor recreation.; Rivers.

00:31:21 - Changes in Elkhorn City since her childhood

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Um, any other fe--stories you feel like should be told about Elkhorn City or about your life?

Segment Synopsis: Robinson talks about the lack of drug use in Elkhorn City during her childhood, and talks about her uncle growing hemp for the war effort during World War II. She tells detailed stories about when her family got electricity, telephones, and television.

Keywords: Alcohol; Beaver Creek (Ky.); Changes; Drugs; Electricity; Grandchildren; Hemp; Party lines; World War II

Subjects: Childhood; Rural electrification--Kentucky; Technological innovations; Telephone; Television; World War, 1939-1945

00:35:24 - Culture shock of leaving Elkhorn City / family

Play segment

Partial Transcript: But then like I said when I went to California when I was eighteen years old i, it was just such a culture shock to me because--

Segment Synopsis: Robinson talks about experiencing culture shock when she moved to California from Elkhorn City. She talks about traveling all over the country, and eventually coming back to Elkhorn because of her parents. She talks about her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Keywords: California; Children; Culture shock; Grandchildren; Great grandchildren; Homesick; Okinawa (Japan); Parents; Returning; Travel

Subjects: Families.

00:38:26 - Hope for change in Elkhorn City

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Alright.

Segment Synopsis: Robinson talks about her hopes for the future of Elkhorn City, including her hopes for the younger generations being able to develop the town. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Beaver Creek (Ky.); Changes; Family land; Generations; Hopeful; Ideas; Progress; Property; Rafting; Roads; Selling; Young people

Subjects: Community development; Economic development--Kentucky; Elkhorn City (Ky.)--Buildings, structures, etc.