Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Scott Sykes, November 7, 2015

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:04 - Family background

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Partial Transcript: Alright so this is, uh, Pradeep Kaza and Matt Roland interviewing Mr. Scotty Sykes for the Elkhorn City Oral History Project on, uh, November 7th, 2015.

Segment Synopsis: Scott Sykes is introduced. He talks about growing up in Elkhorn City, and talks about where his ancestors came from.

Keywords: Ancestors; Generations; Grandparents; Home; Pikeville (Ky.); Splashdam (Va.); Virginia

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

GPS: Virginia
Map Coordinates: 37.5, -79
00:02:34 - Childhood in Elkhorn City

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Partial Transcript: Can you tell us anything about any stories about growing up? Anything you, like, remember?

Segment Synopsis: Sykes talks about his memories of growing up in Elkhorn City, playing in the mountains. He describes the town and talks about some of the businesses and buildings that have since been torn down.

Keywords: Buildings; Community; Destruction; Dilapidated; History; Mountains; Nature; Playing; Poison ivy; Preservation; Railroad depot; Safety; Sears and Roebuck; Town

Subjects: Childhood; Community development.; Elkhorn City (Ky.)--Buildings, structures, etc.; Outdoor recreation.

GPS: Elkhorn City (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.303056, -82.347778
00:06:00 - Elkhorn City economy and physical development

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Partial Transcript: And, uh, it's unfortunate because whenever you look around you, you, you see these buildings in a, in a more, you know, dilapidated state, um, than, than what they were.

Segment Synopsis: Sykes talks about the progress of Elkhorn City as compared to Pikeville, and says that there has been less economic development in Elkhorn City. He talks about the importance of preserving Elkhorn City while also increasing economic opportunity for its citizens.

Keywords: Changes; Commercialization; Consolidation; Construction; Economic opportunity; Economy; Growth; Pikeville (Ky.); Progress; Schools; Taxes

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

GPS: Elkhorn City (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.303056, -82.347778
00:10:17 - Sources of economic issues in Elkhorn City

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Partial Transcript: Did you see, uh, that happen here or was--

Segment Synopsis: Sykes discusses some of the problems occurring in Elkhorn City and what he sees as the sources of these problems, including strict alcohol laws which limit the city's economic opportunities. He talks about how the town's leadership affects its economy.

Keywords: "Moist" counties; Businesses; Changes; Community involvement; Drug use; Drugs; Dry counties; Economic opportunity; Elkhorn City Heritage Council; Investments; Tax base; Tax structure; Taxes; Tourism; Wet counties; Wet towns

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

GPS: Elkhorn City (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.303056, -82.347778
00:18:08 - Childhood memories of Breaks Interstate Park

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Partial Transcript: Um, well, um, uh, obvi--you were talking about earlier about having, um, the, like, natural beauty being the attracting point of the city.

Segment Synopsis: Sykes describes some of his childhood memories of visiting the Breaks Interstate Park, including fishing with his father, swimming in the pool, and picnicking with his family. He talks about the park's development on the Kentucky side versus the Virginia side.

Keywords: Commercialization; Development; Family; Fathers; Fishing; James Childers; Kentucky; Lifeguards; Lodges; Marketing; Memories; Natural beauty; Picnics; Rivers; Swimming pools; Virginia

Subjects: Breaks Interstate Park (Ky.-Va.); Childhood; Economic development; Families.; Parks--Kentucky--Management

GPS: Breaks Interstate Park (Ky.-Va.)
Map Coordinates: 37.296389, -82.296944
00:24:01 - Comparing the economies of Elkhorn City and Pikeville

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Partial Transcript: Um, I think one of the things that, that limited the park, uh, and really had an impact on the park is that where the park is an interstate park.

Segment Synopsis: Sykes talks more about the differences between Pikeville and Elkhorn City in terms of economic development and opportunities. He talks about what can be done to improve the economy in Elkhorn City.

Keywords: Chain restaurants; Coal economy; Highway 460; Highways; Industry; Infrastructure; Jobs; Manufacturing; Natural assets; Natural beauty; Opportunities; Service-sector economy; Tax revenue; Tourism economy; Unique; Wages

Subjects: Appalachian Region--Economic conditions; Economic development--Kentucky; Elkhorn City (Ky.); Pikeville (Ky.); Roads--Kentucky

GPS: Pikeville (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.477222, -82.53
00:34:23 - Elkhorn City leadership issues

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Partial Transcript: Do you think, uh, like when the new generation starts to take over will it--do you think will--it will be a little different? Or--

Segment Synopsis: Sykes says that the leadership of Elkhorn City has not changed in many years despite the next generation being ready to take on leadership roles. He talks about how this stagnation in leadership affects the town and its economy.

Keywords: Chamber of Commerce; City council; Control; County judge executives; Education; Elections; Elkhorn City Heritage Council; Generation X; Generations; Power; Progress; Stagnation; Technology; Wet counties

Subjects: Alcohol--Law and legislation--Kentucky; Appalachian Region--Economic conditions; Community leadership; Elkhorn City (Ky.)--Politics and government; Politicians--Kentucky

GPS: Elkhorn City (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.303056, -82.347778
00:39:19 - Out migration and other issues in Elkhorn City

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Partial Transcript: Um, er, are there anything else you'd like--any other issues you'd like to, uh, bring up? Or--

Segment Synopsis: Sykes says that the out migration of younger generations and their talent is one of the issues affecting Elkhorn City. He also talks more about the stagnation in leadership, as well as the poverty affecting Pike County as a whole.

Keywords: "Brain drain"; Challenges; Childcare; Children; Drug use; Economic opportunity; Economy; Family; Food; Homelessness; Industry; Jobs; Leaving; Moving; Out-migration; Problems; Progress; Regressive; River; Support; Working; Younger generations

Subjects: Appalachian Region--Economic conditions; Community leadership; Economic development--Kentucky; Elkhorn City (Ky.)--Politics and government; Pike County (Ky.); Poverty--Appalachian Region

GPS: Elkhorn City (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.303056, -82.347778
00:48:47 - Impact of Artists Collaborative Theatre on local children

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Partial Transcript: Alright. Anything else you'd like to talk about?

Segment Synopsis: Sykes talks about his family's involvement in creating a community theater, and talks about the program's positive impact on the young people in the area. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: ACT Theater; Artists Collaborative Theater; College education; Culture; Economic opportunity; Graduation; Investment; Learning; Life skills; Opportunity; Plays; Problems; Resolutions; Stephanie Richardson; Teaching

Subjects: Amateur theater.; Children's plays.; Children's theater; Children--Kentucky; Community development; Community theater.Acting.; Rural children

GPS: Elkhorn City (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.303056, -82.347778