Scuttle Hole Gap Road

Historical Marker #1188 in Letcher County notes the location of the Scuttle Hole Gap Road, a thoroughfare used by the mountain community since the early nineteenth century.

During Kentucky’s early history, travel through the Appalachian Mountains was difficult at best. Many communities grew in isolation, and the area’s mountains, rivers, and streams were difficult to navigate. What may take an hour’s travel on level ground can be more than doubled in the mountains. The construction of roads, from the earliest pioneer days to the present, has attempted to alleviate the burden of travel in the mountain counties of Kentucky.

One such road in Letcher County was constructed long before the county was formed in 1842. The Scuttle Hole Gap Road was built by early settlers in the valleys between forks of the Kentucky and Cumberland Rivers as a way to travel over Pine Mountain. Construction of this road allowed early mountain settlers to get to mountain towns, often in neighboring Virginia, in order to market their crops and goods and to purchase needed household items they could not manufacture on their own, including salt and sugar.

The road ran approximately seven miles, north and south, and took advantage of a natural pass through Pine Mountain caused by a mountain stream (Scuttle Hole Branch). The trail, and then road, was enhanced by manual labor. Travel on the road was hazardous, especially when rain and heavy snow washed out the roadway.

Mountain roads like the Scuttle Hole Gap Road helped alleviate some of the isolation caused by the region’s high ridges and deep valleys. These roads allowed early settlers access to items and information that helped lessen the difficulties the mountains made on their lives.

Images

Kentucky Mountain Road

Kentucky Mountain Road

Early construction of roads often used natural and available materials as shown in this early 20th century photograph. Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Kentucky Mountain Road

Kentucky Mountain Road

This early 20th century photograph shows a typical rural mountain road at that time. Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Kentucky Mountain Road

Kentucky Mountain Road

Travel on early mountain roads was often best by horseback. The roads' rough surfaces often quickly damaged the wheels and axels of wagons and carriages. Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Kentucky Mountain Road

Kentucky Mountain Road

Many mountain road passed through picturesque countryside, but their rough conditions often left residents isolated and standed in emergencies. Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Kentucky Mountain Road

Kentucky Mountain Road

Roads helped connect otherwise isolated mountain commnities in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Tim Talbott, “Scuttle Hole Gap Road,” ExploreKYHistory, accessed May 26, 2017, http://explorekyhistory.ky.gov/items/show/239.

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