Interview with Charles E. Barnhart, August 18, 1998

Project: Charles Elmer Barnhart, Jr. Oral History Project

Interview Summary

In this interview, Dr. Charles E. Barnhart talks at length about the history of Robinson Forest. He describes the condition of the land at the time, saying "the fifteen thousand acre tract was essentially cut-over and bare". He says that Mr. and Mrs. E.O. Robinson wanted to set up the Robinson Mountain Fund for "educational endeavors" by means of a 75-year lease to U.K. of this property. Barnhart discusses Dean Thomas Poe Cooper's study of this proposition in the 1920's and his subsequent meeting with the Robinsons, where he convinced them to instead convey the total acreage plus several tracts of land around the Quicksand area of Kentucky to the Commonwealth of Kentucky for the benefit of the U.K. Agricultural Experiment Station. He discusses how Dean Cooper obtained the mineral rights for this property in the 1930's. He talks about the problem of attracting hardwood manufacturers to the state and how strip mining has destroyed timber growth.

Barnhart describes the Kellogg project, a federal grant received for a complete wood-processing center at Robinson Forest in 1961 to stimulate employment. He mentions parallel improvement projects started during this time for corn and hogs at the substations in Princeton and Quicksand, and the Eaden Shale research farm in Owen County, Kentucky. Barnhart talks about Dr. John Oswald's plan in 1964 to sell the coal rights to Robinson Forest to finance building plans. He describes the controversy over the royalty income, how it was determined that the money would belong to the Agricultural experiment station rather than U.K., which put an end to the argument. Barnhart talks about Dr. Otis A. Singletary refusing to allow strip mining at Robinson Forest in 1971.

He mentions the McIntyre-Stennis Act for special forest research and water quality work in the eastern half of the United States. Barnhart mentions Dr. Tim Lee Carter helping to halt surface mining around the Buckhorn Watershed near Robinson Forest. He talks about illegal core-drilling of coal in the 1970's and threats made to UK's Forestry chairman Tom Hensbrow after he observed and reported this. He says a meeting was held and Tom Harris, the Secretary of Natural Resources, declared that Robinson Forest would now be a state park, ending the discussion. Barnhart talks about logging versus strip mining in terms of research and reclamation.

Interview Accession

1998oh048_af591

Interviewee Name

Charles E. Barnhart

Interviewer Name

Terry L. Birdwhistell

Interview Date

1998-08-18

Interview Rights

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

Interview Usage

Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Barnhart, Charles E. Interview by Terry L. Birdwhistell. 18 Aug. 1998. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Barnhart, C.E. (1998, August 18). Interview by T. L. Birdwhistell. Charles Elmer Barnhart, Jr. Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Barnhart, Charles E., interview by Terry L. Birdwhistell. August 18, 1998, Charles Elmer Barnhart, Jr. Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





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