Visitors love Chained Rock at Pine Mountain, Kentucky’s first state park, established in 1924. But why is there a chain around it?
Some children of Pineville, goes the story, were having troubles sleeping at night because they were afraid that the large rocks that loomed over Pineville on Pine Mountain would break free, come tumbling down the mountain, and smash into Pineville.
Well, the parents of these children invented the story that the rocks were chained to the mountain so the children wouldn’t worry and would go to sleep. Before long the story of the chained rock spread to neighboring communities, and people started showing up in town inquiring about the whereabouts of the chained rock.
In 1933 50 local citizens, plus members of the CCC, the Kiwanians, and the Boy Scouts, assembled the “Chained Rock Club” with the express purpose of turning folklore into a reality, a publicity stunt they hoped would generate added tourist revenue for the park and town.
On June 24, the club obtained an obsolete steam shovel from a Virginia quarry. The machine’s chain weighed 2,500-3,000 lbs. It had to be cut in half before a four-mule team could pull each portion up the mountain in two trips.
When the mules gave out, the Chained Rock Club’s 50 members carried the chains the rest of the way. Atop the mountain, the crew welded the chain back together, and stretched it 101 feet across the abyss. It is anchored at each end with steel pegs 1-1/2 x 24 inches, sunk into holes star drilled by hand.
The publicity stunt was a smashing success; over 6,000 daily newspapers reported the accomplishment of the “Chained Rock Club.”
Today the visitor driving through Pineville who looks up at the big rock, 200 feet long and 75 feet wide, can see the chain which “protects the city.” A hiking trail within Pine Mountain State Resort Park leads to Chain Rock, which affords a magnificent view of Pineville and the surrounding area.