Kentucky man hopes to preserve very tall monument to coal history

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MADISONVILLE, Ky. -- Harold Utley's got a big idea. It weighs about 2,000 tons, stands at least 275 feet tall and is at the heart of western Kentucky's economic history.

The dream sits off Kentucky 70, west of Madisonville, in the form of a dragline once used in coal strip mining that still towers over reclaimed fields.

"It's the largest land machine built in Hopkins County, ever," Utley, president of the Historical Society of Hopkins County and retiree of the Mine Safety Health Administration, told The Madisonville Messenger.

Utley sees the dragline forming the foundation for a museum showcasing the area's coal heritage.

"The era of giant stripping machines in western Kentucky is gone, history," Utley said. "People should have the opportunity to see it."

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