I was today years old when I learned that Kentucky has its very own "Great Pyramid." While it was created under much different circumstances and not nearly as old, it's interesting to think that the Bluegrass state has something in common with ancient civilizations.


Pyramids Around the World

From Egypt to Mexico, Peru to Italy, there are incredible man-made structures dating back centuries. Often mausoleums for pharaohs or temples to hide treasures of gold.


There are about 25 pyramids in the United States including more modern examples like the Luxor in Las Vegas and the Memphis one that is now a good ole Bass Pro Shop. To my knowledge, there is only one in Kentucky that was formed to create a cut-through in the Appalachian mountains of the Eastern part of the state.

Where is the Kentucky Pyramid?

Pikeville, Kentucky. The city of Pikeville is known as the setting for part of the infamous Hatfield & McCoy Feud, Appalachian and country music, and beautiful natural wonders.  It's also home to a feat of civil engineering which just so happens to be the second-largest land-moving project in the western hemisphere. The largest being the Panama Canal.

Moving 18 million cubic feet of rock and soil, the cut-through project creating the pyramid took about 14 years to complete and cost a little over 77 million dollars. It was a dream of the dedicated mayor at the time, Dr. William C. Hambley, because he was confident it would solve several problems in the community. Look at this incredible drone footage of what the area looks like now.


Why is There a Pyramid in Kentucky?

The pyramid was formed as a result of the land-moving project by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers to solve the following issues:

1. The Big Sandy River flooded the community every spring so badly that people's homes and businesses were being destroyed.

2. There was a lack of flat and usable land.

3. The railroad went through downtown streets polluting the town with coal and dust. Traffic congestion was also a problem as vehicles navigated mountain roads.

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Without this project, the area wouldn't have been able to grow like it has. The cut-through has allowed developments in commerce and allowed more visitors to explore the cultural heritage and beauty of nature in Appalachia. Here's a great video about the project if you're curious to learn more.

LOOK: Stunning, historic hotels from every state and the stories behind them

Stacker curated this list of stunning, historic hotels from every state. To be considered for inclusion, the structure must be more than 50 years old. Many of the selected hotels are listed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and several are purported to be haunted.

Gallery Credit: Erin Joslyn

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