I was four years old when I first visited Washington DC, so I don't remember a whole lot about the trip. I do, however, remember my dad asking me if I was ready to climb to the top of the Washington Monument because it didn't have an elevator.

He was kidding; it does have an elevator. I didn't care. I wanted to go and was ready to make the upward journey.

In Kentucky, there's a 'Washington Monument' that does require an elevator OR stairs. That's because it is solid and you can't get into it. And even if it wasn't solid, you still couldn't; it's a fraction of the size of the real Washington Monument. Also, it's made of coal.

Located deep within Kentucky coal country--it's in Harlan County in the small town of Baxter--the monument was constructed during the Depression as a tribute to the Commonwealth's rich coal-mining history (Note the shape, and you'll understand why people call it a miniature Washington Monument.)

The Baxter coal monument is but one small part of the rich heritage and culture of Southern and Central Appalachia celebrated through the Appalachian Project, a program spearheaded by Shane Simmons and Melody West.

The duo travels the Appalachians memorializing the wonderful Americana coal country has always yielded. And they don't just cover Kentucky; this charming diner in Bristol VA is equally known for its tasty menu AND the fact that it was the last place Hank Williams was seen alive.

So, suppose you happen to be traveling in eastern Kentucky, western Virginia, northeastern Tennessee, western North Carolina, or West Virginia. In that case, you might see Shane and Melody out and about performing yeoman service for the preservation of all that makes Appalachia so special.

LOOK: Record fish caught in Kentucky

Stacker compiled a list of fishing records in Kentucky from Land Big Fish.

Gallery Credit: Stacker

LOOK: Books set in Kentucky

Stacker compiled a list of books set in Kentucky from Goodreads.

Gallery Credit: Stacker

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