In 1917 the U.S. Coal and Coke Company, a subsidiary of U.S. Steel, built the community of Lynch, Kentucky, then the world's largest coal camp. The coal camp was built on part of the 19,000 acres the company had purchased in the southeastern tip of Harlan County, near the Virginia border. The lynchcamp's population peaked at about 10,000 persons but the reported figures vary because of the transient nature of the miners and their families at that time. One thousand company owned structures provided housing for people of 38 nationalities, the most prominent of which were Italian, Spanish, Czech, Polish, English, Welsh, Irish and Scottish. By the 1940s this mining complex employed more than 4000 persons above and below ground.
The public buildings were constructed of cut sandstone, and included a company commissary, post office, theater, hotel, hospital, churches, and schools. Many company buildings were built of stone as well, such as the offices, bath house, power plant and lampportal house. In the 1920s U.S. Coal and Coke owned the world's largest coal tipple with a capacity of 15,000 tons. On February 12, 1923 the world's record for coal production in a single 9 hour shift was achieved when miners operating 40 shortwall cutting machines produced 12,820 tons of coal, filling 256 railcars.