Approximately six miles east of Rose Hill, Virginia you can find the community of Hagan, Virginia. The US Postal Service established an office there in 1892 that was eliminated by 1952. During that 60 year span, Hagan experienced a growth in population due to a tunnel that was built by L&N Railroad. Passing through the mountain into Harlan County, Kentucky, it was built in the late 1920’s and finished in 1930.
Before the tunnel was constructed there was no easy way to reach Harlan. Automobiles were few and the road traveling there would require driving at least an hour, if you could find a ride. Horseback was difficult as well due to the ridge being quite steep. Another route was a man-made “Hole in the Wall” east of there, but the path to it was also fairly treacherous. The 15’ wide and over 6,000’ long (a little over a mile) train passage catalyzed major changes to the landscape and the livelihoods of many people in the region. Not only did it allow the easy shipment of coal, it joined the two worlds of Southwest Virginia and Eastern Kentucky. It allowed effortless flow of the peoples, their work, their goods, and the melding of the cultures.
James Carlyle Davis from Hagan, Virginia married Edna Jean Langford from Smith, Kentucky April 12, 1941. He was one of many that ventured into Kentucky, through the tunnel, to “Court Kentucky Girls”.