Mullins, originally named Withers after a large local family, was established along the L&N’s Kentucky Division mainline in June 1886. 4 The town grew to include 50 residents, a sawmill, and other businesses. A limestone quarry was opened adjacent to the Mullins Tunnel in 1897 and was later operated by the Kentucky Stone Company prior to 1939. 2 The quarry operated until 1979. The white crystalline oolitic limestone and a medium gray microcrystalline limestone 3 was crushed and used as ballast for the Louisville & Nashville Railroad (L&N), cement for roadways, and as agstone. 2
The Kentucky Stone Company also operated a rock wool production plant at Mullins, which produced an insulating material manufactured from argillaceous limestone or purer limestone in combination with shale, sandstone, or slag. 1 It required the fusing of the rock and then blowing the liquid into fibers by a strong jet of steam. The rock wool facility was destroyed by fire in February 1939. 5
- Miller, Arthur M. “Miscellaneous Mineral Resources.” Geology of Kentucky, Kentucky Geological Survey, 1919.
- “Subsurface Sites.” n.d.
- Richardson, Charles Henry, editor. “Rockcastle County.” The Building Stones of Kentucky, 1st ed., vol. 11, ser. 6, Kentucky Geological Survey, 1923, pp. 94–96. 6.
- “Rockcastle County – Place Names.”
- “Mineral Wool.” Nonmetallic Mineral Industries in 1939, by Paul M. Tyler and Oliver Bowles, Department of the Interior, 1940, p. 22.