Latitude / Longitude:
38° 19′ 30 N, 82° 35′ 0 W
Central (CST) (UTC-6)
Neal, Kentucky is a mostly extinct hamlet located south of Catlettsburg near the oil refining facility formerly owned by Ashland Oil and Refinining Co., Inc. and its current owner Marathon Petroleum’s Catlettsburg Refinery is located here.
At its peak, Neal had a population of over 200 but this declined as Ashland Oil purchased most of the property here from the residents to enlarge the refinery. U.S. Route 23 extended throughout the community until it was replaced with a modern four lane alignment in 1987. The Kentucky Department of Highways renumbered it KY 757 after the realignment. Then, in 1999, Marathon purchased the highway from state and it now ends just south of Neal at a security gate. Systematically Marathon has purchased the community and very little of Neal’s homes and businesses remain. Neal is located at approximately 38°19’30N 82°35’00W in southeastern Boyd County, across the Big Sandy River from West Virginia.
Neal, West Virginia is located on U.S. Route 52 just across the Big Sandy River from Neal, Kentucky. This is no coincidence as both communities were once the same and were named after the same family who owned property on both sides of the river. Prior to Kentucky becoming a state, it was part of Virginia making both sides of the river in the same state. Also, before the canalizing of the river was completed in the late 19th century, unless the water was high, it was possible to walk across the river making both sides of the river accessible to persons living on either bank. Neal, West Virginia is also now a location of heavy industry and very little remains of it as well.