Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA


May 25, 2006

The Railroad Comes to Clarkdale


They first operated the Orr Bros. Mine No.1 in the southeast part of the town of Mystic for ten years in 1887. Then they decided to build their own town east of Mystic. They bought the 40 acres in the S.W. corner of Section 11 for a town site and called it Orrville. They had the land platted with about 40 lots in 1892. There must have been many more mine workers than originally anticipated because they added about 60 more lots to the east of the original plat in 1906. P.S. Holbrook was the surveyor.

The Orr Brothers Mine No. 2 was started in 1899 just west of their town on Orrville. The tipple was on the north side of the tracks, almost a half mile west of the Clark mine. Later it was known as the Inter-Ocean Mine. The mine operated until 1919. It was a large mine with a 73 foot shaft and a total area of 43 acres mined. It provided work for most of the miners living in Orrville. Frank Grinkel, a 35 year old man from Poland was killed by a fall of slate in 1904 in this mine.

Eventually the town platted as Orrville became know as Clarkdale, and the name Orrville disappeared entirely. The town was never a Company owned town such as many of the towns adjacent to the mines. The houses were probably better and larger with the result that some of them survived after the coal mining ended. There are still 16 houses today.

The High Test Mine was a later mine. It was along the tracks about a mile N.E. of the Clark mine. It operated from 1921 to 1938 with 12 acres mined There were two other large mines westerly from Clarksdale. The Winnifred Coal Co., Mine No. 30 was north of the tracks with 168 acres operated from 1908 to 1926.

The other large mine was Barrett and Voyce Coal Co. south of the tracks between Mystic and Clarksdale with a huge 224 acres mined. There was a mine fatality in 1926 when Hardin Elliott was caught under a fall of coal. The mine operated from 1921 to 1931.

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The Iowegian wants readers to think about the solicitation ordinance that will prevent groups or individuals from entering a roadway to solicit money. The Centerville City Council in June by a 5-0 vote passed the first reading of just such an ordinance. Public pressure and during a subsequent special meeting, the council voted 3-2 to table the ordinance. A second special meeting to discuss the solicitation ordinance is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7 at City Hall. So, the question of the week is, "Do you or do you not support the ordinance to prevent solicitation of funds in city streets?"

A. I support the ordinance
B. I do not support the ordinance
C. Not sure
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