Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA


June 8, 2006

Mining in Mystic by Eva Quist


The miners came home with dirty faces and clothing and with hands bruised and calloused. The miner’s evening was spent reading or talking with his family or a visit on Main Street with other men. There were a few newspapers, but no radio or television.

Miners were sometimes killed by coal falling and their crushed bodies brought home to grief stricken families. My father was brought home to die after such an accident.

During World War I, young miners were drafted and the old miners had to work two shifts to get the coal out. The local hillsides were dotted with miners’ homes and shanties. There was a company store and the United Mine Workers local meeting hall. The miners had to charge groceries and supplies during the summer when the mines were closed.

Then coal sales diminished. There were other coal fields and markets for coal. Some coal mines were closed and mining machines removed from mines. The coal mine dumps became grass-covered, mine whistles ceased blowing for work and pit tools became collectibles.

But Mystic had become a modern town. Brick buildings were built on Main Street, and nice homes were erected with electricity and telephones. Later city water was installed. The population increased to approximately 2,000. The boom town had three doctors, two drug stores, two banks, two dentists, three filling stations, a motion picture theater, a city hall and jail, three school buildings, five churches, two cafes, two depots, two hotels, funeral home, three boarding houses and a total of 33 home-owned businesses.

The coal industry made Mystic an active, prosperous city, but led to its decline. The farm market promised a lucrative future for the city, but competition with nearby cities deterred prosperity. Families moved away, but some of the workers commuted to their work in cities.

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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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