Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

Correspondents

July 27, 2006

The Milwaukee comes to Diamond

Following the Milwaukee Railroad on west from Mystic and Brazil, there was an extremely heavy concentration of about 17 small coal mines along the one-mile portion of track before coming to the company settlement of Diamond. These mines were started in the late 1890’s and most lasted only a few years with unknown acreage mined. One of these mines was the scene of a fatality. In 1895 Albert Harris died in the Enterprise mine when a large stone in the roof dislodged and caved in.

The coal mining town of Diamond was on the east side 160th Avenue between the railroad underpass on the south and 495th Street on the north. It was in Section 19 of Bellair Twp., a little north of Walnut Creek.

The Diamond Post Office was established by William R. Warren in January 1891. The Appanoose Coal and Fuel Co. sank their Diamond Mine and developed the company town in about 1900, maybe somewhat earlier. A railroad spur was built from the main line, curving northwest to provide an outlet for the coal. This was a large mine, with a total of 320 acres mined before closing in 1924. It was a shaft mine, powered by steam.

The coal lease covered about 200 acres north of the railroad on William Baker’s land. The road shown on the bottom is now 160th Avenue. There were about two dozen company-owned houses and several private homes nearby. There was a post office in the company store from 1891 to 1927. There was a big school for the miners’ children. The mine is shown on the left side of the map. There was a blacksmith shop, a pond and a slag pile.

The Diamond mine was quite successful for a time. The shaft was about 65 feet and there were two air shafts near the tipple and a large slag pile to the southeast. The town of Diamond covered about 40 acres. There was a network of small roads to the homes and a ditch in the gully west of the spur track. There was a spring near the ditch and a well near the main road to serve the homes.

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