Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA


November 30, 2006

The Whitebreast Mine at Forbush


After the coal mining operation was discontinued in 1901, the shale piles were eventually loaded onto railroad cars and spread along the railroad bed by opening the bottom of the cars.  Some of the shale was spread over the county roads by truck. 

The store was owned by Whitebreast Fuel Co. and most of the miners’ wages was in the form of orders on the store for whatever provisions the miner and his family needed.  Thus the mine not only profited from the work of the miners, but also on the goods consumed by them.           


A Rock Island engine is being used to load shale onto a railroad car at the shale pile of the Whitebreast Mine.  The rail car opened to spread shale along the railroad bed.  The shale dropped between the ties.  Shale was used in this way on the Southern Iowa Railway between Centerville and Albia.

The post office was discontinued in 1905.  The Company owned town eventually disappeared and none of the houses of the company town remain.  There are still a few scattered houses along the main road, now re-named 490th St.   

Jack Fox, son of former miner, Charlie Fox,  once told me, tongue in cheek, that he was now the self-appointed mayor of the city of Forbush.  Only one lonely grave remains in the 100-foot square cemetery, now overgrown with trees and overrun with livestock.  A ghost town monument has been placed at the location to remember the once-thriving town.


Picture caption:  Loading shale at the Whitebreast Mine in Forbush

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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
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