Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA


December 7, 2006

An examination of the McConville Rosebrook and North Hill Mines

The next mine serviced by the Centerville, Moravia and Albia Railroad was the Rosebrook Mine. It was opened in 1908 by the McConvilles and was the only mine between Main Station and Forbush. It operated from 1908 to 1922. It covered 56 acres. It was about a mile southeast of Darby. In 1926, Andrew Ragona, age 34 was killed in the mine. A trip rope had broken and the car ran down the slope and crushed him.

Virginia Koestner took me across the fields to the west of the J&K; barn in her pickup to try to find evidence of the mine. The railroad ran a short distance west of her house and the right of way was quite evident in some spots. The slag pile was once in the middle of what is now a soybean field. The mine had been located a little to the north, but nothing remains. We saw a two-foot depression in the field where an air shaft had been.

In 1918, the McConvilles opened their large McConville Coal Co. No. 1 (North Mine). It was located on the west side of 215th Ave., about 0.4mile south of 490th St., just north of where ISU Co. used to have their cabin and pond. It was south of the track and had a short rail spur. This mine was capable of turning out 300 tons per day and gave employment to approximately 200 men.

In 1922 there was a fatal accident in the North Mine when Nels Murphy was electrocuted while working with Bill Jones and Jim Kelly behind a mining machine. Kelly was back of the machine when he noticed that the chain was loose. Thinking that it might be caught, he whistled for Murphy to shut off the machine. Murphy started for the controls to cut off the current. However the machine kept on running. Kelly then saw Murphy lying face down with his arms forward on the front of the machine.

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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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