Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA


January 18, 2007

Mines on Interurban Railroad to Albia


In August 1914 two passenger cars powered by 40 horsepower motors began providing electric passenger service.  They made seven trips between Centerville and Albia each day with a running time of one hour and 25 minutes. 

Freight service was launched in May 1915.  Pictured here is ISU No. 400, one of the 50 ton locomotives purchased in 1923 for use with the coal hauling.

In 1916 the Centerville Light and Traction changed its name to Iowa Southern Utilities Company and, by 1926, acquired electric utility systems all over southern Iowa including Newton, Ottumwa and Burlington.

After the railroad to Albia was electirified as part of the Interurban system in 1914, there were a couple of large coal mines developed south of Forbush, to utilize the rail line and Centerville Powerplant market.  They were the Empire Mine (1930-41) and the Sunshine Mine No. 4 (1944-62)

The Empire Coal Mine was located just south of the entrance to the Golf and Country Club and has been a landmark for years.  Since this was one of the later mines, it had one of the last available shale dumps still standing in later years.  The dump was purchased by the county in 1967 for shale to surface secondary roads.

At the time, Dick Hamm said there was only one other shale dump left, that being the Sunshine No. 4 dump.  He also said that during the height of the coal mining operation in Appanoose County, there were 128 mines open and doing business. This was eventually reduced to only one active mine, the new Gladstone.  Now there are none.

Sunshine Mine No. 4 was the last of the big Sunshine mines.  It was built in 1944 and was owned by Sam Carpenter and Dick Hamm.  It was located in the east central part of Section 23 and required a rail spur about a half mile long from the McConville North Mine to service it.  It had a 140 foot shaft and mined 100 acres before it finally closed in 1967.

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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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