Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA


February 22, 2007

Truck mines in NE Centerville

In the last couple of weeks, I have described the truck mines in the northwest part of Centerville.  Continuing clockwise around the city, the remaining mines are the Centerville Coal Co., the Ragona Mine, Silver King, Neal Coal Co., Rock Valley Coal Co., Shamrock Coal Co. and the New Rock Valley mine.  Most of these mines were along Highway 5 or Old Highway 5, now called Shamrock Lane running into East Haynes.  Delbert Engle showed me where all of these mines were.

The first mine was the Centerville Coal Co. started in 1929 by Joe Ragona and Jim Pancrazio.  . It was a slope mine located on the north side of the lane leading west from the junction of Hwy. 5 and Old Hwy. 60.  This lane is now is a private drive leading to homes of Jack Walker and Teddy Clark.  

The mine was sold to Thomas Maletta, who acted as superintendent.  In 1947 Roy Blazina met an accidental death in this mine.  The mine closed in 1952 after 44 acres had been mined.   Some of the shale pile is still evident.

Then next mine was the Ragona Mine, also known as Appanoose Coal Co.  Joe Ragona started it in 1936 after he left Centerville Coal Co.   He went across the road and about 1/4 mile to the north, up on the hill north of the Hospital.  It was a slope mine with a shaft of 110 feet for the fan.  The tipple for loading coal was just a few feet west of where the Clark Coal Co. propane tank now stands.  

The entrance to the slope mine was to the north about 300 feet.  A winch and tail rope were used to bring the coal cars from the mine entrance to the tipple.  A depression in the ground and a few rocks indicate the location of the slope entrance.  The underground workings went all the way back south beyond the hospital to the underground area being worked by the Silver King mine.

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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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