Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA


July 12, 2007

Publication of coal mining book

Whoopee! Hallelujah! My epic task has been completed. My book entitled “The History of Coal Mining in Appanoose County” has been printed off in quantity by Arrow Graphix and you can purchase a copy at either The Shoppes at Bradley Hall or at The Columns for $25. You can also purchase it at the museum, now open on Saturday mornings. Or, for those of you who do not live here, you can send a check to Bill Heusinkveld at 840 South Park Ave., Centerville IA 52544 with $2 added for postage, and I will mail it to you.

The book is divided into two parts with the first section of 24 pages devoted to a description of mining in general, including sections on coal formation, mine construction, mine operation, the role of the railroads, advances in mining methods, mining hazards, the typical day for the miner, mining camps, labor unions and finally the eventual decline of this huge industry.

The latter portion, which is the bulk of the book, is written about each individual mine in turn, arranged in an order that follows each of the railroads across the county. I have included details about location, years of operation, type of mine, depth and operation personnel where possible. I have also included descriptions of mining fatalities using articles Gary Craver laboriously retrieved from microfilms of old newspapers. I have visited the sites of as many of these mines as possible, often together with an old-time miner or son of a former miner. It has all been a wonderful experience, and I have learned so much that I must try to pass it on.

The book is a synopsis of my weekly articles about railroads and coal mines, written for the Iowegian for the last year and a half. It is 130 pages long and includes 45 maps and 183 pictures. About half of the pictures are old pictures showing individual mines as they once existed or depicting some of the miners at their work, digging the coal or in other activities. We are very fortunate that so many of these pictures have been preserved.

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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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