SPRING VALLEY COAL MINES

History

Spring Valley Coal Company owned four mines in Spring Valley.  Mining engineer (and 1st Mayor of Spring Valley), Charles Devlin, was in charge of operations.

The miners were paid by the ton of coal, with no pay for work necessary to get at and remove the coal.  An 1889 check record showed payment for mining 25.14 tons was $23.13.  From this came 25 cents for collections, 26 cents for smithing, $3.20 for fuel, 26 cents for the weighman, and $19.16 for the company store; a total of $26.16, which left a debt of $3.03.

In 1896, a national strike to demonstrate solidarity among the miners resulted in a Spring Valley riot, with 1,200 miners and local merchants participating.  The company store was looted and many local businesses intimidated.

Pictured above is a mine rescue team from the 1900's.

No. 1 Mine

Mine Number 1 was sunk in 1884, two years before the city was incorporated.  It was located in the southeastern corner of the city limits close to the terminus of Greenwood Street (city limits now reach to the eastern edge of the Bureau-LaSalle County border).  In 1888, the output of coal from this mine was 2,700-2,800 tons.  The monthly payroll in that same year averaged from $80,000-$100,000.  By 1913 there were 2,500 miners working through the Spring Valley Coal Company’s four mines.  Mine No. 1 closed in 1923 and was dismantled in 1927. 

The photo below shows the engine house, the tipple, the coal cars beneath the loading platform, the ties piled up beside the Northwestern railroad tracks, and the slag pile in the background.

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No. 3 Mine

The Number 3 mine was sunk in the spring of the year 1885.  This mine was located at Location, then one and a half miles west of town.  A settlement grew around this mine which was then incorporated as part of Spring Valley under city government.  Coal was reached at depths of 361 and 460 feet.  The No. 3 mine was closed in 1927 by the Spring Valley Coal Company.  However, in 1935, a group of citizens reopened the mine and continued its operation until 1947.  The men involved in the operations at this time were: Manley Rhodes, Fred and Baptista (Teno) DeFilippi, John Maddio, and William Harmon.

Pictured below were Spring Valley Lion's Club Members who toured the No. 3 Mine in 1940.

Mine No. 3 located in the west end of Spring Valley.

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Mines No. 2 & 4

Lesser known to the public are the Number 2 and Number 4 mines.  No. 2 mine was sunk in 1885.  It was built northeast of the present site of St. Margaret’s Hospital, in the valley between the hospital and the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad tracks.  Mine No. 4 was sunk in 1887 and used as an escape shaft for mine No. 2.  It was located about 1 ½ blocks east of the No. 2 mine, on the east side of Spring Creek. Diminishing coal markets caused the No. 2 mine to close in 1908.  A fire in January of 1909 destroyed both of these mines, which were not rebuilt.

Photo shows the extent of damage to the No. 2 mine from the 1909 fire.

No. 2 mine prior to the fire.

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Page Links

No. 1 Mine

No. 3 Mine

Mines No. 2 & 4

 

Other Links

Bureau County Coal Map

Bureau County Mine Directory

Coal Mining in Illinois

Copyright 2008 Spring Valley