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Catlin History Online

Coal around Catlin

          The items pictured are from some of the many coal mines that surrounded Catlin in the late 1880’s.  North of the village mines were dug into small hills and produced black gold.   Harvey Mauck and his father, Albert, opened Deep Valley Mine and it was the first area mine in the 1930’s to turn out stoker coal.  Mauck related that when he ran his coal mine there were 14 others in operation in the Batestown and Catlin areas.  Mauck’s father owned the Standard Mine, his cousin operated the Blue Lake coal mine north of Catlin, Uncle Joe Mauck owned the Central Coal Co (The site of Blue Needles Golf Course) and Uncle Charlie Mauck owned the Muncie Mine.  He was the last in the family to have a mine.

            Some of the artifacts the museum has located in the Cabin Complex include Carbide Lamps which attached to miner’s helmets to provide light under ground.  Also displayed you will see a helmet that has a battery light with the battery carried on a special belt around the miner.  It belonged to Carl Fuller.  The dinner bucket carried by miners was a special item.  It was composed of three pieces - a deep bucket with handle, a tray fitting on top of the bucket and a tight fitting lid with handle on top.  Water could be carried in the bottom of the bucket with food in the tray on top.  Mauck relates that working in a coal mine was “fun.”  Men chopped at the coal with a pick ax and would “get as black as the coal.”  Deep Valley was the last in the state to mine coal by hand.  It is all done by machinery now days.

King Coal has left memories through out the county as Kickapoo State Park was located where the strip mines were.  There are mine tailings that look like miniature mountains on the plains.  Various monuments to the miners in Westville and Tilton are featured.  Companies are still opening mines around Catlin.  The latest to open was the Black Beauty Coal Company proving that “that there is coal in them thar hills.”

coal mine tools

Click on image for larger picture

Catlin Historical Society
210 North Paris
Catlin, Illinois 61817
(217) 427-5766