Monday, November 10, 2008

The Last Pony Mine

Iowa State University produced the documentary The Last Pony Mine which received a CINE Golden Eagle Award.  The description provided  on the Chip Taylor Communications website reads:

Coal was the main source of primary energy for industry and transportation from the 18th century to the 1950s in the United States; coal resources and coal mining played important roles in many state's social and economic history.  Prior to engines being used by coal miners, little Belgian or Shetland ponies, known as Pit Ponies, were used to pull carts loaded with coal through the low-roofed mines. The last pony mine in American was the New Gladstone Coal Mine in Appanoose County, Iowa, which shut down its operations in 1971, ending an era of pony mining.  This classic, award-winning documentary recounts the story of the mine, the miners and their four-legged partners, who worked the same shifts as the men and were an important part of the haulage crew, hauling empty coal cars to the miners for filling or hauling loaded cars out of the mine.  Produced by Iowa State University.

The documentary may be viewed on YouTube in three segments:  Part 1; Part 2; and Part 3.

The Gladstone Mine was located just north of Jerome on the Milwaukee Railroad.

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