Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Memories of Jerome, Iowa - Part VI - Railroads and Coal Mines

  In 1886 the Chicago and Milwaukee railroad purchased right-of-way through Lincoln township for construction of a road.  In the early part of 1887 the first train passed over this road through Jerome.  Many farmers gave land for this right-of-way and Peter Sidles, Sr. gave land for the depot providing they would locate a depot here.  The railway company called the town Rowley and painted that name on the station, but the towns people would not accept the name and it was soon dropped in favor of Jerome.  
  Soon after the railroad passed through the community, William Oughten and William Meyers purchased a mining site and coal lease from James Buck and Peter Sidles, Sr., and sank the Big-4 Mine.  This was completed in the fall of 1892.  They operated the mine for some time and then sold it to the Consumers Coal Company of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  This company operated the mine until the Harkes Coal Company of Kansas City, Mo., purchased it in 1912.  Shortly after this the mine reached peak production, nearly 250 tons daily.  It was worked until 1923 when it was abandoned due to the high cost of production.
  In 1892 a coal lease was purchased west of Jerome by the Big Block Company and this company sunk a mine known as No. 2.  In 1894-95 this mine reached its height of production which was 130 tons daily.  The life of this mine was very short for soon after its opening a fault was struck and other suitable coal property could not be leased.  The operator was a man by the name of Peter Marsden.
  The United Mine Workers of America was organized in Jerome in the fall of 1898.  It was continued here for many years and as the mines were discontinued the miners took their memberships to other places.
 [From Memories of Jerome, Iowa, 1989 published for the 1989 Jerome Reunion.]

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