Tour Locations | Interstate 55: St. Louis, MO to Springfield, IL
LOCATION 33 | Interstate 55: St. Louis, MO to Springfield, IL
Staunton Number 7 Mine
Several hundred yards to our left, we can see a very large hill, and inside that hill is stuff that, until a century ago, had not been on the surface of the Earth for millions of years. The entrance to Staunton Number 7 Mine lies just on the other side of that hill, and when coal was removed from the ground below us, the stuff that came up with it, ended up in that hill.
On the green bridge ahead are railroad tracks, and within 7 miles of this bridge, more than 12 coal mines operated alongside these tracks.
Life was extremely difficult for the earliest miners who lived near here. Many local miners walked silently to work over the ground where we are now, carrying with them their pics and lanterns that they most likely had to purchase themselves, praying they would return safely at the end of the day, to their home, that was most likely owned by the mining company. And if it were payday, they could be carrying scripts or vouchers that could only be redeemed at their mining company’s store.
Conditions were rough for the early miners here, as they were essentially owned by the mining companies, but things began to improve during the late 1800s.