Essex Quadrangle


Mining in the Essex Quadrangle

Coal was first said to have been discovered in Essex Township about 1820 by Matthewson, the State Geologist, at Cook’s shaft (Essex, Illinois, A History, 1977 and A Journey into the Past, 1985). Evidence of coal mining in the Essex Quadrangle goes back to as early as 1870 (mine index 3196), with 3 feet of good block coal, a roof of black shale, and numerous pyrite concretions. The coal was fairly deep (55 to 180 feet), so early mining in this area was underground. The Colchester Coal was the seam most often mined and it averaged about three feet thick. Thin coals were usually mined in the old longwall method, where all of the coal was removed and gob from the roof was piled behind the advancing miners to support the roof. The Houchin Creek Coal varied greatly in thickness, ranging up to 5 feet thick where it was present. This coal was usually mined in the room-and-pillar method. The Clark City & Wilmington Coal Company mined both the Houchin Creek and Colchester Coals, but the Houchin Creek (the upper seam) had a tendency to spontaneously combust, and at one point several smouldering fires were active. These fires led the company to seal off the upper seam for a few years to smother the fires before they could come back and mine the thicker coal there.

The last mine to operate was Peabody Coal Company’s Northern Mine (mine index 834). This large surface mine operated until 1974, when the last pit closed in Kankakee County.

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Coal Mines In Illinois Essex Quadrangle

Mines that Appear on the Essex Quadrangle

Unlocated Mines

Will County

Kankakee County

Will County

Pages in category "Essex Quadrangle"

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