Mining in the Silvis Quadrangle
The mining was concentrated around the “Happy Hollow” valley. Mining began in the 1870s, and because of the lenticular nature of the Rock Island Coal, few of the mines were very large or operated for very long, most closing before 1900. According to the 1875 “Past and Present of Rock Island County”, Heagy & Stoddard had the most extensive works, which used a railroad built in 1872-1873 to haul their coal to market. Most of the mines were slopes, accessed almost from the outcrop. Some of the mines had water problems, probably because of the thin overburden composed mostly of shale. Sufficient coal was present for some mining to take place up until the 1920s, but after that, the high cost of mining thin, lenticular coal made the area un-economic. According to Morris S. Heagy, even the railroad beds were difficult to see by the time he wrote his 1936 pamphlet.