Mining Display

Back when coal was used to provide heat there were coal mines operating in almost every part of Grundy County. The drills and tampers leaning against the wall were used in deep, long-wall mining. The miner used a hand drill to dig into the side of rock, used a tamper to shove some dynamite back into the hole, lit it, and got out of the way. This way the rock was blown away to expose the cola.

Mining was dangerous. The Diamond Mine Disaster happened on the morning of February 16, 1883. During a February thaw, the long-standing water above the northeast section of Shaft #2 of the Wilmington Coal Mining & Manufacturing mine at Diamond finally weakened the mine roof so it collapsed onto the miners below. Tons of water rushed through the shafts, flooding the entire mine in less than an hour. The pump man sounded the alarm three times to alert the town. 80 men and boys drowned. One the wall you see two sketches by the magazine artist, T.J.S. Landis, who arrived at the scene to depict the horror of family members watching for loved ones at the mouth of the shaft and of the bodies being loaded onto the funeral train.

The site of the Diamond Mine Disaster is marked by a monument on Route 113, put up by the United Mine Workers. This disaster served to get mine safety laws passed through the Illinois State Legislature.

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