Links to Mining Museums and Miners' Memorials for Iowa
The town of Carbon is remembered for its coal mines. Mines have, at one time or another, operated on all sides of the town and most of the supply has been exhausted.
At one time there were 22 mines in operation and large quantities of coal were mined daily -- the hard way -- with picks and shovels.
Lights used by the miners in the earlier days were small tin lamps. They were hooked to the caps and filled with a wick and lard oil. Later a yellow wax called "sunshine" was used. Still later the carbide lights, which represented much improvement, were used.
Some of the mines were named and old timers will remember the "Old Cucumber", "Golden Slipper", "Creeping Jenny" and the "Windmill", which produced more water than coal.
In the old days it was believed that a large vein of coal was located here and many a mine was sunk with the hopes that it would be the lucky one.
In the year 1910, a deep coal prospect hole was drilled to the depth of 873 feet, but no coal was found. After many years of mining, veins of coal became scarce locally and mines were suck farther away from town.
About the year 1932 the last Carbon mine was closed down. This mine was on the Dhone property in the west part of town. While working, miners cut into the works of an old slope mine believed to be one of the first mines here, as it was a short distance west of the mill where the first settlers located.
Tragedy struck several times during the years the mines were in operation. In 1899, three young boys, Henry and William Jones and their cousin, Arthur Barnes, climbed down the shaft of the Gebbie mine. The mine had been closed for the summer and the boys encountered a poisonous gas in the mine depths. Henry Jones was dead by the time Martin Jones, the boys' uncle, had rescued them from the mine. The Barnes boy was revived and the third boy, William, had not gone down into the mine as far as the other two and it was he who was able to get out and go for help.
Roy Hope, another young man, lost his life on his first day's work in the mines, crushed to death by the cage.
In later years, Carl Bohman, a miner, died from injuries suffered in a mine west of town.