Coal mines in Appanoose County were documented as far back at 1850s. That discovery insured that the new, burgeoning railroad industry would run its tracks right through the county to fuel the engines. Once discovered, coal became the main source of heat for homes in the fast growing communities within Appanoose County. Coal mining would continue for many years, but eventually trains were powered by diesel and homes began to be heated with natural gas. The market for Appanoose County's low-quality coal disappeared.
One of the few coal mining museums in the country, our exhibits include a large collection of photos, two walk-in replicas of coal mines, a scale model replica of the Diamond Mine, a scale model of a mining camp and a scale model of the mining town of Mystic, circa 1907. Many artifacts are on display, and the documentary, "The Last Pony Mine" can be viewed in our theater. There is a large variety of coal mining histories in our research room, as well as two coal mining books for sale in our gift shop.
American Geosciences Institute - Interactive Map of Coal Mines in Iowa