Abandoned underground coal mines of Des Moines, Iowa and vicinity

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Des Moines, Iowa, the state's capital city, is situated within a portion of the state underlain by abundant coal resources. Early in the city's history, local deposits of coal were a readily available source of fuel for homes, industries, and railroads. Eventually, an underground mining industry arose in the Des Moines area and persisted for over 100 years (1840 to 1947). Recorded production totalled 50,965,427 tons from original reserves estimated at 750 million tons in Polk County (Landis and Van Eck, 1965).

Document Type: 

  • Report


  • critical issues, database publication, coal, mining, iowa