Kircher coal mine
Posted by Jim Birkholz (+195) 13 years ago
Anyone know where this mine was? Was it near the Kircher school?

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Geology and Economic Deposits of a Portion of Eastern Montana
By Jesse Perry Rowe, Roy Arthur Wilson
Published by University of Montana, 1916

"The lignites of this area have been most extensively developed in the vicinity of Miles City. The Kircher mine, six miles northeast of Miles City, is the largest. The coal bed, which here lies some 60 feet below the surface, is reached by a slope and the mining is done by the room and pillar method. The mine cars are pushed by hand to the foot of the slope and drawn up by a gasoline engine hoist. At the time of the writer's visit three men were employed, and the product of the mine was hauled to Miles City. The average price of this coal is $2.50 per ton. There are numerous old openings on the coal beds exposed in the vicinity of Signal Butte. but all of them are at present apparently abandoned. Aside from the above described mines, the numerous small entries located in various parts of the field are of little importance."
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Posted by julieinmc (+514) 13 years ago
Some info from right here on mc.com http://www.milescity.com/...w.asp?id=1
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15202) 13 years ago
This is just a guess, but based on the description in the article in the post above and what little I know about land-forms where coal is present, it seems likely this mine was in the hills just east of Looman's Arena (not sure if that is what it is still called) on the south-side of the interstate.

It would be interesting to have an exact location.
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+10103) 13 years ago
Arthur J. Collier and Carl D. Smith. "The Miles City Coal Field, Montana," CONTRIBUTIONS TO ECONOMIC GEOLOGY: PART II - COAL AND LIGNITE, BULLETIN No. 341, Department Of The Interior, United States Geological Survey (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1907), pp. 36-49
http://books.google.com/b...&ct=result

Pages 47-40 deal specifically with the Kircher Mine and provide among other details township-range description - at page 48: quote:

. . .East of Tongue River the outcrop of this bed follows the base of the hills and practically coincides with the margin of the lowlands or river flat, but for several miles there is no evidence that the bed contains workable coal. It is of better quality, however, a short distance east of Miles City, and has been exploited by a number of small mines, only one of which is active at the present time. At the Kircher mine, in the SE. 1/4 sec. 19, T. 8 N., R. 48 E. . . .
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Posted by GVC (+511) 13 years ago
In addition to the area described above, another abandoned coal mine is located along the south of the Baker highway toward Woodruff Park. I believe the mine was operating for several years but someone would have to help me with the dates. Anyway, the coal seam did catch fire and burn for several years after the mine was closed.

Does anyone have any more details to share?
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15202) 13 years ago
GVC: That was the Storm-King coal mine. I was in that mine once when about 5 or 6 years old, which would have been 1966 or 67. It was a pretty spooky place. It also severed as the Civil Defense shelter for the Pine Hills area. It caught fire about 1969 and burned on and off until about 1972.

[This message has been edited by Richard Bonine, Jr (edited 1/18/2009).]
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15202) 13 years ago
Thanks for the legal description, Hal! In my previous post, I was looking in the wrong quarter section. The building at the left edge of the photo is the arena I was talking about. I am wondering if the reservoir in the NW corner of NESE quarter was maybe the portal to the Kircher mine? Perhaps there is someone out there older than I with connections to the Herzog family that could let us know?

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Posted by Chris Gamrath (+381) 13 years ago
Mining coal brings back great memories actually. We didn't have a coal "mine" on my Grandpa's property, but we did have a coal seam. It was on the back end of one his pasture sections with a great road that wound through the hills and creek bottoms. You might or might not get stuck depending on the mud and the snow and how much coal you loaded into the back of the pickup. (when the leaf springs are compressed to the point that the fenders rub on the rear tires, the truck is FULL! lol)

The best part of all of it was using the dynamite to loosen the face of the seam enough to break loose the coal to load it. Grandpa loved that part. I know first-hand just how much of a wallop ammonium fertilizer and diesel fuel will do with a lil bit of dynamite! How far a chunk of rock will fly when you don't get the mud packed down in the hole well enough to contain the "WHOOOOMMMMPH!" and what said rock is capable of breaking! (p.s. always use the old pickup and not the newer one or if you must use the newer one, find a GOOD hiding place for it when blasting) How you lose about 5 years of your life worrying when the blasting caps are too old and no good and DON'T go off after all the holes are packed and they don't go off after several attempts...

All in all though it was a great "learing" experience and one of those childhood memories that lasts!
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Posted by Bill Zook (+493) 13 years ago
Richard had it figured about right. Brother-in-law Paul Herzog showed me the location and it sits almost exactly where 019 is located on the photo. Mostly it appreared to be a "shelf" of coal common around Custer County. My father-in-law and Dad in opposite corners of the county found coal in similar sites.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15202) 13 years ago
Bill: You were just the person I had in mind. Thanks for the info. Was this mine basically an exposed seam in the side of the hill that they just followed down?
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Posted by Bill Zook (+493) 13 years ago
That's the impression I have. I don't think any coal was removed after the Storm King opened as the quality of the Kircher mine was not as good.
Another mine in our area was the Bieloger(sp?) mine near Coalwood. It's quality wasn't as good as the Storm King either. As a youth I hauled coal for our use from both.

[This message has been edited by Bill Zook (edited 1/19/2009).]
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+10103) 13 years ago
It sounds like the Kircher Mine was a fairly extensive operation - that it employed the room & pillar system, drainage pumps, and ventilation system implies that it was operated by someone with experience in underground mining.

From: BULLETIN No. 341 (1907), pp. 60-61 - cited above.

Quote:

The Kircher mine, 6 miles northeast of Miles City, is on a somewhat more extensive scale. The coal bed here is 63 feet below the surface and is reached by a slope. The mine is worked by the room and pillar system, the mining being done by shooting off the solid with small charges of powder. Mine cars are pushed by hand to the foot of the slope, up which they are drawn by cable from a horse whim. Ventilation is accomplished by a fire box and mine water is pumped out by a windmill. During the summer of 1907 five men were employed and the product of the mine was hauled in wagons to Miles City, where most of it was delivered to the electric-light company and steam laundry for $2.50 and &2.60 per ton.
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