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Godley in Will County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Mining Black Diamonds

Braidwood's Coal Boom

 
 
Mining Black Diamonds Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jason Voigt, September 30, 2020
1. Mining Black Diamonds Marker
Inscription.  In 1864, farmer Thomas Byron dug a well and struck "black diamonds" - coal. The next year, Scottish miner James Braidwood sank the first shaft. Towns like Braidwood, Coal City, Carbon Hill, Diamond, and Godley sprang up. These villages were home to immigrants who toiled in the perpetual darkness of the mines. In Godley, many found employment at the K Mine, M Mine, and Shotz, Torino, and Rixson mines.

Forming a Union

The United Mine Workers Union formed in 1890 to demand better pay and working conditions. Miners and coal companies often clashed in strikes and bloody conflicts.

Life-Threatening for Men and Boys

Coal miners and their young sons working 100 feet underground faced constant dangers. At Diamond Mine, just four miles from here, snowmelt in February 1883 flooded the mine and 74 men and boys died within minutes. This photograph of the mine was taken just after the disaster.

A Changing Industry

Most Braidwood mines closed by 1900, while other local mines operated through World War I. Strip mining began in 1928 and ended by 1974. The area's coal
Mining Black Diamonds Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jason Voigt, September 30, 2020
2. Mining Black Diamonds Marker
Marker and its supplemental interpretive statue are in front of the Route 66 Mining Museum.
was used to stoke furnaces in businesses and homes and locomotives.
 
Erected by Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byways.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceLabor UnionsRoads & Vehicles. In addition, it is included in the U.S. Route 66 series list.
 
Location. 41° 14.233′ N, 88° 14.708′ W. Marker is in Godley, Illinois, in Will County. Marker is at the intersection of Kankakee Road and Illinois Route 53, on the right when traveling north on Kankakee Road. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 150 Kankakee Rd, Braceville IL 60407, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 14 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Diamond Mine Disaster (approx. 3.6 miles away); Wilmington, Illinois (approx. 7 miles away); Abraham Lincoln Founding President (approx. 12 miles away); Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address (approx. 12 miles away); Cardiff, Illinois (approx. 13 miles away); Elwood Arsenal (approx. 13˝ miles away); Pioneer Gothic Church (approx. 13.6 miles away); 1879-1979 (approx. 13.8 miles away).
 
More about this marker. This is one of nine Wayside Exhibit markers erected by Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byways that has an interpretive statue next to it.
 
Interpretive statue image. Click for full size.
By Jason Voigt, September 30, 2020
3. Interpretive statue
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 1, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 1, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. This page has been viewed 41 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on October 1, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.
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Oct. 26, 2020