West Mine #21
Denning Twp, West Frankfort
Franklin County , Illinois
WEST MINE COAL CORP. WEST 21 SHAFT MINE 1935-1936
The picture above was taken about 1 year after the mine
closed down, in 1936.
Many of the miners displaced by machinery in the larger
mines are left stranded after mines are abandoned; have
opened shallow primitive workings on the coal seam where
it occurs close to the surface.
The output of these shallow mines, known locally as gopher
holes, is processed by a crude method and sold to truckers
at about half the price of deep-vein coal.
Many of the gopher holes have no storage in the tipple,
and the miners underground are idle when no truck is waiting
at the chute to load coal. Wages of gopher hole miners run
from seventy-five cents to five dollars per day, and many
miners earn less than WPA (Works Progress Administration)
workers. Some of the larger gopher holes, such as Blue Ribbon
Number 2 at Spillertown, Williamson County, are better
equipped, pay better wages, and produce as high as 40,000
tons a year.
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Nanette Riley ©Illinois Genealogy Trails History Group