Submitted by Debbie Quinn
The first coal mine in Springfield began operation in 1867 and the last one was abandoned in 1964. A total of 53 coal mines have operated in Sangamon County. It appears that most of these mines ued the room-and-pillar technique which leaves pillars to support the mine roof after 30-80% of the coal has been extracted. Unfortunately the pillars do not provide permanent structural support and subsidence can occur.
Coal mines in Sangamon County were concentrated in the central area from north to south. They were often located in close proximity to cities, which offered labor and market. At times towns were established near coal mines to provide housing for miners. Some communities such as Auburn, Cantrall, Chatham, Dawson, Divernon, Jerome, Pawnee, Pleasant Plaines, Riverton, Sherman, Southern View, Springfield, Thayer, Williamsville, and unincorporated Sangamon County are located near or directly over mines.