Chuck Mack: A life in coal mining continued

Golly, I spent my entire working career, spanning 45 1/2 years mining coal.

Coal mining was in my blood the day I was born. By the time I was born, I already had several older brothers working in the mines, and my Pop was a lifelong coal miner.

Pop started mining coal in the Mt. Harris area coal mines in 1918, and he continued working as a coal miner in the same area mines until his retirement in 1945. I calculated one time that all of the coal mining experience gathered by myself, my brothers and my Pop amounted to more than 300 years. And the tradition is carried on; our son Mike has been a lifelong coal miner and has added 30 years or so to the family record.

I have been retired from the mines now for 14 years. However I'm still a coal-mining man. I'm not digging coal out of the earth anymore. But I like to stay busy digging up any information I can find on the coal mining industry in our area.

So far, I've stuck to Routt and Moffat counties as my source of mining information. So, I guess in a sense I'm still digging coal.

I have found newspaper articles pertaining to four or five different coal mining companies that were mining coal, or were intending to mine coal in the vicinity of Craig.

I've read enough to come to the belief that during the teens and 20s of last century, there were a lot of stock schemes, as well as stock swindles taking place. And it seems a lot of those schemes and swindles involved railroading and coal mining. Gosh, if all the railroads that were talked about would have actually been built, Routt and Moffat counties would be crisscrossed every couple of miles by a railroad. And if all of the coal mines that were planned and talked about had been dug into the earth, we couldn't walk more than a couple hundred yards without falling in a hole!

The following is an article on a couple of the coal companies that had big plans for the Craig area in the 1920s. If anyone out there can shed any more light on these coal mines, I would certainly love to hear from them.

I have more articles of information on these and other Craig area coal mines. This information will be brought to you in future editions.

Producers and Mt. Evans Coal Company - Craig, 1920

Producers Finish Tipple.

First Link of Railroad Grade Will Be Finished This Week.

Work at the Producers Coal Company holdings west of Craig has been going forward under full steam for the past week says the Craig Empire. The company is developing three veins of bituminous coal and at the same time working on the 3 1/2-mile railroad spur connecting the mines with Craig.

The mine tipple, having a capacity of 500 tons of coal a day, was finished last week. Mine foreman Frederick Frances states, "The first link of the railroad grade, two miles on the west end was finished by contractor Rakestraw Saturday. Mr. Rakestraw has been employing some 25 men on the contract."

Engineer Roy Wilson completed the survey for the east end of the railroad spur and work on this will begin next month. Ties and the rails already have been purchased for this mine road, which will serve both Producers and the Mount Evans Coal Companies.

Two carloads of mine machinery now is on the way from Denver to Craig, and will be installed within the next few weeks. The equipment consist of boilers, engines, compressors, hoist, mine cars and the like.

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