Do you live on Russell, Parker, Christy, or Bingham? Stuck in traffic on Jamieson? These names are references to the early history of coal and other mine work in St. Louis. The general area, first known as part of La Grande Prairie, was later referred to as the "Old Gravois Coal Diggings", or "Diggins", the latter being the rougher name. The area held numerous coal and clay mines...both used commercially and for settler's own use. The early miners included Welsh, Scotch, English and Irish settlers, and then later German and Italian.
Here are a few locations you may recognize:
Getting Starbucks at Kingshighway and Chippewa? You're sitting over the Laclede-Christy mine. Don't worry...it's 60 feet underground.
Taking a shortcut through Clifton Heights? At Southwest and Watson was the location of one of the deepest of the mines...with a shaft heading down 110 feet.
Headed to the Brentwood Trader Joes? Oh, you're just sitting on top of the Bausch Clay Mine. No biggie.
There are almost 100 documented mines in the St. Louis area, These mines brought the workers and settlers that helped create this beautiful, vibrant, place we call St. Louis. Cool, right?
*These posts are meant to be short and sweet...there are many books and papers written on the subject. Go read them and you can be a sexy smarty pants!
References: The Old Gravois Coal Diggings, Mary Joan Boyer & information found here http://www.usgennet.org/usa/mo/county/stlouis/underground_stl.htm