Today in the new millenium, the Cherry St Paul Coal Mine office is located in a remote farm in Bureau
County. The owners asked me not to disclose the exact location. There are only a handful of people who are even aware of the
fact that this historic little coal office of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St.Paul Railroad still stands. I didn't know it until
i met a couple older gents at the railroad museum in Mendota. They said to me, "Did you know that the structure is still standing?"
I was surprised. They happened to know personally the family who had moved it from the coal mine site in 1928. It was pulled
on a trailer built for such a move and pulled by a tractor to its new site.
I of course got to know the family and they were kind enough to let me get proper dimensions of the coal office
since i was building a model of the entire mine site in HO scale.
It was originally clapboard siding and it was painted appropiately a Milwaukee Road Orange color. (see model pics)
It was in this building that the coal miners signed in for work and picked up their paychecks here. It was
the office for the managers and superintendents of the mine. It was this building that heard the shouts of distressed widows
at the time of the disaster. When they went in to pick up the final check of thier loved ones, they shouted that they wanted
their husbands back and not the money.
When i actually stepped inside the structure a couple years ago i could imagine the busy hustling and bustling
of employees at work and i could then hear the woman in distess weeping bitterly at the great loss of thier loved one(s) trying
to muster up enough strength to reach for the check handed to them and meander to their little homes with a bleak future.
It was also here that the widows stormed in to take the makeshift fans back from the officials. The trapped
miners built these fans to help move air down in the depths of the mine. Some had inscribed their names on the wooden fans.
The wives wanted something from their husbands and this was important that they keep them.
I am glad that the structure still exists and maybe someday it could return to Cherry and be placed back in Cherry.
Wouldn't that be something! It is possible and I even heard there is an effort to do so. It would be a dream come true for
me and many others. It would be a great visitors attraction and a good investment for Cherry. It is thier history and it is
the only thing left now of the Cherry Mine since the state came in and leveled the fanhouse structure in 2003. Maybe
there was a higher reason why it was moved off the original site in 1928. It would be they only way it could be preserved
for almost a hundred years now. God has a plan for this building to return as a significant memorial to all those miners
who lost their lives in this town back in 1909. So let up hope for the best in the year to come!
See the last picture on this page to view the coal office in its heyday at the mine.