Cherry Hill Mine
Early in the twentieth century, Louisville Gas and Electric Company was formed to supply Gas and Electricity for the residents of Louisville, Ky. and the surrounding areas. Natural Gas was supplied through buried pipelines and to individual homes through metering devices. To produce and supply the electricity, the decision was made to build a coal burning power plant. The plant was built on the Ohio River near Louisville. No local source of coal was available and L. G. and E. secured "Coal Rights" in the Echols area, mined the coal and shipped it to the power plant. A separate division, within the company, was formed to mine this coal and Echols Mine was opened. This Echols Mine was a big operation, and at times, over a hundred miners were working the coal. There was a coal tipple and rails that tied into the main Railroad Line. This operation worked as planned and the electric generating plant always had a stockpile of coal to burn in the boilers. All went well until the Echols Mine ran out of coal and another mine had to be found.
In 1939, Cherry Hill Mine was opened. Louisville Gas and Electric purchased the mineral rights in an area, west of Central City and south of State Highway 70. As Echols Mine was being shut down, Cherry Hill Mine was opening. The miners for this new mine were mostly from Rockport and Echols, as Louisville Gas and Electric Company gave the Echols Mine miners the opportunity to transfer to Cherry Hill. Even years later, it seemed that the new hires were being selected from the Rockport and Echols area.
In 1939 until the late forties, personal family cars were not the normal. Most of the Cherry Hill Miners worked only a few days a week. Louisville Gas and Electric only wanted a reserve stockpile of coal sufficient to keep them in operation for a few months and when that stockpile was full, Cherry Hill Mine ceased work until more coal was needed. This type of operation only gave the miners two or three days a week work and that income placed a limited budget on the household of each miner. In most cases, this meant food, clothing, and shelter but not family transportation for the Cherry Hill Miner. Thus, a means to get to Cherry Hill for work sometimes presented a problem. Some "Car-Pooling" existed and some of the local citizens saw a chance for some extra income. Lofton Stewart was one of those citizens. Originally, he purchased a half-ton pickup truck, added a cover over the bed of the truck, and started a taxi service from Rockport to Cherry Hill. That small truck was replaced by a larger truck and soon, Lofton bought two buses, one for the day shift and one for the night shift. Robert Givens and Lester Abbott were two of several drivers that would drive for the cost of a trip. At first, the ferry at Rockport had to be used, as the highway bridge was not opened until the late summer of 1940. For about the next ten years, this practice continued and then in the late forties, family cars began to become the norm.
I was down in the Cherry Hill Mine one time and that was a short walking trip down into the bowels of the earth, and escorted by my father. At one time, my father and my grandfather worked at Cherry Hill. Guess that my father thought that he would show me the conditions of the mine and I would not want to become an underground miner. Well, it did work, but maybe not for the reasons that my father was concerned about. As I remember we walked on the left side of the slope mine going down and there was a string of lights attached to the left side wall. The walking path was damp and the walls and ceiling seemed to be wet with some water seepage. At that time, I do not remember any conveyor belts, but remember a track for entry to the mine and for bringing out the coal. Later on, I think this procedure was changed over to a conveyor belt system. The picture of the "Mine Motor Car", in the top picture, is a type of engine that would pull the "Mine Cars", as pictured in the bottom picture. These two pictures just represent a specific motor car and a mine car and not necessarily the exact type that was in operation at Cherry Hill.
What was once, is no more. My father retired in the early sixties and the mine continued for about fifteen more years. By this time, the mineable coal by an underground mine was about gone, and Peabody Coal Company was now established in the are. River Queen mine, with its' big shovel moved in to Cherry Hill Mine area and stripped the old Cherry Hill Mine leavings as well as more of the surrounding area. Before the start of the nineteen-nineties, the big River Queen mine had removed the remaining coal, reclaimed the land, and moved on. Today, a small community is enjoying the tranquil living in the area.
The proceeding paragraphs, as far as I can remember, are factual, but the information is from old and used memory cells. If you see anything that does not conform to what your idea of the the Cherry Hill Mine was all about, some seventy years ago, please feel free to let me know. If you have any pictures or other pertinent information that you would be willing to share, by all means, contact me. Thanks for any possible future information or help and thanks for looking this page over.