The Muddy Coal Mine

Filed in Gather Writing Essential by on February 29, 2008 0 Comments


Years after my parents took me home, adoption papers signed, sealed, and delivered to Muddy, Illinois (the setting for my short story Fly Balls Ain’t Washtubs), I used to go to my Grandpa Molinarolo’s Grocery Store. I’d dig a Coca-Cola from the huge Coke dispenser filled with ice, pop the top off the sweating bottle and kneel on the big shelving unit that spanned the entire length of the store front. I’d just stare at the majestic Muddy Mine Tipple and let my mind wander.

That’s where my Grandpa, Uncle Pete, and their father, Virgilio, spent many hours before the Village became incorporated in 1957 and my Grandpa owned it and all of the land that was Muddy. After the O’Gara mine 12, then O’Gara 1 closed, Lucieno Molinarolo bought the 7 square mile acreage.

Standing alone is the O’Gara mine 12 tipple, constructed of reinforced concrete, the only such structure in the world. It spanned five loading tracks and during its heyday produced 2500 tons of coal daily. The mine did not reopen after the Ohio River flood of 1937. Little did I know then that the Tipple would be the most photographed structure in Southern Illinois or that a childhood friend would record a song about the Muddy Coal Mine.

Please check Rocky Alvey’s song. The pictures in the video are original photo’s when O’Gara was in it’s hey day from 1923 to 1937.   

 Muddy Coal Mine

My family is proud to preserve this structure.

My Dad took the picture that is on Rocky’ s Website when they walked the property last year, while mine taken on 35mm high speed at dusk is framed over Dad’s desk in his den.

Rocky’s Website: Muddy Coal Mine Home

©2008 Anne Molinarolo

About the Author ()

I am a child of the 70's raised in a small Village in Southern Illinois. Muddy was a great place to grow up! Big enough that allowed my brother, sister, and I to ride our bikes, swim, climb trees, explore the old coal mine sites, pick blueberries and

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