Lucas, Iowa

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Lucas is a city in Lucas County, Iowa, United States. The population was 243 at the 2000 census.



The Burlington and Missouri River Railroad Company established a station at Lucas in 1866, named after Lucas County and Robert Lucas. A plat for the town was filed on May 9, 1868 and the town was incorporated on March 18, 1887.[1] The town grew slowly until coal was discovered in the area.[2]

In 1876, the Whitebreast Coal and Mining Company began working a 250-foot shaft one mile east of Lucas. This proved successful, and in 1878, they platted a company town there, which they named Cleveland 41°1′57.21″N 93°26′38.71″W / 41.0325583°N 93.4440861°W / 41.0325583; -93.4440861. By 1880, Cleveland had a population of 380, and the first mine was producing 650 to 700 tons of coal per day by the labor of 280 miners and 33 mule drivers. A second mine was opened 3/4 mile from the first, and the two mines sold coal to the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, and several other railroads to the south and west.[3] Very little remained of Cleveland by the 1930s.[4]

In 1893, the Lucas Coal Company was working a two-foot coal seam 83 feet down, employing 24 men.[5]

The Big Hill mine in Lucas worked a 4-foot-thick (1.2 m) coal seam 274 feet below the surface using room and pillar methods,[6] with a shaft not far from the Burlington station. This mine was closed in April 1904 and stripped of equipment, but by mid-1905, plans were in place to reopen it.[7] The reopening lasted until 1907, when the mine was again closed, as the rock directly above the coal was sandstone and it was saturated with water.[8] This mine is noteworthy because John L Lewis got his first coal mining job here, before going on to head the United Mine Workers of America.

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