Historical And Coal Mining Museum – Centerville, Iowa

historicalandcoal.gifHistorical And Coal Mining Museum – Centerville, Iowa

In Centerville, Iowa The Historical and Coal Mining Museum, located in a 1903 post office building, houses a collection beginning with the settlement period of 1843. Many exhibits depict a pioneer farm and village as well as a historic post office display.

Artifacts from the Mormon Trail of 1846 are on display, and maps and detailed information about the trail are available. The research library contains all available histories, plat books and directories of Appanoose County. Coal mine replica on the lower level shows mining tools and equipment.

Location: 100 West Maple (Hwy 2)

Hours: Monday – Friday 1:00 to 5:00, and between Memorial Day and Homecoming (mid October) it is also open on Saturdays from 10 to 2:00

Phone: 641-856-8040


Website: http://www.appanoosehistory.org


  1. Jim Stovall says:

    Do you have any info on a coal mine that was in the old town of bidwell owned by bidwell coal company.This is located on old hwy 34 near ottumwa.I own the land that it sits on and would love to get any info i can.Thank you

  2. Vickie Trent says:

    My grandmother-in-law, Effie Walters Mather, was raised in Bidwell, Iowa from 1918 until about 1930. Her father, Benjamin Walters, was a coal miner there. He and Effie’s mother, Lara Brooks Walters lived in one of the homes owned by the coal company. There were about twelve homes in a row near the railroad tracks. She believes that maybe the current house that remains was original but it has been remodeled and sided. We have photos of the houses and some of the children playing around them and we would be happy to share them. Effie and her sisters would "hop" the rail cars for a ride into Ottumwa periodically. Effie still lives in Waterloo at the age of 90 and she has a sharp memory with many interesting stories. Her parents and several of her siblings (19 total) are buried in the Brooks cemetery in the northwest corner.

  3. I am looking for pictures and information about the Big Jim coal camp and mine outside of Seymour. Any information of living situation, tragic deaths, specifics about the company store and the Italians who came from Northern Italy (especially Fonazso and Arsie). in late 1800 and early 1900!

  4. Linda Jones says:

    Hi! My great grandfather, Robert Lee Ruby, died on 01-11-1936 in a Bidwell Fuel Company Mine on the Henry Oswalt Farm one mile south of Christiansburg. If you have pix of that area…… or any knowledge of what happened, I would be obliged if you would contact me at LSJRJT@YAHOO.COM. I am very curious about his death. I do have an article from the newspaper that tells a little of the story….. if someone knew the TRUE story……. it would be a blessing to be able to finally put it to rest. Any assistance you can provide would be appreciated. Thanks!! Linda

  5. Vickie Trent says:

    Response to Jim Stovall regarding Bidwell, Iowa:
    I just found your email on this site by chance last week and am happy to respond, although your question has been waiting for quite some time! I asked Effie Walters Mather about the Bidwell site and found that her father, Benjamin Walters, worked at the coal mine during the 1920′s. There were only a few houses (12?) there at the time and a train frequented the tracks that ran through the town. Upon one occasion, when she was about ten years old, Effie was able to tour the first portion of the mine with her father and she said that the men who worked there all wore hats with lanterns attached. There were only a few homes in Bidwell and the families were close to one another. Effie remembered the name of the “Stephens” family, the “Brady” family and the “Pyle” family. Children would often gather at a green house – it is the house that still remains. It was also the train depot. If you have any additional questions, please contact me at vickie.trent@uni.edu Best wishes!

  6. Would like to get some information on the Thomas Gasparas family that lived in
    Centerville from 1910-1920′s. He was a coal miner but don’t know which company.
    All his children were born there. Any ideas of where to find this info?

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