Peabody Coal Company moved into Ohio County in the early fifties and they have been here continuously, since then. Ken Mine was the first Peabody Mine to become operational, in this area, and shortly thereafter Homestead Mine started up. This mining area generally consisted of an area bordered on the North by Western Kentucky Parkway and South, East, and West by the Green River. This area included, but not limited to, Rockport, Echols, Beaver Dam, McHenry, Wisox, Chiggerville, Little Bend, and Cool Springs. The dividing line between the two mines was the Rochester Road, but that was never officially established and the line changed depending on the need of the Coal Company. Riverview Strip Mine and Alston Strip Mine moved into the McHenry and Centertown areas. This area was generally North of the Western Kentucky Parkway and Green River and West of Beaver Dam. It was North of Rockport and split McHenry with most of the stripping done to the West of McHenry. Sinclair Mine was located in Muhlenberg County and just across and South of the Green River at Ken Mine. The stripping area at Sinclair Mine was South of Paradise Steam Plant and generally North and West of Drakesboro. Pittsburg and Midway or the old P and M Mine, a non-Peabody Mine, stripped a large portion of land North of Sinclair Mine and South of Western Kentucky Parkway. Pond Creek was in the middle of this stripped area and was in the way of the coal mining. It was re-routed in a few places. Later Peabody's Gibraltar Mine moved into this area and stripped from about Pond Creek to the Green River on the North. This area included land on both sides of the Western Kentucky Parkway and Highway 62. North of the Western Kentucky Parkway, and between Central City and Mortons Gap was a very large Strip Mining area. The enormous reserve of coal was South of Highway 70 and extended almost to Madisonville. Vogue Strip Mine had the largest parcel of land to strip and was located West of Highway 175. The River Queen Mine was in a parcel of land West of Central City and bordered by Highway 175 on the West, Highway 70 on the North and Western Kentucky Parkway on the South. Graham was on the Southern end of the mine. Some Peabody Mines have not been included as I am not that familiar with the rest of them. If you have a particular Peabody Mine or some other mine that you would like to see mentioned, please feel free to send me a picture or two and a short write-up and I will see what I can come up with.
The Peabody Coal Company and now Peabody Energy has mostly, been a good neighbor and provided a work area where just about anyone from Ohio County could find some type of job. For the past fifty years, the area fishermen and hunters have had a good place to fish and hunt. My first memory of Peabody and Ken Coal Mine was the old "Tipple Lake". This was prior to Peabody purchasing Ken mine. The year was probably in 1950, but it may have been 1951. I can't remember the person that took me and a few others fishing in that old tipple lake, but I certainly thought that I had found a fishing area, second to none. This lake was just across the "Haul Road" from the tipple and on the Green River side. We caught fish that day until we ran out of bait. The size did not matter. Most of them were "Throw Backs", but there was enough keepers for a mess of fish. Just a few years later, we discovered the old "Farm Lake". That is the one that was used as a swimming lake for hundreds of local youths and adults. Keeper size bass were plentiful and were ready and eager to strike an artificial lure. Some of us walked from Rockport to the Farm Lake on many occasions. We have even camped out overnight and walked back the next day. Then a few years later and by then, I had a car and drivers license, we discovered "The Big Lake", "Wooded Lake" or just "Ken Lake". I had hunted squirrels in this bottom land prior to Peabody making it a nice fishing lake. Whatever it was called, it was the 200 or so acre lake on the opposite side of the haul road from the river tipple. I fished that lake when green leaves were still on the trees and caught some nice bluegill. A few years later, I caught enough big bass out of that lake that I thought about turning pro. Guess I must have thought that I was just a good fisherman and the good stock of bass in that lake had nothing to do with the catch. Others were also catching a lot of big bass. Hunting in the Ken Mine area was also good. Before deer and turkey became so plentiful, the mine area was a good place to hunt for rabbit and quail. Ken Mine was just a good neighbor and even after the mine was shut down, the state of Kentucky became manager of this vast sportsman land.
That was then. This is now. My generation was able to fish, swim and hunt on Peabody property, but the future generations may not have such good fortune. I hope Muhlenberg County has fared better. I am not sure of the details as to why and when things changed, but they did change. Whether the State of Kentucky and Peabody Energy could not come to an agreement or whether Peabody Energy got greedy, I just do not know. First to be sold off was the 200 hundred or so acre lake and another eight hundred acres of land to go with it. Now, all of that is fenced and available to only a select few. Since then, another thousand acre block in the area of the tipple was sold and that part is fenced off. Driving along the few roads that are left, and especially in the Hopewell Church area, there will be a parcel of land that is posted and then a few acres that have not been sold. It is just sickening to see all of that land not put to a better use for the residents. After all, it was county land that was turned upside down.
Click on the following "Action Boxes" to view. All Peabody Mines are not listed because I do not have the material needed to place them in a section of this web site. If you have material on any Peabody Mine, please feel free to share and I will attempt to see that "Your" mine is mentioned. Thanks.