The Coal Industry’s Impact on St. Louis

Topics: Interurban, Coal, Rail transport Pages: 1 (662 words) Published: October 21, 2014

The Coal Industry’s Impact on St. LouisCoal is perhaps the most plentiful source of fossil fuel and it an extensive history. It has been used as a source of heat since cave men roamed the earth. During the 1700s, it was discovered by the British that coal could produce a fuel which burned much cleaner and hotter that wood charcoal. However, the heavy demand of coal started with the Industrial Revolution that created numerous new technologies which required coal for energy. This produced the opportunity for coal to serve as the dominant worldwide supplier of energy. Similar to other large cities around the nation, St. Louis had a growing industry for coal as industrialization took a firm foothold in the community. But, unlike those other cities, “coal is literally the foundation of St. Louis.” Starting as an Indian trading post in 1764, St. Louis quickly transformed into a commercial city as western expansion drove settlers into the city. Steamboats and railroads, both coal powered, were the major means of transportation; although steamboats lost popularity as the railroads expanded throughout the city. The easy accessibility of resources inspired the development of industries on a continuously growing basis. Coal was no exception. St. Louis is nearly surrounded by coal aside from the southwest. There were even a few coal mines within the city, one in particular located at what is now the corner of Tholozan Street and Morganford Street. But the largest supply, while still be close, was located in Illinois, a few miles south of St. Louis on the east side of the Mississippi River.1 The coal reserves in Missouri and Illinois were so extensive that it was thought they would provide sufficient fuel supplies for thousands of years and even today remains the dominant source of energy. Illinois provided the lowest cost for coal in the nation and because St. Louis was so close, the city benefitted from it in a way no other city could. Railroads were a main mode of...
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