"Tinker Bell" and Indiana's coal mines
Tinker Bell serves as a reminder of southwest Indiana's coal mining heritage. The locomotive hauled coal at the Lynnville Mine for more than 30 years.|
When you think of coal mines, places like West Virginia, Kentucky and Pennsylvania probably come first to mind. You may be surprised to learn that coal mining has long been a significant source of employment across southwestern Indiana. In fact, Indiana’s first shaft for deep-vein coal mining was sunk in Warrick County in 1850 by John Hutchinson, a mining industry pioneer.
Founded in 1985, Lynnville’s Museum of the Coal Mine Industry works to preserve the heritage of the southwestern Indiana coal fields through exhibits of miner's tools, photographs, oral histories, and company records from the state's mining history.
One large impressive artifact is the Peabody Coal Company No. 470 locomotive, better known as Tinker Bell. Tinker Bell, built in 1940 by the Electro-Motive Company, operated in the Lynnville Mine from 1968 until 1999. After the mine closed, the locomotive sat abandoned in the rail yard.
Many dedicated volunteers and a $30,000 donation from Peabody Energy moved Tinker Bell from the rail yard to the museum in 2009, where it was cleaned, restored, and repainted. Sitting on the tracks as it would have in the rail yard, Tinker Bell appears ready to haul its next load of coal.
You’ll find the Museum of the Coal Mine Industry at SR68 West in Lynnville. For more information visit http://lynnvillecoalmuseum.org/ or call 812-922-5659.