American Coal Company began sinking shafts into coal deposits north of
in 1920, and two years later the newly formed camp of Gamerco
witnessed hoisting of the first coal. Even before mining was
underway the town was platted, and the
American Coal Company moved abandoned homes from Heaton, and Navajoe,
both nearby coal camps ran by the company, to Gamerco, in addition to
new ones that were being constructed. The company town was soon
supplied with a company store, a meat market, a hotel, a clubhouse, a
shower house for the miners, and an executive office building. Keeping their miners happy, the company also built several recreation
facilities, including a golf course, swimming pool, tennis courts and
a base ball park. The company also provided a resident physician
and a nurse.
The company was
diligent in its safety practices, no doubt in an effort to prevent a
coal mining disaster such as the one that occurred in
several years earlier which claimed 263 lives. Ninety percent of
the underground employees had were certified in rescue and first aid,
the men were supplied with electric lamps and only permissible low
heat explosives were ever used.
Surface received $5.60 for
a seven-hour day, while those working underground were paid more. No
one was allowed to work more than five days per week. The five
hundred men on the payroll were not unionized and preferred to keep it
that way. Strikes had occurred at various mines around
one in 1917 when the striking United Mine Workers were broken up by the
National Guard. Another in 1922, resulting in increased wages and a
third in 1933, when the militia was again called to break up strikers of
the National Miners Union.
the 1960’s, the mines were closed for good and Gamerco died.
Gamerco still sported many of its original buildings, a giant steel head
frame, and a towering smokestack from the power plant.
the town still has a few hanging on residents, but most of the buildings
are gone. However, you can still see the towering smokestack as well as
the remnants of several buildings.
were closed during the early 1960s but many old buildings and a towering
smokestack from the power plant remain.
Gamerco in on
US Hwy 666, 3 miles north of US Interstate 40, exit 20 at
Allison, New Mexico
New Mexico, located on a coal
belt just northwest of
Gallup, once flourished as a
coal mining camp. Today there are just a few old company houses and
mobile homes to indicate that this was ever a town at all.
The mine was first opened by a man
named Gus Mulholland and later worked by Andrew Casna. However,
when Casna was killed at the mine, presumably by Indians, his
aggrieved widow fled to Germany. Her failure to keep up the
development work necessary to retain her husband's claim resulted in a
filing on the mine site by F. J. Allison and W. A. Patching in 1897. It was then that the town took its name for F.J. Allison. A post
office was opened in 1913 and the pair continued to work the mine
until 1917, when the Diamond Coal Company bought them out.
Allison was a company-owned town like
most of the others in McKinley County. Employees lived in the
small frame homes provided by the Diamond Coal Company. In
addition to providing a livelihood for Allison residents, the company
also furnished recreation for its employees in the form of tennis
courts and a company-sponsored baseball team. The town reported
a population of five hundred, a company store, a meat market, post
office, school, doctor and a sheriff.
Today the town has just a few
Clarkville, New Mexico
Though the town is long gone, during
its hey day it was an important lignite coal mining camp operated by
the Clark Coal Company. The camp, founded in 1898, was named for
its owner, W.A. Clark, a well-known mining magnate and millionaire.
Clarkville was reportedly a pretty little
place with comfortably-built houses. Among the town's features
were a two story brick commissary, a school building, a library and a
hospital. At the time, the town c laimed that it possessed so
many favorable characteristics that the miner and everyone living
there was happy and contented. Unique for these mining camps was
the fact that Clarkville never had a saloon and also prohibited the
sale of liquor on its premises.
mine was equipped with an electrical plant and a ten-ton electric
locomotive that propelled the coal cars. Telephone connections ran
between the mine and the town. In 1905, Clarkville had 400
residents, but two years later it had decreased to 200. The post
office closed in 1908 and Clarkville became a
Clarkville was located about six miles
of America, updated October, 2016.
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