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Buxton Mining Town

Established by the Consolidation Coal Company in 1837 by a man named J.E. Buxton and his son, Ben Buxton, the new mining town of Buxton became home to many African-Americans looking for work. After multiple strikes and a scarcity of workers, the CCC decided to hire in black workers from Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee to work in Buxton as strike breakers. The plan worked, as strikes began to decrease. By 1900, Buxton had become the largest coal mining town west of the Mississippi River and had a population of nearly 4,000. New mines opened in the town under the Ackers Coal Company and the Regal Coal Company, who together produced 1,183,143 tons of coal in 1906 alone. In 1913, the opening of Mine No. 18 made it the largest mine to operate in Iowa. 1,800 men were employed under the CCC, all who earned $50 to $100 weekly. As the coal industry grew, so did the town with new schools, churches, parks, homes and businesses being built. In 1901, the Monroe Mercantile Company opened a department store (the building later burned down in 1911) and in 1903, a YMCA was built. The business sector of town had new restaurants, banks, meat markets, a lumber yard, bakeries and a variety of stores opening. A train depot and hotel meant visiting passengers guaranteed good business and helped the economic stability of Buxton. Although Buxton was similar to other growing towns, it differed when it came to racial and social matters. With a large hiring of African-American workers, the population was almost equal between whites and blacks (in 1905, there were 2,700 blacks and 1,991 whites). African-Americans were not segregated from whites and lived and worked alongside each other- they did not face the same racial prejudice that others did. No matter their race, professionals such as doctors, lawyers, teachers and business men were able to succeed at the same rate. Success of people such as Dr. Edward Albert Carter , who attended the University of Iowa and graduated in honors in the medical field, or George H. Wilson, who was the first Iowan African-American to be nominated for the office of State Representative, showed how being an African-American did not limit their talents or intelligence. Integration between races also found its way into Buxton schools, churches, businesses and even the town baseball team. With WWI beginning, the demand for coal boomed and raised Buxton's production levels with it. Population rose to 9,000 and business was doing well. However, after the war, demand fell sharply, and Buxton began to see a decline in production. After several fires in 1916 and no work, residents began to leave the town, bringing the population down to only 400 by 1919. In 1925, when the CCC sold out to the Superior Coal Company, the mines of Buxton began to close. Buxton never became an incorporated town and earned the nickname "the biggest unincorporated town in the United States".
U.S. Chronology
Iowa History Eras
Relational Notes
Resource is related to the following objects, which can be found by searching the catalog number in the advanced search section: Catalog #: 2018.012.020- Buxton Bottle 2018.012.014- Buxton Mining Tag 2018.012.017- Buxton Marble 2018.012.015- Buxton Padlock 2018.012.018- Buxton Mining Town Photo 2018.012.019-Buxton Mt. Zion Church 2018.012.016- Buxton Pitcher 2018.012.013- Buxton Roof Tiles 2018.012.010- Samuel Joe Brown
Iowa County