Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Mining Undermines Boonville Home Old Mine Shafts Gives Way, Causes Home to Sink Three Feet

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Mining Undermines Boonville Home Old Mine Shafts Gives Way, Causes Home to Sink Three Feet

Article excerpt

BOONVILLE, Ind. - A home on Maxville Road in Boonville sits about three feet lower today than it did two weeks ago. Officials blame the problem on the collapse of an old mine shaft, believed to have been abandoned in 1899. And that may be just a piece of a much bigger problem. Since 1890, when a vertical mine shaft was built near Newburgh, nearly every section of Warrick County has been mined for coal. In places where underground mines were used, there are gaping holes under the foundations of hundreds of homes, schools and businesses.

Aja Mason, curator of the Museum of the Coal Industry in Lynnville, Ind., said the problem of mine subsidence is only going to get worse.

"Warrick County is going to fall about 10 feet one of these days," said Mason. "Subsidence is nothing new here. It has happened before and it will happen again."

The problem is made worse by the fact that not all of the old mines were ever fully mapped. While there are some rough sketches of where old mine shafts are, it is almost impossible to tell if any given spot in Warrick County sits atop an abandoned underground mine.

"The only place that has not been underground mined in Warrick County is under the county courthouse," said Mason. "But they are not really sure about that. When they put up the Judicial Center (which sits across the street from the courthouse) in Boonville, they had to fill in holes there."

The mine subsidence on Maxville Road in Boonville is just the latest example. In 2006, a home in the Quail Crossing subdivision between Newburgh and Boonville was badly damaged by subsidence of the former KroffMine. In 2010, a brand-new section of Indiana 62 just west of Chandler suddenly dropped because of an underground mine collapse. A home in Newburgh was damaged last year by a collapse of the old Epworth Mine.

The elderly resident of the home on Maxville Road recently called the Boonville Fire Department after hearing a series of loud pops and seeing water in the backyard. …

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