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Geologist & Historian to do 4-Part Speaker Series on Early History of Mining in Southeast Missouri

(Ironton) The first of a four-part discussion on the History of Mining in southeast Missouri is set for Tuesday evening, April 26th in Ironton.

Leading the talks will be local geologist Russell Myers and local Historian Brick Autry.

Myers says mining is the main reason many of the first European families set down their roots in the rugged northern Ozarks.

Myers says there are several of those forgotten mining communities that spread from eastern Phelps County to parts of Ste. Genevieve County.

At it’s peak after the iron ore blast furnace was built in 1880, the northeastern Dent County town of Sligo, had a population of around a thousand with over 3-thousand individuals working there.

Sligo was named after the Sligo Furnace Company, the major employer.

The Sligo Furnace Company Railroad Department constructed the Sligo branch of the railroad which extended off the St. Louis, Salem, Little Rock line.

The Sligo Branch began in Sligo, went to Dillard, then Viburnum which wasn’t even a town at the time, to Bixby and the branch stopped five miles east of Bixby in what is now called East End, the east end of the line.

That railroad branch has been gone for many years now but Myers says modern technology has brought it back to life.

The first public discussion with Myers and Autry will take place at the Ozark Regional Library in Ironton Tuesday evening, April 26th at 6.

The topic will be iron mining 1815-1923.

The second discussion is set for Tuesday evening, May 31st at 6 at the Ozark Regional Library in Fredericktown.

Parts 3 and 4 of this series, on the early mining days, will be schedule a little later on.

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