Coal City

Coal City is situated in the western part of the township on the Cincinnati & Terre Haute Railroad, which operated from 1871 to 1877, and of which it is an outgrowth, and embraces a part of the southwest quarter of Section 11, Town 9 north, Range 6 west. The original plat was laid out by Henry and Charity Grim in the year 1875, and consisted of 104 lots. John J. Hochstettler's Addition of twenty one lots was made in 1877.

In the year 1880, Mary J. Grim made an addition of fifty five lots and in 1881 an addition of twenty-four lots was made by Elizabeth Hochstettler. In 1868, a business house was erected on the site of the town by John J. Hochstettler, who moved a stock of goods here from Stockton. This store gave the place some local prominence, and Hochstettler did a good business, but it was not until the survey of the railroad through the country that any prospect of a village was entertained. Work commenced on the road in 1873, at which time the town site was purchased by Charles D. Wilber and Asa Turner, gentlemen connected with the Indiana Block Coal Company, who platted a town and named it Frazier, after the President of the road. This plat, however, was not recorded and the speculators being unable to pay for the land it reverted back to the original owners, who had the town surveyed as described.

Among the first settlers in the town were John J. Summerlot, Dr. Joseph Hall, David Bolton, Dr. William Garvin and Israel Newport, all of whom purchased lots and erected residences thereon shortly after the town was laid out.

Hochstettler, the first merchant, sold goods until 1876, at which time an interest was purchased by Mr. Grim. Grim & Hochstettler continued as partners about two years, when the entire stock was purchased by the former, who did a good business until his death a short time afterward.

The second store was kept by Summerlot & Son, who erected a store room on the corner of Main and Grim streets, which they stocked with a large assortment of miscellaneous merchandise. They afterward erected a more commodious business room on Lots 22 and 130, which they still occupy. The first drug store was kept by Robert Shaw. He sold out to Dr. H. T. Clarey of Worthington who in turn disposed of the stock to John G. Snapp. One of the early merchants was Daniel Reed, who kept a dry goods store in the building later occupied by Richard Bryson. Reed was identified with the business interests of the village for three years, when he sold out and went to Brazil. Messrs. Powell & Stephens kept a grocery and provision store in the building occupied at the present time by B. F. Goshorn Another firm was the Grafe Brothers who, purchased Mr Grim's stock a short time after his death.

The early mechanics of the village were George D. Harris, Tobias Cailor, and Irwin Smith.

A large flouring mill was erected in the year 1882 by Richard Carahoof & Co. In this enterprise the projectors were assisted by the citizens of the village and surrounding country who donated $900 - a fruitless gift, as the company became dissatisfied and abandoned the mill before its completion. The building is a fine, three story frame structure and when completed will have a capacity of 100 barrels of flour per day.

The present business of the town is represented by two dry goods and general stores, kept respectively by Summerlot & Son and Lewis Kirch; one grocery store by B. F. Goshorn; hardware store by Richard Bryson; drug store, by J. G. Snapp; notions by Burton Summerlot; and harness shop, by Daniel Stants. There is a good hotel, a schoolhouse and three religious organizations, notices of which will be given in the church history. The town is a good trading and shipping point and its situation in one of the richest coal fields of Indiana, bespeaks for it a prosperous future.