Published on Thursday, August 10, 2017
Rich in natural resources mining has been a theme through Montana's history and played a major role in the development of many towns. Montana is estimated to have 25% of the nation's recoverable coal reserve and is still active in the coal mining industry.
Coal mining has came a long ways since the horse-drawn wagons used to transport coal in the early 1900's. Coal is now hauled in mega load haul trucks that frequently haul over 400 tons of coal at once and are comparable in height to a two-story house. The average modern haul truck can haul enough coal in one load to heat a home for 40 years.
The photo below was taken in 1909 by frontier photgrapher Evelyn Cameron at a coal mine near Marsh Montana. The coal was hand-shoveled from the frozen stream bed alongside an outcropping of coal in to the horse-drawn wagon below to be hauled out and sold. The photo is courtesy of the Montana Historical Society.