--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, water.kresse@... wrote:
This "side-delivery" process was more common in the coldÂ Midwest prior to the First World War .Â Normally these cars would dump into a chute going into the basement of a business' boiler house or on the side of an elevated trestle in a coal yard.Â I believe farmers coops would sell coal by the bag or by mule wagon delivery.
Coal was delivered in gondolas - drop-bottom or otherwise - to the Farmers Co-op Elevator in the small Iowa town (pop. 250) in which I grew up. Oscar Barker, one grade ahead of me in school, was paid $15.00 to shovel the coal over the side into coal bins. (Oscar's father died when Oscar was young and the family was in desperate situation financially.) It took Oscar 3 or 4 evenings after school to unload a car.
We heated with stoker coal and it was my job to keep the stoker full, remove the clinkers, and so on. We bought the coal one or two gunny sacks full at a time and I drove them home on the fenders of an old Buick. This started years before I was old enough to get a driver's license. We had a coal bin but Dad rarely had enough money to fill it all at once.
When the natural gas pipe line came through some time after 1960 it didn't take long for everyone except Orin Gridley to get on the gas band wagon. Orin heated with wood until the day he died.
I remember at least one occasion when coal was dropped on the ground, shoveled into the back of a truck, driven around to the customer side of the coal bins, and shoveled into the bins. My mental picture is of coal on the ground being shoveled into a grain truck but, for the life of me, I can not recall whether it was dumped from a drop-bottom gon or a hopper car. Delivery in a gondola was the norm.
The coal bins had a asymmetrical roof, steep on the track side and about a 6/12 on the customer side. Each bin had a pair of doors on the track side through which the coal was shoveled into the bin. By the time I came along the coal bin floors were below the level of the adjacent drive and always water or ice covered, depending on the temperature.
Afterthought! It just occurred to me that immediately before checking these messages I sent an email to the very fellow who ran the elevator when I was a kid and who shoveled the stoker coal into those gunny sacks. I'll check my memory with him.