The coal mining boom in the Cherokee-Crawford coal fields began in the 1880’s. New coal companies came into the district, and numerous mining shafts were sunk here.
The Cherokee & Pittsburg Coal & Mining Co., as the coal branch of the Santa Fe Railroad, sunk their first mine at Frontenac in 1886. By the next year, they were prospecting southwest of Pittsburg in the Chicopee area.
“The Santa Fe company have been operating a drill on their coal lands southwest of this city [Pittsburg]. It would seem from this that they are preparing to build the [rail]road from Frontenac, through this city to their coal beds. The company have also a drill at work on some lands north of Frontenac that have not hitherto been prospected.”
By May, 1887, the company ordered mines to be sunk at Chicopee, which were begun in July, and the railroad was built through Pittsburg to these new mines. The city rejoiced in acquiring its fifth railroad line.
Source: The Daily Headlight, Friday, 22 April 1887, Vol. 1, No. 5.