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Pictou Coal Mine (Robinson No. 3)
OverviewLocation: Huerfano County, ColoradoYears of Operation: 1887-1954Total Production (tons): 4,970,678
Also Known As : Lenox, Sulphur Springs #1& #2, Maitland.
The Pictou Coal Mine was located roughly four miles east by north east outside of the town of Walsenburg. The Mine itself was on Loma Branch of the Denver and Rio Grand railroad branch about three point six miles from the Loma Junction. Pictou was opened in 1887 by the Southern Colorado Coal Company through two slope entries. The mines elevation was 6,290 feet above sea level. The mine names under the SCCC was the Lenox, or Sulphur Springs #1. One month after production began Maitland , also known as Sulphur Springs #2 was opened. The name was changed to Pictou in 1889 by Thomas Lawther, the Superintendent at the time. The name Pictou comes from the town of Pictou in Nova Scotia. In February of 1890 the mine was sold to the Colorado Fuel Company, and was operated by them until the consolidation in October of 1892, when CF&I became the owner.
THe CSCo was opened on February 8th of 1892, which provided supplies for both Employees of the Pictou and Jobel mines at the time.
In 1902 CF&I started manufacturing all of their mine carts at Pictou. Between four and five carloads of carts were produced each month. Each Carload consisted of eighteen carts. In 1927 three coal seams were mined at Pictou, the seems were named the Cameron, Robinson, and the Walsen seam. Each of the seams mined had a pitch of negative ten percent to the southwest. The Walsen seam varied between nine feet in thickness to three and a half feet.
The Mining at Pictou was done through the room and Pillar Method. and In 1927 the production of the Pictou Mine was rated at eight hundred tons of coal a day. Roughly seventy percent of that production number however also involved undercutting shortwall machine cutting using permissible explosives. The Pictou at that time employed two hundred and twenty five people.
The Coal was hand loaded and placed into mule haulage carts and hauled up sixteen at a time each cart holding about one and three fourths tons of coal. After being hauled from the mine a slope hoist led the carts to the tipple. An Ottuwa loader was used to place the coal into the covered transport cars to prevent theft of coal from the traditional transport which had become common during the great depression.
There were forty five employee dwellings on site provided for by CF*I with the remainder of the workforce living in Walsenburg. The Mine like most CF&I Mines had a bathhouse, garage, clubhouse and schools. The Company story on site was closed in 1932.
In 1931 Pictou mine was suspended after producing four million five hundred and seventy six thousand two hundred and fourteen tons of coal. The Mine was planned for surface mining operations starting in 1946, however the plan was slowed through accumulation of water in the mine works. CF&I started to pump the mines to clear them of water. Surface mining at Pictou lasted until 1948, in conjunction with underground mining starting up again. The surface mining operation was moved to Ravenwood tract which was also owned by CF&I and produced until 1954. The Pictou mine underground operations experienced many temporary shutdowns, but did not remain closed until 1954.