The village of Ladd is a small community located in Bureau County in central Illinois. The area was originally called Osgood after the owner of the mine in the area. Later it was called Laddville after a businessman from Peru, Il. It was incorporated in 1890 as Ladd.
In 1888, the board of directors of the Whitebreast Fuel Company (Ottumwa, IA), authorized its agent William McNett to purchase mine rights in a section of Bureau County, Illinois. The purchase consisted of approximately 10, 500 acres in an area around what was to become Ladd. The site was chosen because of its proximity to a main road. There was also a railroad Illinois Valley and Northern. This was constructed to service an elevator in Ladd owned by George Ladd. This track was leased by the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy. Later the Milwaukee Road built a terminal in the area.
The original miners came to the area from Iowa in 1888. They encountered considerable difficulty in drilling due to the composition of the soil. After one and a half years, they successfully drilled 3 shafts. Whitbread fuel company operated the mine for 11 years.
In 1901, the mine was purchased by S.M. Caldwell and a group of investors. The company was called Illinois Third Vein Company. The new company made over $100,000. In improvements in the mine. They erected a coal washing plant. They installed a new ventilating fan.
At its peak, the town of Ladd had 700 miners and 300 railroad employees. This continued until 1924. The mine produced 6,198,174 tons of coal during its life.
The mine was closed in 1924 in part due to competition with nonunion mining in southern Illinois. The miners relocated to areas with active mining operations. Railroad workers were relocated.
The abandoned mine was sold to Peter Bergandi in 1925. The purchase price was $5000. Not much is known about what this individual did with the mine.
The only remnant of the mine is the slag pile. It was composed of shale and slate rock. At one time, it stood at 252 feet in height. Recently, it’s height was reduced by 80 feet by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The mine shafts were refilled.
In the past, plans were proposed for the slag hill. One of the more novel ones was a revolving night club at the top. Trees were planted on the hill by school kids.