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New exhibit showcases Saginaw's coal mining past

Just below Mid-Michigan’s industrial veneer lies a coal mining past deeper than anywhere in the state.

Before the beginning of the 20th century, the largest coal deposits in the state were right underneath the Saginaw Valley – with underground mines throughout Saginaw, Bay, Genesee and Tuscola Counties.

“As the lumbering era started to die down and begin to wane, people were looking for what’s the next big industry going to be here in this area? And coal mining was the answer,” said Job Webb, president and CEO of the Castle Museum in Saginaw.

Thanks to the Castle Museum’s new “Mining for Prosperity” exhibit, the Saginaw Valley is getting a reminder of the industry that employed more than 1,700 miners at its peak in 1907.

“For about 30 years or so, it was probably the main industry here in the entire county,” Webb said.

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