Coal Mining in Illinois
 

Braidwood Odds & Ends

 
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Dollar-a-Month Doctors

As late as 1900, it was the practice of some of the local doctors to contract with families to serve their health and accident needs on a Dollar-a-Month basis. When they found it necessary to increase this service premium to two dollars per month, the doctors lost most of their insured.
 
The Mayor and the Lamp Post

When Mr. T.V. Corey, Superintendent of the Chicago, Wilmington, and Vermilion Coal Company, was elected Mayor of Braidwood, he wired the glad tidings to his Chicago office. Mr. Sweet, President of the coal company, wired back: "Congratulations! But I'd rather be a lamp post in Chicago."
 
Baked Beans

In Lower Braidwood, it was almost impossible to get the soft water in which to bake beans. Wherever a well existed that contained good bean-baking water, it was the mecca of miners' wives, especially on weekends, as baked beans were a Sunday delicacy. The Peter Rossi bakery, just off Division St., was most popular because of the generosity of its owner and his baker. After getting a supply of bean-baking water in which the beans were soaked over Friday night, the miners' wives placed the beans in earthen crocks, and took them to the bakery. After the bread was baked and removed, the heat in the oven would fully and deliciously bake the beans in plenty of time for Sunday dinner.
 
Braidwood Baths

Bathrooms in the homes of the early miners were very few. It was a luxury that few owners could affort. The toilet was usually a small out-building and the bath, the housewife's wash tub. Bath water was heated in pails on the kitchen stove and carried to the tub.

However, many of the barber shops operated bathrooms in the rear of their shops for the convenience of the miners who felt in need of a bath after a haircut or shave on Saturdays.

The barber charged a dime for a shave, and the same amount for a bath. But for fifteen cents, soap and a towel were included. The demand for bath privileges was so great on Saturdays, that the barber was compelled to pass out numbers to give patrons their turns.
 
Brawling Braidwood

Tales from Brawling Braidwood. By Sandy Vasko. 2001 Reprinted from the Time Was Column Free Press Advocate, Wilmington, Illinois. A quarterly publication. Will County Historical Society Fall 2001. (Click here to read this article)