“Coalville takes its name from the coal mines of the area. It began as one of the northernmost coal mining towns in Iowa. Early settlers were mining coal from outcrops along the Des Moines River by 1860, and in 1870, a mine was opened on Holiday Creek, about a mile east of Coalville, with a 3-mile tramway to the Dubuque and Sioux City Railroad (later the Illinois Central). Later in 1870, a shaft was sunk at Coalville. The Fort Dodge Coal company took over these mines and opened several more in the Coalville area. By 1880, manual labor was being augmented with machinery in these mines. In 1883, the Fort Dodge Coal company employed 350 miners to produce 30 carloads of coal daily.The Pleasant Valley Coal Company sank a 105-foot shaft in Coalville in 1895, employing 100 men to mine a 6-foot coal bed. This was mined out in the early 20th century.
The Gleason Coal Company sank a shaft in 1899 that operated until 1907, producing 200,000 tons of coal over its lifetime. Gleason sunk a new shaft in 1908. United Mine Workers local 392 was organized in Coalville in 1899; by 1907, it had 133 members. Mine wages varied from $1.91 to $2.56 per day.”