O'Fallon Progress

‘Uncle Joe’ Taylor gave fast rides

Progress Columnist Brian Keller who gives our readers a peek into the past of the City of O’Fallon and the Village of Shiloh. Keller is also the O’Fallon Historical Society president.
Progress Columnist Brian Keller who gives our readers a peek into the past of the City of O’Fallon and the Village of Shiloh. Keller is also the O’Fallon Historical Society president. rkirsch@bnd.com

On Sat. May 12, 1906 “Uncle Joe” Taylor was ready to show off his new trolley.

But not just any trolley.

This was an underground version installed in St. Ellen Mine.

He had opened the coal mine not quite three years previous, naming it after his mother.

That Saturday he took some of his friends and employees on a joy ride down below throughout the various parts of the mine, often at high rates of speed.

St. Ellen was O’Fallon’s last operating mine and closed in 1960.

75 years ago, May 22, 1941.

Jerome Munie, first deputy warden of the Pontiac state reformatory, former resident and business man of this city, on Monday was appointed acting warden to succeed O.H. Lewis, whose resignation was announced.

Munie, a Democrat, had previously served at Menard State prison.

“Jerry” as he is familiarly known among his friends, was engaged in business here until 1930 when he was elected sheriff of St. Clair County for a four-year term.

Munie was an was also O’Fallon alderman in the 1920’s and later was mayor of Belleville.

50 years ago, May 19, 1966.

Gasoline leaked from a filling station underground supply and found its way into a basement sump in a building across the street.

Firemen emptied the sump and the defective tanks were drained of gasoline and filled with sand and water.

The tanks were at the Schmidt garage, State and Vine.

Two of the tanks developed leaks and gasoline seeped into the basement sump at the home of Walter Hauptmann, 212 E. State St.

The building is also occupied by the O’Fallon Township office.

Another tank long out of use and containing 80 gallons of gasoline was discovered in front of the Jungle Club, 108 E. State St.

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