Carl Virgil Blomgren was born in Buxton, Iowa in 1924. He was the son of coal miners that included his great grandfathers who immigrated from Sweden to the southern Iowa coal mines in the 1880’s. Carl lived in the Monroe County coal mining camps of Buxton, Haydock and Rex 5. The Rex 5 coal mine remained operational until 1935 when the train tracks were removed and the mine closed. Mines #18 and #19 at Bucknell had been closed in 1927. Carl’s family remained living in Rex 5 coal mining camp until 1937. They then moved to Albia, Iowa a distance of 10-12 miles.
Carl’s great grandfathers, grandfathers, his father and his uncles all worked in the mines. Carl was truly a “Coal Miner’s Son”. Carl’s Uncle’s, Art and Manny Blomgren, even had the Four Star coal mine on the Blomgren family farm just north of Buxton in Mahaska County. The mine produced 80 tons of coal per day. Uncle Manny was a Pit Boss in the mines. After my grandparents died in the late 1950’s while living in the Bloom house (Mark and Lisa Keeton’s current home), Manny moved in to the Bloom house with his son Loren and daughter Mabel.
The video is of Carl’s presentation at the Monroe County Museum on July 30, 2009 during the 150th year celebration of Albia and Monroe County. Carl remembers his life in the Rex 5 coal mining camp, especially when the train tracks to the Rex 5 mine were removed in 1935. When that happened he realized his life was about to change forever. Carl’s family moved to Albia and Carl went on to graduate from the Albia High School and Iowa State College. He became a very successful Civil Engineer and was honored with a place on Albia High School’s “Wall of Fame”. He served in the Armed Services during World War II.
Carl jokes during the video of being poor and he didn’t like it. He and his wife Twyla live in Overland Park Kansas, near Kansas City. Twyla recorded the video of Carl’s Presentation and made it available for use on the www.buxtoniowa.com website.
Carl is quite the traveller. He has visited Sweden many times and keeps close contacts with his relatives there. One of Carl’s greatest joy’s is recalling all of his friends from when they lived in Rex 5 that went on to fame and fortune in spite of being raised poor and all being “Coal Miner’s Sons”.
Albia Union-Republican Thursday, May 28, 2015
Opinion Page - Page Two
Carl Blomgren, who graduated from the Albia High School in 1942 and is a WWll Veteran, and I visited Albia and the Monroe County coal mining camps on “Decoration Day” to remember our family ancestors by decorating over 20 grave sites. This year was special since we also visited the Welcome Home Soldier Veterans Monument. The nearly 100 flags waving on Humble Hero Hill was impressive, so much so, that we had a photo taken of the two of us standing together with the flags waving in the background.
Thank You Albia and Monroe County for helping Carl and me to remember ”Memorial Day” and honor all those who have served our country. God bless our service men and women and their families.
“The nation which fails to honor its heroes, the memories of its heroes, whether those heroes be living or dead, does hot deserve to live, and it will not live.” -Abraham Lincoln Quote
Gordon R. Peterson