Thursday, June 23, 2011

Those Places Thursday: Zero, Lucas County, Iowa

My great grandfather, Thomas Orville Conner, was born in Zero, Iowa in 1896.  Zero has always fascinated me because it’s now a true ghost town with apparently not even a building left.  It began in 1883 due to the coal mining and railroad that was nearby, but never became incredibly huge. 

It was in Lucas County, Iowa, about 4 miles east of Russell off of Highway 34.  As Frank Myers says in his article, titled, “Ghost Towns and Post Offices of Lucas County, Iowa”:

“The 1978 book, ‘History of Lucas County, Iowa’ said, ‘Located halfway between Melrose and Russell, Iowa, is the ghost town of Zero. Only a couple of old wooden buildings and a few foundations remain of the old town that was platted in 1883 by the Zero Coal Company. There were 61 lots, 5 streets and 3 alleys drawn into the town.

‘Zero did have a post office operated by Aquilla Kern and there was a general store run by Henry Gettinger. The Zero mine was never a big mine. It never exceeded 20 railroad cars of coal a day and finally closed in 1886 because there was too much water in the mine.

‘Today Zero, Iowa, is losing its contest with time. Fred Schreck is the last person living there in 1978 and he is 78 years old. The few buildings that remain have deteriorated past the point of ugliness and have achieved a weathered beauty of their own. The lovely countryside is closing in on the once proud house and sagging barn, and the shingle roofs no longer hold back the rain.’"


The Russell Historical Items blog also has a story about Zero, Iowa to go with this picture the I linked to:

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