Sunday, June 28, 2009

The "Big Mouth"

Vacation time at last! Our first real stop was to see some family in El Dorado Springs MO. We planned to attend a family reunion in Adrian MO and on the way found this small town with a "rich" history.

The Big Mouth resides on Park Ave and 7th St in Rich Hill Missouri. The Big Mouth is a coal bucket that was used to mine coal in this area. Rich Hill is known as “the town that coal built”. Sadly, when the coal mining left the area, the town became little more than a stopping place to take a picture of the bucket.
Big mouth was owned by the Pittsburg & Midway Coal co attached to the Midway Princess, a dragline that was used to remove the overburden (rocks, dirt and vegetation) from the coal deposits. (I sure wish I could have seen this in operation!) To get an idea of the size of Big Mouth, a dump truck that was used to haul out the coal could be parked inside the bucket. It held over 70 cubic feet of dirt and one scoop had a depth of 125 feet. The estimated weight was between 40 and 44 TONS!
The Midway Princes was dismantled and moved to Raton NM in the early 1990’s but Big Mouth is a permanent Rich Hill resident. The Coalminer’s Daughters use Big Mouth to host their life sized nativity scene every year for Christmas.
Visitors may stop by and take pictures and read about the history of the Big Mouth for free. Rich Hill is 20 miles north of Nevada MO on US Highway 71.
An interesting bit of history I found when I did some additional research for this post:
Dateline: Dec 4, 1919; Missouri Governor seizes closed coal mines and vows to operate them because the residents of his state are freezing in their homes due to no availability of heat source. (seems the mines had been shut down)Volunteers in Mo and from neighboring Pittsburg KS worked the mines to provide coal to the state residents and those in institutions.


  1. I came across your blog through a Rich Hill MO newsfeed that alerts me when Rich Hill is mentioned anywhere on the web and so I thought I would leave a comment. I am actually from Rich Hill, I grew up there and my family all lives there. I don't live there much anymore as I have just graduated from College but it made me smile to see that someone is appreciating the "Big Mouth" as well as my small hometown. I did want to add though that although, it is a small place Rich Hill has a lot of other things to offer than just the bucket. I would love to recommend some cool things for you if you are ever back in the area. I just don't want our town to only be known as little more than a place to take a picture of the bucket. I dont intend this to be a rude comment so please don't take it that way, I just wanted to have the opportunity to share a little more about Rich Hill Missouri!
    God Bless!

  2. Actually, Big Mouth never mined coal near Rich Hill. The Midway Princess and Midway Queen both mined coal in the Amoret and Amsterdam, MO vicinity. When P&M moved out of the area somehow Rich Hill acquired Big Mouth and put it on display.

  3. I was actually on the Princess and the Queen when they were digging coal. My dad was the head of maintenance at the Midway Mine near Amsterdam from 1974 to 1983. I have a picture on my wall of both machines together when they traded sites. I have a lot of fond memories of a lot of the men that worked at that mine. A lot of them are gone now, but they will forever remain in my heart and on my mind.

    1. Lewis, would you mind uploading those photos and sharing it with the rest of us we would love to see them. I can only imagine how massive that machine was.
      thank you so much we would greatly appreciate it