In 1864, farmer Thomas Byron dug a well and struck "black diamonds" — coal. The next year, Scottish miner James Braidwood sank the first shaft. Villages and towns like Braidwood, Coal City, Carbon Hill, Diamond, Godley, and Torino sprang up like daisies. These villages were home to immigrants who worked in the area's mines. Many found employment at the K Mine, M Mine, Torino, Rixson, and Shotz mines.
The promise of work in the coal mines was what attracted 19th Century folks to these villages. One was named Torino. It was on the Will County side of the Grundy County line between the counties. Torino was two miles southeast of Braceville, Illinois, as the bird flys. Torano's approximate location.
The mine enticed investors and laborers who built houses, shops, and public buildings in the city where they toiled. By 1910, there were two general stores, a butcher shop, and a post office. Giovanni Ignazio Valeriano (aka George Ignatius Valerio) along with his brother, owned the saloon and the dance hall.
Francesco Stefano Gioanino, born 1859 in Pratiglione, Italy, is listed in the 1910 census as Frank Giovanini, bartender, Torino, Ill., apparently, worked for George Valerio's Saloon
The 1910 census reports 525 residents in the Village of Torino, Illinois.
A. Skinner owned the coal mine and surrounding property. Skinner subdivided a small portion of his land. Then Stewart bought parcels on the east and west side of Skinner's Torino property. Skinner owned nine parcels of Torino, and Stewart owned six parcels.
EAST/WEST STREETS: (north to south) Case St.; Main St.; Rolando St.; Brown St.
NORTH/SOUTH STREETS: (east to west) Stewart St.; Charles St.; Buffo St.; Robertson St.; Will and Grundy County Line Road.
Torino's downfall was being a one-industry town. In July 1918, The Skinner Brothers sold the Torino mine to the Northern Illinois Coal Corporation, who thus, immediately closed Mine № 6 in Torino, putting all 60 employees out of work.
It appears that the mine was reopened. It's not clear if the Northern Illinois Coal Corporation reopened it or they sold the mining rights to another company. Many of the men and their families moved to the larger mines in Southern Illinois.
Today, there are few memories of the village of Torino left.
Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.