Cardiff was a town located in Round Grove Township, Livingston County, Illinois. After discovering an underground coal deposit and a vein was sunk, people started building shelters, the beginning of the village of Cardiff in 1899. A relatively large town developed within months.
The town, originally known as the north campus, was incorporated as the village of Cardiff in May 1900.
From March 12-16, 1903, a series of mine explosions killed nine mine workers. Three men remain entombed in the mine.
More than 2,000 people lived in Cardiff at its peak. Cardiff had a church, a school, two banks, two-grain elevators, a semi-pro baseball team, a bottling plant, railroad passenger service, a hotel, sixteen saloons, and other businesses. Prosperity continued for Cardiff until the high-quality coal ran out and the Wabash railroad, the mine’s biggest customer, refused to buy low-grade Cardiff coal.
The mine closed in 1912. A total of 18 men died in mine accidents in Cardiff.
Almost as fast as the town developed, it disappeared. Houses and other buildings were dismantled or moved whole. Today the town of Cardiff is gone yet remains a legally incorporated village.
Two large hills of waste from the mine are monuments to the people who lived, worked, and died here. Dozens of acres that had been homes, stores, yards, and streets reverted back to farmland.
Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.
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