Businessman: Mines are not damaging homes

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 22, 2002

An Ironton businessman says the talk of long-abandoned mines

causing damage to area homes is not possible.

Dan Bolender, president of the Ice Creek Land Company which owns the old Alpha Portland cement plant, said he thinks homeowners should look elsewhere for answers to what is causing the damage.

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The Ironton Tribune published a story Aug. 21 about several homes in the South 11th Street area that are sinking, shifting and suffering foundation damage. Those residents said they fear that old mines

honeycombing the area may be the source of the problem.

The old Alpha Portland Plant,

sitting on property just off U.S. 52, closed in the mid-1960s. It was once a part of the area's booming


Bolender said the old mines did not run near what is locally known as the Lombard addition.

He said there are several reasons why.

"First of all, they didn't own the mineral rights in that area," Bolender said. "Also, the geological foundations in this area run northwest and run at a tilt, toward Hecla. They started in the most southeast part of the property moving in a northeast direction, keeping the water behind them so surface water drained into Ice Creek. If they had gone toward the river, they would have been flooded out."

Bolender said the mines are 600 feet underground, another reason why he said the mines do not affect local homes.

Bolender rolled out a map dating from 1956 that showed where the old Alpha Portland mines began and ended and where officials had planned to put other mines but never did.

Only 130 acres of the expansive tract of land was mined, he said.

"These were professional people. They kept detailed maps," Bolender said. "None of them are near that area."

Bolender said he obtained detailed information about the site through a variety of sources, and spoke directly with people who once worked at the plant.

"They have no fears any of the mines will affect them, certainly if they live in the city. If they do live in an area affected by the mines, they're so far below ground, the mines won't affect them," Bolender said. "I built my house out there. I wouldn't put my own home somewhere I didn't think was safe." Teresa Moore/The Ironton Tribune