Before the Village’s incorporation the history of Coal City has always been centered upon the resource coal. Coal City was one of many villages in the area that received its start from the mines utilized to mine coal for local blacksmiths and farmers who added the natural resource into the ears of corn that were burnt in order to create heat and energy. The area was settled beginning in the mid 1800s along with local neighbors South Wilmington, Braidwood, Godley, Carbon Hill, and Diamond.
Consisting of sunken mines 3 and 4, a population of 900 and two buildings – the Coalfield Hotel and Charles Fisher’s Store, the Village incorporated on August 17, 1881. the population of the Village would fluctuate depending upon the success of the local mines. Beginning in the 1920′s and completed within the next decade the Opera House joined the Village’s downtown facades along Broadway. In the 1940′s resident of Coal City along with Streator and Mazon enjoyed hopping on the “Doodlebug” each day, which was a passenger train that would pick up riders and drop them off in Joliet each day from the BNSF station still located at the end of Church Street.
Currently estimated just over 5,000 residents, the Village of Coal City continues to be a place to learn, live, play, grow, and enjoy. A lot of residents within the area have a connection to other relatives who have known of the area for generations. Residents in the newer subdivisions such as Richards Crossing, and Spring Meadows have discovered a community that enjoys low property taxes while providing an award-winning education exceeding state averages in ISAT scores and has traditionally rewarded the community in athletics with performances that include state champions. The entire community along with Diamond, Carbon Hill, and Goose Lake send its children to one community unit school district that includes the Elementary School, Intermediate School, Middle School, High School and beginning with the Fall of 2008, the Early Childhood Learning Center.
The continuing increase in population has found the Village to be very livable. Located just south of I-80 along the I-55 Corridor, Coal City is conveniently located at the doorstep of the western suburbs. This allows residents to enjoy the shopping of regional shops and malls in Bolingbrook and Oakbrook, the cultural interests of downtown Chicago including its museums, sports, and performances, and the rest and relaxation of small town living all available within one day’s activities
Playing has been at the heart of this community since its onset. Many of the residents enjoy camping, fishing, and boating at the adjoining chain of lakes consisting of abandoned mines along the northern border of Coal City. These clubs include the Coal City Area Club, Miners Club, and Ceico Club. Each has their own boards and rules for membership, but provide a wealth of recreational opportunities. If one does not want to join one of these clubs, Coal City is located within minutes of the Kankakee and Des Plaines rivers, which brings a wealth of additional recreational opportunities including horseback riding.
Because of these opportunities, growth has been inevitable. Grundy County has experienced an increase in housing starts and will be the next high growth areas after the density of Will and Kendall Counties increase. The Village has completed a Comprehensive Plan to carefully control the growth in the area and ensure the Village enjoys the opportunities that come along such as commercial establishments, more manufacturing and professional opportunities, and restaurants. The truck traffic in the area is an indicator of the logistics and geographical advantage that Coal City carries over much of the nation. Along with the growth in these areas will come additional passive and active recreational areas for resident enjoyment.
Lastly, residents have enjoyed the community since its incorporation. From the early Turners who continued the Bohemian traditions to the Lions Club Members, Coal City is a group of residents who enjoy their Village. Each year, the Village comes together in a number of events including its Octoberfest, which sees the downtown area shutdown and the streets overcome with vendors, people, and businesses celebrating the passing of summer into the fall and community. The Village and a host of non-profit organizations is comprised of the residents who invest their time and energy into making Coal City that is even more enjoyable and a place where people can continue to live, learn, play, and grow.