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Virden Community Profile & Itinerary
Description
A history of coal mining is a common thread among many Illinois cities and towns. Virden, population 3393, rests on a bed of coal and was a profitable mining town. The Mine Battle of 1893 is a significant event in Virden’s history, leading then Governor John Riley Tanner to be the first Illinois Governor to support the union rights of the coal miner over the coal company.


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ATTRACTIONS

Virden Miner’s Memorial/Central Park

The town’s central park has a large granite and bronze three-dimensional memorial depicting the Virden Mine Battle of 1893. The park has a historic bandstand that recalls an era of Saturday night band concerts and ice cream socials. A soldier’s monument commemorates local veterans who served in WWI.

Virden Square

Virden History Mural

A mural on the side of the Sav-Mor Building depicts events in the history of the town, including Route 66. It is currently undergoing a restoration process.

105 East Jackson

Silvernicks New & Used

Located on the Virden Square, Silvernicks is home to the “Virden Welcome Center.” In addition to Route 66 souvenirs, Silvernicks offers a wide variety of antiques, vintage and unique gift items. With a little of everything you’ll be sure to find the perfect memento. Silvernicks has anything and everything from antiques to brand new. They have many vendors with great treasures too!

231 East Jackson

(217) 891-6514

Silvernick’s New & Used Official Website

Route 66 Coal Towns

Virden, Illinois Wayside Exhibit

Route 66 Coal Towns

The Battle of Virden
Miserable wages and working conditions in coal mines made conflict between miners and coal companies inevitable in the 1890s. The battle that erupted here immortalized Virden in the history of labor rights. On October 12, 1898, eight miners, four Company guards, and one bystander were killed and over 35 wounded.
Before the Battle
After months of struggle, mine owners from Pennsylvania to Illinois agreed to a contract with the United Mine Workers Union. But the Chicago-Virden Coal Company, the largest in Illinois, refused to honor it. Local miners were locked out. Management recruited African-Americans from Alabama who were hoping to escape poverty.
Armed with pistols, hunting rifles, shotguns, or most, nothing at all, hundreds of miners poured into the village from surrounding towns, determined to stop the trains loaded with Alabamans from entering the mine.
The Battle
The Coal Company hired 50 guards, armed them with Winchesters, and stationed them behind a stockade and on the train carrying Alabama miner replacements. When the union miners swarmed the approaching train, guards opened fire igniting twenty minutes of carnage.
After the Battle
Illinois Governor John Riley Tanner was the first executive in any state to side with the workers union instead of the coal companies. Upon hearing of the battle, he sent troops to disarm Company guards and prevent further violence. The troops camped in this park. Within weeks after the battle, the Company gave in to demands and paid workers at the higher union scale.


MAJOR EVENTS

4th Annual Blue Carpet Corridor Festival

June 8, 2018

The Blue Carpet Corridor, from Chatham down to Collinsville, is a unique section of Route 66 characterized not only by its Mother Road charm, but also its rich mining history and colorful mobster lore. Route 66 is known for its quirky attractions, roadside hospitality, and family fun. And on the second weekend in June, the blue carpet will be rolled out to welcome thousands of travelers.

(618) 307-5049

Blue Carpet Corridor Official Website


AMENITIES

City of Virden

101 W Jackson St

Virden, IL 62690

(217) 965-5805

Virden Official Website

Virden Area Chamber of Commerce

P.O. Box 252

Virden, IL 62690
(217) 891-6514

Virden Chamber Official Website

Virden Restaurants & Businesses

GOOGLE MAP:
Location
Alignment 1926
Southern Region

Virden, IL
62690

Contact
(217) 965-5269
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