THE ABANDONED MINE IN GERMANY
Bergwerk Westfalen is an abandoned coal mine. The first drill for coal started in the early 1900s. The site was abandoned in 1999.
After the first successfull test drillings in the area close to the city of Ahlen in 1901, this mine was built without delay.
In 1911 two shafts were put in use, both the 1087 meters deep Shaft 1, and Shaft 2 that was 1052 meters deep. The deepest mining shafts in Germany at that time. In 1920 14 miners died during a serious mining accident at shaft 2.
Bombs and floods
During the Second World War, foreign workers and prisoners worked here until 1944. During an air raid on March 23, 1944, almost a thousand bombs fell on the colliery. 193 people die, more than 250 are injured and around 600 are left homeless. More bad news followed in 1946. During the reconstruction work, the entire mine site flooded because of the high water in the river Werse. As a result, large amounts of water filled the underground network.
While already numerous coal mines in the Ruhr area were shut down, the drilling of the shaft 6 began in September 1962. Eventually, the owner Ruhrkohle AG announced in 1991 that the coal mine would be closed in 1999. In 1994 the already closed shafts 3, 4 and 5 were demolished. The remaining shafts 1, 2, 6 and 7 were filled in 2001. Meanwhile, the surface facilities and shaft 6 were also demolished that year. In 2004, Projektgesellschaft Westfalen bought the ‘Lohnhalle’ and ‘Waschkaue’ buildings and converted it into a newly-used commercial center. For almost 100 years, the Zeche Westfalen was the engine of the economic development of the city of Ahlen and the largest employer of up to 5500 people. I visited Bergwerk Westfalen in 2016. Follow this link for more abandoned coal mines.