Jürgen Michelis/Günther Apel:
150 Years Tremonia Colliery
From a Coal Mine to the Tremonia Experimental Mine Known Worldwide
For over 100 years, beer, coal and steel were the economic pillars of Dortmund. The town was greatly shaped by these three branches of industry from the beginnings of industrialisation in the 19th century up to the 1980s. Coal probably has the oldest history, the first evidence of coal in the Dortmund region dating back to 1296. This may have involved very modest attempts to mine the coal appearing at the ground surface. It was not until the mid-19th century, when the industrial age set in, that numerous mining companies were established in the Dortmund region in rapid succession. Some of them were only short-lived, others merged or were taken over by larger companies.
When Gelsenkirchener Bergwerks-AG (GBAG) was restructured in 1933, it owned twelve mines in the Dortmund region. On 31 March 1987, the last coal-producing mine, called Minister Stein, was closed in Dortmund-Eving. Allegedly there was no longer an operational mine in Dortmund. However, almost unnoticed by the public, a fully functional mine still existed virtually in the centre of the town. It was the Tremonia mine, which no longer produced any coal in underground or open-cast mining, but as Tremonia Experimental Mine carried out valuable experiments in the field of mine safety until 1996. The history of Tremonia as a coal mine and test pit, extending over 150 years, reflects the economic rise and decline of coal mining in Germany.