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. The town’s central park has a large granite and bronze three-dimensional memorial depicting the Virden Mine Battle of 1893.
The Virden History Mural, which has been in place since 2004 along the original Route 66, recently received a major revision thanks to the talented team of artists DL and Bernie Gietl from Carlinville. The mural highlights Virden’s history starting from a stagecoach stop to a coal mine town to the original Route 66 that travels through the middle of town.