In Marceline’s earliest history, coal mining was an important part of the city. Coal was needed to fuel railroad steam locomotives, power electrical plants and heat homes. Coal mines, large and small, sprang up all over the area.
Walt Disney once recalled a memorable coal mine event in connection with his life in Marceline. It was the day he got to go down in the Number Two coal mine, just a short distance from where he lived on the farm. He could see the slagheap from his window. Hundreds of feet high, it seemed enormous to a young boy. He called it his “mountain”. Later, he said that he built the Matterhorn in Disneyland because of his mountain in Marceline.
In nineteen-forty-one, Frank and Inez Gucker purchased the Randolph Coal Company. They established the Gucker Coal Company and built this office building. Frank operated the coal business until his retirement in nineteen-fifty-two. By that time, coal mining in Linn County had diminished considerably since it’s peak production in Nineteen-twenty and the Gucker Coal Company sold coal mined in nearby Macon County.
Frank and Inez Gucker were known to deliver coal to families when they learned of their need for coal to heat their homes, but did not have the money to pay for the delivery. To this day, the large journal on the desk in this building has accounts not paid in full. Family stories passed down over the years spoke of Frank’s kindness.
Frank Gucker was a fisherman. A local newspaper article announced “Frank Gucker wins as big fisherman”. Seems that while on a family vacation out west, Frank was in a fishing tournament in Long Beach, California. He came in first place while President Truman is said to have received only a red ribbon.
When Frank retired, his daughter Anna Margaret and son-in-law Glenn Hughes took over the business and remained in operation until the early Sixties. In the early two-thousands, Franks Gucker family members restored the coal office with articles belonging to Frank and Inez when the business was in operation.