Around 1880 a small mining village named Zero, owned by the Zero Coal Company was formed. Zero’s life was short lived because the mine was plagued with too much water in its shafts. Some time before the turn of the 20th century, the Zero experiment failed. The coal mine was closed. There are a couple of versions why the town was named Zero. Some said it was named Zero because it was half way between Melrose and Russell, but others say the name was probably taken from the Zero Coal Co. In 1881 a vote for a five per cent tax for railroad construction from Chariton to Russell on to Wabash and Appanoose counties, was taken and it was defeated. At one time there was a Post Office in town and it even had a broom factory in 1881. Zero Coal Company had the town platted in 1883. In 1882 Cook Bros. started laying out the lots in Zero. By the time they finished there were 61 lots, five streets and three alleys drawn into the town. By 1887, 20 more lots were officially added. This small mining town once had a population between 500 and 600 hard working people. In October of 1883 the Odd Fellows of LaGrange moved their hall to Zero.
Below is the one and only picture of the mine and its workers - Labeled - 1886