There used to be four pits in the present district of Saarpfalz: Mittelbexbach, Frankenholz, Höchen and St. Ingbert. Over the course of the 19th-century the St. Ingbert site became one of the largest and most productive of all the collieries in Bavaria. This era came to an end in 1959, but the techniques and working methods used in 19th-century coalmining were revived in 1990 in the form of the Rischbachstollen Visitor Mine.
Mining began in the area of St. Ingbert around 1771. At first the area was controlled by a local count, but in 1816 the state of Bavaria took over the pit and soon began deep-pit mining with the help of a steam engine with water pumps and lifting gear. In 1838 the first steam engine of its kind into operation at shaft one of the so-called "lower site" in Schnappach. 500 metres to the south, the foundations for professional coalmining were created with the sinking of mining shaft I to the "upper site" in 1844. But there was still a problem of transporting the coal to St. Ingbert. It was expensive and wearisome to carry such masses of coal on a single steep unmade road through the hills, and it was impossible to take another route. Furthermore the mine was very near to the borders of Prussia and it was forbidden to sell the coal there. It took 10 years to build the Sulzbach galleries beneath the two sites all the way to St. Ingbert. At first (1852) the coal was drawn by horses through the galleries, but later these were replaced by electric locomotives that carried it to the surface at St. Ingbert. A surface site grew up around the entrance to the "In der Rischbach" galleries, containing a sorting plant, a bell-tower, workshops, offices, sleeping accommodation and a miners’ washroom.
Nowadays workers dwellings and a number of individual buildings recall the era of mining "in der Rischbach" in St. Ingbert. The St. Ingbert mining trail invites visitors to go in search of historic traces. On the narrow road over the "Sechseichenhöhe" hills to Schnappach you can get a direct impression of the advantages of building the underground galleries. But there´s no rest for hands and feet in the Rischbachstollen visitor mine. Here you can don colliers’ clothing, hammer away at an ore seam artery and take your hard-won souvenir back home, operate the machines in the drilling room, or crawl deep down inside the 80 centimetre high Johann seam.