March 30, 1930
Construction begins on the Hawks Nest Tunnel for a Union Carbide hydroelectric project. 3,000 mostly African-American migrant workers from the South were hired to complete the project and, to save time and money, were not provided with proper safety equipment to work cutting rock that had been discovered to have a high silica content. The official death toll from silicosis was 476, with estimates as high as 700 to 1,000. It is considered to be one of the worst industrial disasters in U.S. history.