Today in Labor History

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Archive for the tag “mining”

June 19, 1914

June 19An explosion in the Hillcrest mine in the Crowsnest Pass region of western Canada kills 189 miners. It devastated the town of Hillcrest, which had a total population of about 1,000, leaving 130 women widowed and about 400 children fatherless. Many of the miners were buried in a mass grave in the Hillcrest Cemetery. It was the worst coal mining disaster in Canadian history.

February 16, 1883

8279370581_7e24f94b56_bMelting snow collapses the side of a coal mine on a marshy tract of land with no natural drainage near Braidwood, Illinois. Within minutes, the Diamond Mine flooded, killing 74 boys and men, 46 of whose bodies were never recovered. The disaster prompted state legislators to overhaul an 1871 law that allowed individual counties to appoint their own mine inspectors.

January 22, 1959

oldknoxOne of the worst mining disasters in northeastern Pennsylvania history occurs when the Knox Mine Company digs illegally under the Susquehanna River without drilling boreholes to gauge the rock thickness overhead. The insufficient “roof” cover caused 10 billion gallons of water to pour into the mine. Ten people were indicted on a variety of charges, including violations of the Anthracite Mine Act, conspiracy, and involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of twelve miners whose bodies were never been recovered.

June 8, 1917


An electrical cable being installed as part of a fire suppression system in the Granite Mountain-Speculator Mine falls into the mine shaft and is accidentally ignited by the assistant foreman’s carbide lamp when he goes to inspect it.  The resulting fire killed 168 miners and was the nation’s worst hard rock mining disaster.

September 6, 1869


A massive fire in the only shaft of the Avondale Colliery in Plymouth Township, Pennsylvania, kills 110 anthracite mine workers, making it one of the largest mining disasters in Pennsylvania history.  After the disaster, the state’s General Assembly enacted legislation establishing safety regulations for the industry, making Pennsylvania the first state to enact such legislation.  The law also mandated that there must be at least two entrances to underground mines.

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