ISHPEMING (AP) – A 1926 iron mining disaster in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is getting a memorial at the Cliffs Shaft Mine Museum in Ishpeming.
The memorial scheduled to be unveiled Saturday recognizes that 51 men died in a cave-in at the Barnes-Hecker Mine in Ishpeming Township on Nov. 3, 1926. A 52nd miner was able to escape.
The memorial explains the events of the disaster and carries the names of those who died in the accident.
The Mining Journal of Marquette reported Friday that money for the memorial was donated by Edward Trudell. He’s the son of Louis Trudell, who died in the accident that remains the deadliest industrial tragedy recorded in Michigan. Edward was 5-years-old when his father died in the mine.
“He wanted to do this so no one will forget the accident,” said Leo LaFond, president of the Cliffs Shaft Mine Museum and nephew of Edward Trudell.
Only 10 of the 51 bodies were recovered after the cave-in.
According to the memorial plaque, the mine explosion opened a natural tunnel that connected the blasting area to a swamp above the mine. The cave-in released the waters of the swamp into the mine tunnels, destroying it within 15 minutes.
One man was able to rush up 600 feet of ladders to escape.
The shaft was sealed with concrete when it became clear it would be impossible to recover the other bodies.
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