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The Old Town Mine Disaster in McAlester, Oklahoma


Mine and people
Recovering the dead from the Little Bolen Coal Mine after an explosion in McAlester, Pittsburg County, Oklahoma on December 17, 1929 (OHS).

Came across a very interesting and somber photograph: Recovering the dead from the Little Bolen Coal Mine aka Old Town Mine after an explosion in McAlester, Pittsburg County, Oklahoma on December 17, 1929.


The Little Bolen Coal Mine was located in the north part of town along N. A Street, between Park and Electric Avenues. Owned by the Old Town Mining Company, a pocket of methane gas may have ignited in the older part of the mine as the day shift attempted to cut into a coal seam with an electric saw.


The "complete day shift of 65 miners" was underground when the calamity occurred; 59 of them did not survive. An engineer was also killed. One of the rescuers was "Fred Durman, 110-pound miner who worked with the rescue squads from 11 o'clock in the morning until midnight, sewed the bodies of 13 of his comrades in burlap sheets preparatory to being hoisted aloft. The sheets were sewn by inserting nails between the flaps."


In the photograph above, three carloads of deceased men are being carried to the surface from the mine shaft.


Newspaper item
A list of the dead include Mexican nationals, whose burials were paid for by the Mexican government. They were interred in a mass grave in McAlester's Catholic cemetery.

Satellite image
The Old Town Mine was located along the tracks in this photograph of northern McAlester, Oklahoma. The coal mine is now defunct but the tunnels remain, stretching several miles southward and northward beneath the city.

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Sarah Lanneau
Sarah Lanneau
12 Mar

Thanks for sharing this photo! My husband’s great grandfather is among the 25 Mexican nationals that died in this disaster.

Beğen
Robin Cole-Jett
Robin Cole-Jett
19 Mar
Şu kişiye cevap veriliyor:

What a tragic family history, but very important to remember.

Beğen
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