"The Hillcrest Mine Disaster" Blairmore Things to Do Tip by Camping_Girl
Blairmore Things to Do: 12 reviews and 45 photos
The Hillcrest Mine Disaster has the dubious distinction of being the worst mining disaster in Canadian history. 189 miners were killed June 19, 1914 when an explosion rocked the mine. No one knows for sure what caused the explosion, but it is suspected that the cause was a build up of methane gas. Miners had complained for several days prior to the explosion that they could smell gas in the mine.
Most of the miners were buried in a mass gravesite in the Hillcrest cemetary. In 2000 a memorial to the miners was erected at the cemetary to commemorate the disaster. The site serves as a memorial to all mining disasters in Canadian history. This is a tour I had been meaning to take for a long time. I am very glad that I finally went to tour the site. It is a very moving testimonial to the men who risked their lives every day to provide the world's steam engines with the fuel they needed to keep the economy moving.
What really struck me as I stood before the monument was that on that day not only did 189 men die, but almost as many women became widows and single mothers with little or no means to support their families. The mines provided little, if anything, to the surviving family members. Families generally rented houses owned by the mine and when the husband was killed, the remaining family was required to move out of the company house.
The Hillcrest cemetary is still the cemetary for the town, so there are more graves here than for the men of the Hillcrest Mining Disaster. A lot of old graves are unmarked or unmaintained. When miners died, their families generally moved away and so now there is no family left here to look after their graves. I found that really sad.
Address: In the town of Hillcrest
Directions: In Hillcrest, south of Hwy 3. Watch for the sign along hwy 3 for the exit. Follow the road a short ways until you arrive at a fork in the road. Take the right fork and immediately turn right by the small "Hillcrest Cemetary" sign. No admission fee.
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