Monument to miners takes shape, backers want 2015 finish
The planning for a memorial to all the people who have died in Castle Country mines is well under way and the committee that is doing the work met last Wednesday night at the Carbon County Events Center.
Late last fall a number of retired miners got together and started thinking about the memorials that are in the area, and realized there is nothing that commemorates all those that passed away while bringing coal out of the earth. They began to gather names, getting them from existing lists, the internet as well as from the memories of many of the older miners in the area.
The product of that hard work is on pages 4B and 6B of today's Sun Advocate.
"We need help with this list because it is not complete and we have a lot of questions as well," said Frank Markosek, who has been compiling the list. "We found as we went through existing lists a lot of errors and information is missing."
The group has been working with other retired miners and those who come from mining families. In many cases they have found names that were misspelled or names that were left completely out of available lists. In some cases there were accidents that killed only one person in a mine, but in reality when the group started to explore the individual accidents there was sometimes more miners killed in a particular incident than was listed on any documents they had found. Based on the information they have completed more than 1,300 miners have died in mining accidents in the last 120 years.
In the early days of reporting mine accidents the local newspapers often would report some names but not others. Some accidents were not reported at all. That has made some of the historical work difficult.
The committee has determined that to be placed on the memorial a worker must have been working on mine property when the accident took place, so the list does not include such people as train workers or truck drivers if they were not killed at a mine site. Miners who were not killed immediately but later died of injuries will have their names on the memorial.
The walls of the memorial will be organized by mines, rather than by names. That way people can find their relatives or ancestors more easily. No one wants more names added to the walls, but where the active mines are listed, room will be provided for additional names if needed.
The committee is asking everyone who sees the list that they look at it and see if they have additional information to offer before the memorial starts to take physical shape. Contact information for Markosek is included on page 4B.
With that task moving along, the committee then talked about the design of such a memorial and how to fund it. When the memorial is built it will sit at the west end of the Price Peace Gardens. Once that is done the group also plans to put satellite monuments in the various towns around the area.
Conceptually the memorial will be a central statue or figure with walls radiating out from it with the names of miners who died on brass plaques attached to the stone edifices. Worley Monuments of Price has been working with the group to help with the stone work that will be included.
Sculptor Gary Prazen has been commissioned to design the central statue as well as the plaques that will be mounted on the stone walls.
As with all projects raising money will be a big task. The first event to raise funds for the project (which is expected to cost around $150,000) will be a Poker Tournament which will be held at the Events Center on April 12. All the money raised will go to the project (see page 7B for more information).
Prazen is designing a special medallion for those that win the tournament and he showed those designs off at the meeting.
Other fundraisers will also be taking place in the next few months. The committee has approached a number of businesses in the area to donate funds and some have agreed to work with the group by provided not only funds but also prizes that could be drawn for at events.
At first the group thought that such a project could come to fruition this summer, but when they realized how enormous the undertaking will be, they decided it would take at least a year to get everything together and collect enough money to get started.
The Sun Advocate intends to join in the fund raising efforts by putting together an "Adopt a Miner's Name" project. More details on this fund raiser will be released in the next month.