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Pabst Mine Disaster vigil planned


Submitted photo

Dave Kangas, left, Mark Aho, center, and Tom Kangas hold candles during a program at the Pabst Mine Disaster Vigil on Sept. 24, 2011, in Ironwood.

IRONWOOD — The Friends of Miners Memorial Heritage Park will hold the fifth annual Vigil for the Pabst Mine Disaster Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the H Shaft of the Pabst Mine inside the Ironwood park.

The group plans to unveil two new historical, interpretive signs at the mine’s G and H shafts during the vigil. The new signs include photos, statistics about the two shafts and details of the Pabst Mine Disaster. The sign at the H Shaft focuses on details of the rescue, while the sign at the G Shaft has information about what the miners did during the time they were trapped.

The Pabst Mine Disaster occurred on Sept. 24, 1926, when a cave-in at the G Shaft killed three miners instantly and trapped 43 miners for five days. The tragedy made national headlines following the rescue efforts.

Attendees should meet at the H Shaft on the east side of Bonnie Street going up the hill from the street’s intersection with East Ayer Street. Attendees are encouraged to bring a lawn chair and warm clothes.

In case of rain, the vigil will be rescheduled to Wednesday, Sept. 25, at 6 p.m.

A guided hike around the Pabst Loop of the park’s Miners Trail will precede the vigil at 5 p.m. Hikers should also meet at the H Shaft. The hike’s guide will discuss plans of future sites for interpretive signs and visit an overlook of Pabst Pond, where a newly-donated bench will be installed in the coming weeks.

The family of George D. Skaja has donated an entrance sign and bench to MMHP. Skaja passed away this summer and his family decided to donate to the park to honor him, since he was a miner at the White Pine Copper Mine.

Membership meeting

The Friends of MMHP will hold their annual membership meeting Thursday, Sept. 26, at 6 p.m. at Rigoni’s Inn in Ironwood. The meeting will include election of members to the leadership team.

The meeting also kicks off the group’s membership drive. “Please consider becoming a member or renewing your membership with the Friends of the Miners Memorial Heritage Park,” president Monie Shackleford said.

“This group is volunteer-run, so the money is used carefully for essential items such as improving the trails and costs associated with winter grooming of the cross-country ski-snowshoe trails. Every membership is greatly appreciated,” she said.

A membership form can be printed from the group’s website at Completed forms should be mailed to Friends of MMHP, P.O. Box 52, Ironwood MI 49938.


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