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Dawson, New Mexico Photo GalleryIMAGES OF THE AMERICAN WEST

Dawson, New Mexico Photographs

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Dawson, New Mexico Mine Explosion, February 8,  1923

 

Dawson New Mexico Explosion, February 21, 1923

Photo courtesy Carol and Dwight Myers Collection, NMSU

 

Dawson New Mexico Explosion, February 21, 1923

Photo courtesy Carol and Dwight Myers Collection, NMSU

 

The last major mining tragedy to take place in the coal mining camp of Dawson, New Mexico occurred on February 8, 1923  at about 2:20 PM in Stag Canyon Mine No. 1. The event occurred when a mine train jumped its track, hit the supporting timbers of the tunnel mouth, and ignited coal dust in the mine. Tearing away the heavy concrete work at the mouth of the mine entry, the blast entombed 123 miners working inside. Those miners not working in the mine immediately began to clear the debris from the mouth of the mine and led by W. D. Brennan, the general manager, rescue crews entered in search of the trapped men.

 
 

 

Dawson residents, having experienced these types of disasters before, flocked to the mouth of the property, waiting anxiously for their husbands and sons to appear out of the smoke. However, with the exception of just two families, the rest of them would wait in vain. Early the next morning two miners, who had been in an isolated section of the mine, walked safely out the shaft, while rescue crews continued to brave the dangers of falling debris, fire, and gas to reach the 121 other men who had been working about 5,000 feet from the portal of the mine. No one else would survive. For more than a week, the rescue crews brought out body after body until the last one was recovered.

The Dawson Cemetery was extended once again to accommodate more white crosses.

 

Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated May, 2016.

 

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