February 2, Happy Days: Tragedies Averted at the Mines


By Margaret Leidy Harner from her book One Day at a Time: A Social History of Boyertown, PA.

February 2, 1877: Frank Smith, an employee of the Warwick Mines, was standing on a scaffold about 525 feet below the surface. Men working above him accidently dropped a stone that plummeted with such velocity and force as to break the scaffolding and send Smith 25 feet to the bottom of the shaft, landing on his head and shoulders. He was knocked out, his face badly cut and his shoulder broken. It was a miracle that he was not instantly killed, and by February 14, it was reported that he was feast recovering from his injuries

In another tragedy averted, the miners at the Phoenix Mine had just left work at noon time for “dinner” when a “tremendous roaring of rocks and timber” was heard and nearly 100,000 tones of rocks, ore and dirt caved in, wiping out fences, trees, and breaking huge boulders like eggshells. Fortunately, everyone had left the mine by that time; had the cave-in occurred 15 minutes earlier, all of those men would have been killed. The shaft was shut down, repairs made, and work was resumed.

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