Cherry in Bureau County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Cherry Mine Disaster
The St. Paul Coal Company began mining coal at Cherry in 1905 and by 1909 was mining 300,000 tons annually. The owner and sole customer was the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railroad.
On Saturday, November 13, 1909, the mine caught fire. A load of hay, intended for the mule stables at the bottom of the mine, was apparently ignited by burning oil dripping from a kerosene torch. The fire spread rapidly. Several miners reached safety; others were trapped in the mine. Twenty-one of the trapped men were later rescued. The remainder died in the mine. The dead included twelve rescuers.
Public response to the needs of the victims was great. Individuals and organizations from various communities donated time and money. Chicago and other towns sent fire-fighting men and equipment. More than $400,000 in relief funds was raised, and the Cherry Relief Commission was organized to distribute the funds.
Another $400,000 was added as a result of the settlement made
The disaster prompted the state legislature to establish stricter regulations for mine safety and to pass a Workmen's Compensation Act, making an employer liable even when there is contributory negligence.
Erected 1985 by Illinois Department of Transportation and The Illinois State Historical Society.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & Commerce • Labor Unions • Railroads & Streetcars. In addition, it is included in the Illinois State Historical Society series list. A significant historical date for this entry is November 13, 1942.
Location. 41° 25.778′ N, 89° 12.802′ W. Marker is in Cherry, Illinois, in Bureau County. Marker is on Main Street (State Highway 89), on the right when traveling south. Marker is located at the Cherry Village Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Arlington IL 61312, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Isam W. Seaton (1823-1903) and James H. Seaton (1828-1913) (approx. 5½ miles away); John Mitchell (approx. 7.1 miles away); James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok (approx. 7.2 miles away); Vietnam Monument (approx. 7.2 miles away); Korea Monument (approx. 7.2 miles away); Veteran's Memorial (approx. 7.2 miles away); World War II Memorial (approx. 7.2 miles away); World War I Memorial (approx. 7.2 miles away).
Also see . . . 1909 Newspaper Articles Reporting the Mine Disaster. Just north of town of Cherry , Bureau County, Illinois are remnants of the Cherry Coal Mine, where 259 miners lost their lives in one of the worst mine disasters in United States history. Read and see how this terrible tragedy was relayed to the people around the state from the newspaper articles and photos taken. (Submitted on October 17, 2010.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on October 9, 2010, by Cldisme of Joliet, Illinois. This page has been viewed 2,324 times since then and 68 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on October 9, 2010, by Cldisme of Joliet, Illinois. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.