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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Near Mt. Lookout in Nicholas County, West Virginia — The American South (Appalachia)
 

Hawks Nest Workers Memorial and Grave Site

 
 
Hawks Nest Workers Memorial and Grave Site Marker image. Click for full size.
By Forest McDermott, October 29, 2014
1. Hawks Nest Workers Memorial and Grave Site Marker
Inscription.  This Memorial honors an estimated 764 tunnel workers who died from mining a 3.8 mile tunnel through Gauley Mountain to divert water from the New River to a hydroelectric plant near Gauley Bridge in 1930-31. The tunnel cut through almost pure silica in some areas and exposed the unprotected workers to silica dust that quickly caused acute silicosis, a fatal lung disease.

This disaster is considered America's worst industrial accient. Workers in the tunnel were primarily migrant workers, mostly black, who were paid a few dollars a day. When they became sick, many were driven out of the camps to die elsewhere. Those African Americans who died in the camps could not be buried in local “white” cemeteries. A few were sent by rail back to their families. More were taken at night under the cover of darkness to Summersville and buried unceremoniously on a farm. Later these graves had to be moved to widen US Route 19. The remains were disinterred in 1972 and transported several miles to the present site. The decomposed remains were placed in child size coffins and reburied here, resulting in about 48 small grave depression seen at this

Hawks Nest Workers Memorial and Grave Site Marker image. Click for full size.
By Forest McDermott, October 29, 2014
2. Hawks Nest Workers Memorial and Grave Site Marker
grave site.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansCemeteries & Burial SitesDisasters.
 
Location. 38° 14.072′ N, 80° 51.156′ W. Marker is near Mt. Lookout, West Virginia, in Nicholas County. Marker is on Hilltop Drive 0.1 miles west of Mountaineer Expressway (U.S. 19), on the right when traveling north. Monument is located at the end of the dead end road called Hilltop Drive. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Mount Lookout WV 26678, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Hughes Ferry / Bridge (approx. 0.2 miles away); Hawks Nest Tunnel Disaster Workers Grave Site (approx. 0.2 miles away); Running the River (approx. 2 miles away); Flood Control (approx. 2 miles away); In Memory of (approx. 3.2 miles away); Nicholas County Bank (approx. 3.2 miles away); Nancy Hart's Capture (approx. 3.2 miles away); Summersville (approx. 3.2 miles away).
 
Hawks Nest Workers Memorial and Grave Site image. Click for full size.
By Forest McDermott, October 29, 2014
3. Hawks Nest Workers Memorial and Grave Site
Hawks Nest Workers Grave Site image. Click for full size.
By Forest McDermott, October 29, 2014
4. Hawks Nest Workers Grave Site
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on October 30, 2014, by Forest McDermott of Masontown, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 856 times since then and 354 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on October 30, 2014, by Forest McDermott of Masontown, Pennsylvania. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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Sep. 21, 2020