Near West Mineral in Cherokee County, Kansas — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
With the discovery of coal in Cherokee and Crawford Counties in the late 1860's, thousands came to work the mines. Some came from American towns and cities but most were immigrants from Europe. Over fifty nationalities settled in this area. Many landed at Ellis Island and continued here by railroad before heading out to the coal camps. Some came to find work. Some to escape repression. Some to find a new life in America. All were seekers.
What they found was not the "Paradise on Earth" described in the broadsides distributed throughout Europe but a difficult and dangerous existence living in camps and digging coal on their hands and knees ten to twelve hours a day. Many were killed. Many more were maimed or died later of Black Lung Disease. Because coal was dug only part of the year, numerous miners established businesses and farms to provide for their families when mines were idle.
The Weir-Pittsburg Coalfield would eventually be home to more than 100 coal camps. At one time, this region produced a third of the nation's bituminous coal and smelted lead and zinc ore in such quantities that Southeast Kansas became an industrial giant. The mix of nationalities in these camps created an ethnic geography unique to Kansas that came to be known as "The Little Balkans." The miners not only dug coal but gave voice and leadership
This memorial is dedicated to the men and women who not only toiled to extract coal from the Earth and create a new homeland but also engaged in a courageous struggle for social reforms that advanced the cause of human and civil rights in America. A diverse populace of uncommon strength, ingenuity and heart, their presence lives on in their descendants and in the businesses, farms and towns they established throughout southeast Kansas.
This passage was written by J.T. and Linda Knoll and is inscribed on a large, black stone marker inside the park.
The Miners' Memorial is located at the at the [sic] west entrance of Immigrant Park at Second Street and Walnut. This park celebrates the region's rich mining and immigrant history, and preserves the history of and honors deep shaft miners, strip miners, and auxiliary workers of the Weir-Pittsburg Coal Field located in Cherokee and Crawford counties.
Several points of interest along a walkway in the Miners' Memorial block include:
• A large dragline bucket donated by Wendell and Lynda Wilkinson of Pittsburg. The bucket was used for extensive surface mining in the region by
• A coal car and mining equipment.
• Jet-black polished stone monuments engraved with the names of coal miners submitted to Miners' Memorial.
• Various interpretive kiosks on such topisc as early mining disasters, early mining leaders, and the role of women in the region's mining [balance covered and unreadable].
Erected by Miners' Memorial and Big Brutus.
Location. 37° 16.418′ N, 94° 56.393′ W. Marker is near West Mineral, Kansas, in Cherokee County. Touch for map. Marker is adjacent to the rear [east] doors of the Big Brutus Visitor Center. Marker is at or near this postal address: 6509 NW 60th Street, West Mineral KS 66782, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Fire Bell (here, next to this marker); 40 Cubic Yard Dipper (a few steps from this marker); West Mineral War Memorial (approx. 1.1 miles away); Star Cemetery / Borland Cemetery Veterans Memorial (approx. 1.2 miles away); 1932 Plymouth 0-6-0 Switch Engine (approx. 4 miles away); Southern Pacific Bay Window Caboose (approx. 4 miles away); Missouri Pacific Wooden Frame Depot (approx. 4 miles away); Civil War Memorial (approx. 8.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in West Mineral.
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. The Weir - Pittsburg Coalfield
Also see . . .
1. Miners' Memorial. (Submitted on January 15, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Big Brutus, Inc. (Submitted on January 15, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Categories. • Civil Rights • Exploration • Industry & Commerce • Settlements & Settlers •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on January 15, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 672 times since then and 11 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on January 15, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.