|The Memorial in the Cemetary in Cherry Illinois
|Erected by the United Mine Workers in 1910
Here in the cemetary in Cherry just south of the slag piles is the memorial as seen at left.
The 90th anniversary was in 1999. Each year the sign changes as we near the 100th anniversary of the disaster.
In this cemetary you will find numerous tombstones of those young men who died in that terrible tragedy. It is quite
a hair raising experience to see these tombstones and to be so near to the remains of those precious young miners.
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|What is left today in the year 2002
|The building in the fan house area and walls of the boiler house.
IF THESE BRICK WALLS COULD SPEAK what would they tell us? They might say, "I was there." I seen the terrible
tragedy. I witnessed the human agony and terror. Smoke billowed around me and encompassed me. But i am still here as
This particular structure is the only remaining bldg on the site today and i was fortunate enough
to be allowed to photograph it with the permission of Charlie Bartoli who owns the land. For it is a no trespassing area.
Each time i see these brick walls i hear them trying to tell me of the mines glorious and infamous past. How it also was a
thriving Coal mine. But now the wind howls sorrowfully through these open windows and the voices of those who worked the mine
are engrained into the bricks. I would hope that this structure shall remain always, even if it must be reinforced.
The other remnants are the back and one side wall of the boiler house, and some of the steel girders at
the main shaft. Although they are leaning eastward more and more each time i see them. There is the foundation of the
engine house too. Charlie has found mine rail, a oil can with C. M & St. P on it and a mine railroad tie which he
was nice enough to give to me. See photo of Charlie Bartoli and I below.
|Charles Bartoli and Ray Tutaj Jr.
|Against the back wall of the boiler house.
Here I am with Charlie Bartoli seen at left. If it wasn't for Charlie i just don't see how the building of the
Model of the Cherry Coal mine would have been possible. He helped me with much needed information and access to the
mine site. We measured the foundations of the buildings and he had many stories to tell me about his Father who bought
the Mine from the Railroad in 1928. I was able to use actual slag and coal from the mine site for my display.
He gave me a good idea of how the mine functioned as the information was handed down from his father. Charlie was just a young
preteen child in the 30's and his dad along with the Cherry Coal Co. operated the mine until 1935. Then an iron salvage co.
from Chicago bought the Tipple and salvaged it. The mine had ceased operation totally.
As of 2002 Charlie is still known to climb the tall slag piles that the miners built. He often gives
tours of the site as well as i do to groups of highschoolers and others interested. I am so glad to have studied this
minesite indepth because i feel as if i was there cause I see the whole layout of the mine so clearly.
|The Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Depot
|Cherry IL. had a depot and here it is. Mine is seen in left background.
In 1904 when the mine had opened many miners would be brought in by train too. However several
hundreds lived in the new mining town that sprung up in the blink of an eye. Could you imagine the scene of construction in
Cherry? It was a good and prosperous time. There was hope, because of the mine providing for so many miners and their families
even though it was hard work. As you can see from the photo, the tracks go north a ways and then take a left at a 45
degree angle toward the mine site. There were quite a few tracks and much switching to do by the trains. The depot
had seperate waiting rooms and had a Wells Fargo Express. It also had a lengthy brick platform and was a somewhat common
design for Milwaukee Railroad depots. Passenger Trains came to the depot and then backed toward Ladd 3 miles to get back on
the "main " track.