Cherry Coal Mine Disaster

No Respect For History
Cherry Mine Disaster Story
Story of Disaster by Steve Stout
The Fatal Day
Story in a Nutshell
Mine Site photos
Description of Cherry Mine
James Cherry
page two mine pics
Page Three Mine Pics
Page four Mine photos
Page Five Mine Photos
Page Six Mine Photos
Page Seven Mine Photos
Page Eight Mine Photos
Page Nine Mine Photos
Bell Signals etc.
Page Ten Mine photos
New Mine photos
Aerial Views
Cherry Mine Artifacts
Sunday Morning Crowds
Cherry Mine Model
Model Pics Set Two
Twelve Heroes Story
John Flood: Hero
Alex Norberg (Hero)
Read about Eight-Day Men
John Thomas Brown
George Eddy
Which Story Deserves Movie?
The Memorial and More
Miners Tombstones
Cherry Depot
Soldier Trains and more
Morgue Tent
Names of Victims
Names of Victims section two
Coal Mining Words
Map Diagrams
No Respect For History
The Day the Tipple Fell
Farewell letters
Sam Howard's Letter
More on the Subject
"Oneness" Press release
TRAPPED: Karen Tintori's new book
Ray Tutaj Model Projects
Last Days of The Milwaukee Road
Milwaukee Road Car
St. Paul Coal Mine Office
Remembering the disaster.
100th Anniversary/Car Show
100th Anniversary Photos
100th Anniversary photos by Candy Brown
100th Anniversary pics from Karen Tintori
We need Your Help (1909 song)
Cherry Word Puzzle
Favorite Links
About me
Tour of Mine Site
Contact Me
100th Anniversary Documentary Available and More!
Cherry Mine Disaster Historical Society
T-Shirts, Sweatshirts etc.(100th anniv.)
Train Photo CDs Available
Train Video DVD's Available
Train -e-books NEW!
Workers Compensation
Cherry MIne Enthusiasts Remembered
How You Can Help


CHERRY JANUARY 03 History takes a back seat to paranoia and disrespect. History tumbles down at the Cherry Mine Site.

A phone call from my Dad informed me that some sort of work was being done on the Cherry Mine Site. I quickly called Charles Bartoli to see what was going on. Several months earlier Charles and I talked about when the work was to be done and to see if the remaining remnants of the mine could be left intact. However when I phoned Charles that frigid Saturday afternoon of Jan 18th 2003, he said that I wouldn't like what has been done on the site. I then made the trip to Cherry to see for myself. I had my camera in hand and snapped a few photos, basically of dirt. Gone forever is the brick structure, which once was part of the fan house buildings. It was like a knife through the heart. A total disrespect of history has been perpetrated here.

As I walked toward the Main shaft there was nothing but a dirt pile. No more steel girders standing in the prairie winds to remind those who visit that this was the location were miners entered the mine and were the twelve heroes came up on the fiery cage. There is no more escape shaft cover to see, for it is buried too, beneath a good heap of dirt. No more can we show people that this was the exact spot where the fire began, 315 feet below. The northeast wall of the Boiler house has been knocked down leaving only the back wall and some foundation. The reason for saving the back wall of the boiler house is because Charles has a shed attached to it for storage. Basically Mr. Bartoli's hands were tied and he really couldn't tell the state what to do. They came in with their big trucks and starting resurfacing the landscape. The smaller original hills first created by the miners are leveled too. The two large hills are still there of course.

The Illinois Department of Natural resources is taking precautionary measures to prevent fires from any acid mine runoff, carbon or other refuse left behind by past mining operations. (really? The brick structure and girders could not cause any harm. The cover for the escape shaft needed some reinforcement but that was about it.) The paper says they are digging up soil to cover up the areas where refuse has gathered over the years. They are doing some "minimal" shaping and filling of the airshaft and the air hoist that had 15ft voids in them. (what the heck is an air hoist? There was no hoist to lift air. I think they meant to say the Mainshaft) They say it is a "safety issue" There was very little reason for concern and I find it hard to find even a little bit of truth in what they were saying, but I think paranoia has gripped them like the rest of the country. If they wanted to do this right, they should have made any reinforcements in covers, structures, land etc. If you respect the history that has unfolded here, once upon a time, then you preserve what is left, you don't destroy it. It seems the whole country has got its "flag tangled up in a tree" Also, everywhere I look another grain elevator is being torn down in the name of safety. I seen them tear down the Peterstown elevator which was on this Milwaukee Road Line between Ladd and Mendota. I seen first hand how sturdy those things are built. The lumber used in constructing them was most impressive and still in great shape. The Cherry grain elevator was also recently torn down. It could just be a tax issue. Taxes are another reason why so many historically significant structures that dot our landscape of America are being torn down. Taxes and paranoia are destroying the quality of life for us. On this page you will see a picture of the house that once was the mine managers house. In the tree a flag is tangled up so badly and it reminds me of how our country is tangled up too.

Those who seen and photographed the last remnants of the fan house bldg were lucky. And those who took the tour of the site in Nov 2002 were very lucky! No tour there will ever be the same again.


When these walls did speak, I listened.
But never again can they speak, nor shall the setting sun shine on those brick walls.

The little brick structure meant a lot to me personally. Each time I visited the historic site I would take a few more photographs. One particular warm afternoon I was by myself and it was almost as if the structure was talking. Imbedded in its walls are all the emotions of the people who suffered that great loss. I envisioned the scenes in my head and all the chaos of a disaster unfolding so quickly. Like a thief coming deceptively in the sunlights warmth of that fine autumn day.

The gentle breeze slipped through the open large windows and doorway. Once in a while, I would step inside the little building, and many deep thoughts would run through my mind. I really felt the experiences with the small brick edifice was very personal and educational. I learned so much when I walked around the site, but that building which still was intact gave me a great perspective as to the orientation of the mine site. It appeared to be in fair shape. The concrete ceiling could have used some reinforcement to be safest although I seen no signs of weakness. It was probably erected in 1903, perhaps in the springtime. If it could have been left alone by human ignorance it could have seen its 100th birthday. It just dawned on me that 2003 marks the 100th anniversary of when the St. Paul Co. came to Cherry to build the mine workings. In 2009 we will mark the 100th anniversary of the disaster of course.

I am disappointed about the building being torn down and the other sites attractions being buried for good. It grieves me that we live in an age where history is trampled under foot. The future of many of these small towns is their history. Well, what is done is done. I can share with you the photographs I have taken of the brick building on this web site. Well, it will never be the same again at the mine site. There are countless others who feel the same. If I were a rich man I would rebuild the entire site with working trains in all (life size scale this time) and it would be quite a spectacle to see.

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