Links to Mining Museums and Miners' Memorials for Oklahoma
|The Pioneer Coal Miner Memorial|
The Pioneer Coal Miner Statue and "Wall of Memories" pays tribute to the thousands of miners who labored in the mines in the McAlester area, and especially to those who
IM their lives In their work.
From its beginning about 1875, the commercial mining industry in and around McAlester contributed to the growth of the entire area. By 1898 there were 19 companies mining coal, and by 1905 there were 48. Major, production between 1903 and 1906 exceeded 3 million tons annually.
Miners came here from Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois; then immigrants from Italy, Germany, France and Eastern Europe were attracted by the chance for a new life. This mixture of nationalities created a unique melting pot of ethnic cultures which has survived to this day.
While mine work provided jobs for new residents, it also presented danger. Some of the most hazardous mines were in the McAlester area, and there were many accidental injuries and deaths. The lifesize bronze statue and the "Wall of Memories" is dedicated to every working miner who carried a dinner pail, swung a pick or shoveled coal. On the wall are inscribed the names of over 1700 miners who were killed in pursuit of their trade over a 100 year period.
The First National Bank and Trust Company, in presenting this Memorial to the City of McAlester, is proud to have helped bring about this long over-due recognition of the part the working miner played in the history of McAlester and Oklahoma.
Though 620 miners were killed in the 28 listed major disasters, almost twice as many more were killed singly or in accidents involving four or less. Some in the early years of mining in this area were as young as 10 years of age.