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Stag Canon Mine Disaster of 1923

  • Explosion map of 1923 disaster in Stag Canon No. 1
  • Telegram sent to Bureau of the Mines after 1913 disaster
  • View of Stag Canon mines in 1920
Event Date: 
February 08, 2016

Stag Cañon Mining Disasters Remembered a Century Later

The ghost town of Dawson, New Mexico may be the deadliest mining town ever.  From 1913 to 1923, the Stag Cañon coal mines located there experienced three different mining disasters claim that collectively claimed the lives of nearly 400 men.  The second-deadliest single mining disaster in U.S. history occurred at Stag Cañon No. 2 on October 22, 1913 when an improper dynamite blast ignited coal dust claiming the lives of 263.  Seven years later on April 14, 1920, five more miners were killed in another explosion at Stag Cañon No. 1 & 6.  And finally, on February 8, 1923, at Stag Cañon No. 1, a mine train jumped its track taking out supporting timbers and sparking a coal dust explosion that took the lives of 120 workers.  Many of the 120 killed were the sons of those who perished ten years earlier.

Today, all that remains of Dawson is a cemetery, only rediscovered in the early 1990s, bearing special white iron crosses for the hundreds of deceased miners.