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Cherry, Illinois: Cherry Mine Disaster Mass Grave

The coal mine caught fire. A monument marks the mass grave.

Miner's Cemetery

Hwy 89, Cherry, IL
I-80 exit 70, then north on Hwy 89 about 4.5 miles. The Memorial is in Miner's Cemetery on the south side of town.
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Cherry Mine Disaster Mass Grave.

Cherry Mine Disaster Mass Grave

Besides the main monument, there is an entire section of the cemetery to the right in the rear that contains individual burial sites of several who passed in this tragedy -- all tombstones having the same Nov 13, 1909 date of death.

[Luv2RV, 09/09/2023]

Sign notes anniversary of the Cherry Mine Disaster with monument in background.

Cherry Mine Disaster

On November 13, 1909, a terrible mining disaster occurred in the small town of Cherry, Illinois. The coal mine in Cherry caught fire and, after all men were accounted for, a total of 259 lost their lives. This disaster was the worst coal mine fire in U.S. history and is the third worst coal mine disaster.

The Cherry Mine Disaster was one of the catalysts for a reform in child labor laws, in addition to mining safety and operation regulations. The book "Trapped" by Karen Tintori is a riveting account of the disaster and was one of the Chicago Tribune's favorite books of 2002 and is well worth reading. Now, in the town of Cherry, is a small plaque on the north side of town briefly describing the disaster and on the south side of town is the Miner's Cemetery and memorial. Both are sad reminders of that fateful day in 1909.

[John Holmes, 08/14/2007]

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