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 Post subject: Knox Mine Disaster Remembered
PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:59 pm 
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Location: Anthracite Region of PA
A week of events will mark the area’s mining history
An art exhibit will begin a series of presentations over two counties.
By Jerry Lynott jlynott@timesleader.com
Staff Writer | Jerry Lynott on Facebook | @TLJerryLynott on Twitter

WILKES-BARRE – The region’s mining history will be the focus of a weeklong series of free lectures and events starting Tuesday at locations in Luzerne and Lackawanna counties.

Schedule of Events
•Tuesday, 12:30 – 8 p.m., Wilkes University, Sordoni Gallery, “Let Children be Children: Lewis Wickes Hine’s Crusade against Child Labor.” To March 11.

• Tuesday, 7 p.m., Wilkes University, Lecture: Robert P. Wolensky, “The Anthracite Mining Industry during the Lewis Hine Years,” Room 166 Stark Learning Center. •Thursday, 7 p.m., King’s College, the Monsignor John J. Curran Memorial Lecture, Wolensky and William A. Hastie, “The Knox Mine Disaster: The Anthracite Mineworker and The Culture of Corruption,” Room 104, McGowan Business School.

•Saturday 2:30 p.m., Anthracite Heritage Museum, Scranton, Knox Mine Disaster, including George “Bucky” Mazur, survivor.

• Jan. 22, 10 a.m., St. John the Evangelist Church, Annual Knox Mine Disaster Memorial Mass, William Street, Pittston.

• 11:30 a.m., Knox Memorial Monument and PHMC Marker, service in front of the Baloga Funeral Home, Main Street, Port Griffith.

• Noon, Walk to Knox Mine Disaster site, Port Griffith

• Jan. 24, 7 p.m., Huber Breaker Preservation Society, Lecture: Attorney F. Charles Petrillo, “Last Shift: The End of Deep-Coal Mining in the Wyoming Valley 1959-1974,” Earth Conservancy Building, Main Street, Ashley.
What began 14 years ago as a remembrance of the 12 miners who perished in the Knox Mine Disaster on Jan. 22, 1959 has expanded to include a photographic exhibit at Wilkes University on child labor and the inaugural Monsignor John J. Curran Memorial Lecture at King’s College.

“This is our best program ever,” said Robert P. Wolensky, a Swoyersville native, who teaches at King’s and the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point.

As part of Mining History Week, he will join William Hastie in the Curran lecture entitled, “The Knox Mine Disaster: The Anthracite Mineworker and The Culture of Corruption,” at 7 p.m. Thursday in Room 104 of the McGowan Business School.

Wolensky described Curran as a champion of the miner.

“He’s one of the most important people in anthracite history, certainly the most important clergyman,” said Wolensky. “We need to know who he is.”

Curran, who was born in Carbondale, was founding pastor of Holy Savior parish in Wilkes-Barre. He played a key role in the Anthracite Strike of 1902, counseling John Mitchell, the leader of the United Mine Workers and President Teddy Roosevelt.

More than a century has passed since the strike, but the Knox Mine Disaster is still fresh in the minds of many residents of the region. It’s “a good example of living history,” said Wolensky.

The remaining survivor of the disaster, George “Bucky” Mazur, will participate in the annual program on the Knox Mine at 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 21 at the Anthracite Heritage Museum in Scranton.

Hastie, of West Pittston, helped with the rescue of miners who escaped through an air shaft.

“(The disaster) was the result of a corrupt coal company,” said Wolensky.

The Knox Coal Co. illegally mined under the Susquehanna River, crossing the stop line to follow a vein of coal up toward the river bed, explained Wolensky. The river broke through, flooding the mine and essentially killing deep mining in the region, he added.

“It didn’t die immediately,” said Wolensky. “It continued for a handful of years only because (the mining companies) were pumping their heads off.”

Attorney F. Charles Petrillo will discuss the industry’s demise in the final lecture, entitled, “Last Shift: The End of Deep-Coal Mining in the Wyoming Valley 1959-1974.” It will be delivered at 7 p.m. on Jan. 24 in the Earth Conservancy Building in Ashley in front of the Huber Breaker.

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