100th anniversary of Milford Mine Disaster

February 5 is the 100th anniversary of what is called the worst mining disaster in Minnesota history. Forty one miners lost their lives when Foley Lake broke into the Milford underground mine in Crosby in Central Minnesota. On Monday, February 5 the Cuyuna Iron Range Heritage Network (CIRHN) will present a commemorative program for the 100th anniversary of the Milford Mine disaster at 7 pm in Mayberry Auditorium at the Crosby-Ironton High School, 711 Poplar Street.

Statement from the Cuyuna Iron Range Heritage Network:

On Feb. 5, 1924, Foley Lake broke through into the Milford underground mine 175 feet below completely flooding the mine in 15 minutes. Forty-one miners were trapped and drowned. There were only seven survivors.

It was, and still is, the worst mining disaster in Minnesota history and is one of the worst in our nation’s history.

The commemorative program will recap the events of that day highlighting stories of some of the miners who died and some who survived. The CIRHN will also present an abbreviated program for the junior and senior high students that afternoon.

In 2007, the Crow Wing County Board of Commissioners dedicated funds to create a park on the Milford Mine site that would serve as a memorial to the 41 miners who lost their lives in the disaster of 1924. Historic markers and photographs along a series of trails identify the excavated building foundations including the shaft site. A floating Memorial Boardwalk across a wetland area is inscribed with the names of the 41 miners lost.

According to CIRHN, the park is a place for visitors to experience the beauty of the location while enjoying hiking, biking, picnicking, wildlife viewing, cross country skiing and canoeing. The park is located four miles north of Crosby on Highway 6 and then 3/10ths of mile left on County Road 30. There is no admission fee and picnic shelters, and restrooms are available at the park.

CIRHN says county commissioners recently announced additional funding to establish more trails including another floating bridge that will take visitors out over Foley Lake, now known as Milford Lake, to the spot where the cave-in occurred. Work on the expansion is expected to be completed this spring and Crow Wing County will be hosting a memorial event at the park later this summer.