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Granddaughter of victim memorializes Michigan’s largest mining disaster


Ninety years ago yesterday brought the worst mining accident in Michigan history.

The Barnes-Hecker Mine disaster on November 3, 1926, killed 51 miners. The disaster rocked the community west of Ishpeming.

Mary Tippett’s grandfather was killed in the disaster. It was his first day on the job.

This anniversary week, Tippett is working to make sure the legacy of the miners and their families is not forgotten. She’s one of the organizers of the Barnes-Hecker Remembrance Day.

"The day was one of disbelief and shock and horror," she said. "The mine whistle started to shriek when it was known that there was something radically wrong. Ripples of shock went through the community. Families gathered at the mine in the hope that their men would be rescued."

Nintey years later, events to honor the men lost that day continue.

This Saturday night at the Cliffs Shaft Mine Museum, a candlelight vigil will be held. For the first time in history, the names of both miners and their wives will be read and honored together.

"We are very excited about being able to give the descendants and families something that they have never had before," Tippett said.

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