TIL of the Hawks Nest Tunnel Disaster, one of the deadliest industrial disasters in US History. An estimated 764 workers died of Silicosis caused by working conditions and lack of safety equiment.

Read more: https://www.nps.gov/neri/planyourvisit/the-hawks-nest-tunnel-disaster-summersville-wv.htm

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  1. The 2,900 tunnel workers, 2/3rds of whom were African-American, worked 10-15 hours shifts in the silicia-rich soil of Gauley Mountain WV, breathing in silicia dust without breathing protection or proper ventilation, emerging from the tunnel at the end of the day covered in white dust from head to toe, their ghostly Visage (and high mortality rate) helping their camp near Gauley Bridge earn the nickname “The town of the Living dead.” When sick, they were often forced out of their beds and back to work at gunpoint. When they died, they were buried in unmarked graves, first in an old slave cemetery, then when room ran out in a re-purposed agricultural field. The familes of these workers were often not informed of their deaths.

    No punishment was ever leveled at The Union Carbide and Carbon Corporation, the company responsible for construction.

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