Presentation: The Smith Coal Mine Disaster of 1945

September 13th (Friday) 5:30 PM, YCM Lobby

Join us to listen to Katrina talk about the Smith Coal Mine Disaster of 1943.

On February 27, 1943, the No. 3 Smith Mine in the small town of Bearcreek, Montana exploded killing a total of seventy-five individuals, seventy-four miners who were working in the mine and one rescuer. The Smith Mine disaster is the worst coal mining accident in the state of Montana and the second deadliest mining accident in Montana – behind the Granite Mountain explosion in Butte’s copper mine. Despite the importance of mining in Montana’s history and economy, the Smith Mine is slowly fading from the state’s history. This paper briefly analyzes the coal mining industry in Montana, the town of Bearcreek, and the conditions within the Smith Mine that allowed for a disaster such as this to occur. Following the historical backdrop of coal mining and the city of Bearcreek, this paper delves into the events that occurred on February 27, 1943 and the effect the explosion had on the community of Bearcreek.