Upper Big Branch Miners Memorial


On April 5, 2010, 29 out of 31 coal miners were killed in an explosion that occurred roughly 1,000 feet underground at Massey Energy‘s Upper Big Branch coal mine at Montcoal, West Virginia.


This incident marked the worst in the United States since 1970 incident in Kentucky in which 38 Finley Coal Company miners were killed. An investigation found the Mine Safety and Health Administration along with Massey Energy directly responsible for the explosion. Massey Energy is the sixth largest coal company in the nation. Click here for a pdf report to the governor concerning a failure of basic safety practices.


The Upper Big Branch Memorial is located in Whitesville, West Virginia, and was created to honor those in the mines and those who came to the aid of the miners at short notice. The memorial is 48-ft long with 29 life-sized silhouettes representing the miners.

On the back of the stone, all the names of the miners can be seen in addition to a summary of coal industry and its impact on West Virginia and our nation.

Two web memorials have been created in addition to the physical memorial site:
Upper Big Branch Miners Memorial

Faces of the Mine

More images of the site can be seen below.


The phrase beneath the miners reads, “Come to me all ye who labor, and I will give you rest.”


Just next to the miners memorial is another stone in honor of Big Coal River soldiers who have served in the American armed forces.

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