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Butte Residents Mark Centennial of Speculator Mine Disaster

The Granite Mountain-Speculator Mine disaster killed an estimated 168 miners on June 8, 1917

BUTTE — Butte residents are marking the centennial of one of history’s worst mine disasters with solemn ceremonies and a musical.

The Granite Mountain-Speculator Mine disaster killed an estimated 168 miners on June 8, 1917, when a cable fell down a shaft, hitting obstacles that stripped its covering and exposed oil-soaked insulation. A worker helping to retrieve the cable accidentally brushed the exposed cable with a lamp, sparking a fire that spread quickly through the mine, killing the miners below.

It is largest hard rock mining accident in history.

A remembrance ceremony is scheduled for Thursday evening at the Granite Mountain Memorial. Performances of the musical commemorating the disaster called “No Greater Love” will be performed at the Mother Lode Theater on Friday and Saturday.

The Montana Standard reports additional events will be held through June 17.

Gov. Steve Bullock released a statement in honor of the 100th anniversary.

“Today we remember the greatest loss of life in metal mining history, reflect on the significance of the ‘Richest Hill on Earth’ on Montana and our nation, and celebrate the brothers and sisters of the labor movement who shaped our future course,” said Bullock. “Let us not ever forget the sacrifices of those in our past who have made us who we are today.”

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