It's Dark As A Dungeon, Way Down In The Mine
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UPPER BIG BRANCH
It's dark as a dungeon and damp as the dew,
Where danger is doubled and pleasures are few,
Where the rain never falls and the sun never shines
It's dark as a dungeon way down in the mine.
On Monday afternoon, April 5th, 2010 an explosion ripped through the Upper Big Branch Coal Mine in Montcoal, WV killing twenty-nine miners inside. The rescue and recovery effort lasted days after the blast. During that time a make-shift memorial was created at a gazebo in a public park in nearby Whitesville, WV by members of the community. Friends and families of the victims left pictures, mementos and messages to loved ones as candles were burnt around the clock at the site until the last of the miner's bodies were recovered.
It was on this hallowed ground that a permanent memorial was built to honor those killed in the explosion, the first responders that were involved in the rescue and recovery efforts and all who have suffered illness, injury or death as a result of working in the coal industry. The memorial is a solemn reminder of the human cost that West Virginians have so dearly paid to power this great nation.
The memorial plaza is a place for remembering, healing and learning. The victims of the explosion are remembered by a 48' long black granite monument with life-size silhouettes of twenty-nine miners etched on the front. The reverse side of the monument tells the "Story of Coal", a brief summary of the coal industry and its impact on West Virginia and the nation. Also etched on the back is a tribute to all coal miners who have suffered illness, injury or death as a result of working in the coal industry and a tribute to the make-shift gazebo memorial. The names of all twenty-nine miners killed and the two survivors are listed as well.
Nearby the Upper Big Branch Miners Memorial is a bronze sculpture and plaque recognizing the local first responders and mine rescue teams from West Virginia and neighboring states that answered the call to aid their fellow man after the explosion. The bronze sculpture was created by West Virginia native Ross Straight.
Beside the parking area is a gateway to the memorial. Three interpretive signs tell the story of the Upper Big Branch Disaster and serve as an introduction to the events of that day and following week.
The Upper Big Branch Miners Memorial Group, Inc was founded in February, 2011 to raise funding for the memorial in Whitesville and to organize its planning and construction. Ground was broken in January of 2012 and the memorial was officially opened during a dedication ceremony in July. The memorial and plaza were designed by Rob Dinsmore of the Chapman Technical Group and built by Pray Construction.
You will be looking for a unique container located at the Upper Big Branch Miners Memorial. Container is too small for trade items or writing implements, so make sure to bring your own pen. Cell signal is virtually non-existent in this area so be sure to make the proper arrangements before travelling.
Hopefully the coordinates are on, or at least close. Power lines are right above and that seems to mess with my GPSr at times.
Most importantly, please be very respectful of this hallowed spot. It is a very important place to the family, friends, and loved ones of these miners. There is no need to search near the granite monument itself since the cache is not located there.
Many thanks go to the Upper Big Branch Miners Memorial Group, Inc. for giving their permission to locate this geocache.
Enjoy the hunt and while you're there, maybe reflect a little and give thanks for all of the miners who perform this very dangerous job.
Congratulations to WVEDIE on the FTF!
Vg'f qnex nf n qhatrba jnl qbja va gur zvar.
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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum