On Monday afternoon, April 5th, 2010 an explosion, triggered by a spark from a piece of mining equipment and fueled by coal dust, ripped through the Upper Big Branch Coal Mine in Montcoal, WV killing twenty-nine miners and injuring two. The rescue and recovery effort lasted days after the blast.
During that time a make-shift memorial was erected 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 personal messages to loved ones as candles were burnt around the clock at the site until the last of the miner's bodies were recovered.
Two years later, it was on this hallowed ground that a permanent memorial was built to honor those killed and injured in the explosion. The roadside memorial plaza is made up of three distinct points of interest and stands as a solemn reminder of the human cost that West Virginians have so dearly paid to power this great nation.
The memorial was made possible by contributions from the coal and coal support industries, private individuals and local businesses. Ground was broken at the site in January of 2012 and construction was completed in early July.