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Milford Mine Memorial Park to gain from $279,000 state grant

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Development of the Milford Mine Memorial Park, site of Minnesota's worst mining disaster, just moved a lot closer to providing a full experience for visitors.

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The site, which has long languished with limited accessibility, gained from a Crow Wing County plan to do more than distantly remember the disaster that claimed 41 miners lives.

A multi-phase plan was created. First steps put in a road and parking area, a rustic canoe or kayak launch and a picnic shelter. The mine site itself remained at a distance with the town that sprang up around it lost in the underbrush.

This past February, on a bone-chilling day, residents, descendents and dignitaries gathered at the new shelter for a ceremony marking the 90th anniversary of the disaster.

Water from nearby Foley Mine flooded into the mine shaft on the late afternoon of Feb. 5, 1924. Forty-one men died as mud and water overtook them. Seven survived. The last body was recovered nine months later.

Tuesday, Crow Wing County entered an agreement with the state to receive $279,000, which is expected to cover costs for phase two and phase three.

The grant will cover a trail to the site, mine shaft shoring and restoration, structural fencing around the mine shaft, exposing old foundations, creating a historic marker at the site of the cave-in, interpretive signs, a memorial monument.

In 1924, the mine shipped 70,000 tons of ore. George H. Crosby owned the mine. It closed in 1932.

Families and historians remembered the disaster, but for the broader lakes area community it became shrouded in time. The lake reclaimed part of the area. Getting to the site was easier in winter when it was possible to walk across the ice.

But this grant will change that. A lump sum of $140,000 will fund construction of a boardwalk across the water and upland.

Plans are to plant 41 memorial trees for each miner who lost their lives in the disaster.

There are additional plans for a picnic shelter, canoe launch, picnic tables, benches and landscape trees.

The project is expected to be completed in September of 2015. The site is on the National Register of Historic Places and soon residents will have a much improved ability to see a lakes area legacy.

To reach the Milford Mine Memorial Park go north of Crosby on Highway 6, left on County Road 30 for 0.3 miles, then left at the park sign.

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Renee Richardson
Richardson is a Pacelli High School graduate from Austin, Minn., who earned an applied science degree from the University of Minnesota, Waseca, with an emphasis in horse management. She worked extensively in the resort industry. She received an associate’s degree from Central Lakes College, where she was editor of the Westbank Journal student newspaper, as well as a summer intern at the Dispatch. She graduated from St. Cloud State University summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and interned at the St. Cloud Times covering business while attending SCSU. She's been with the Brainerd Dispatch since 1996.
(218) 855-5852
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