The Sunshine Mine Fire: A Dark Day in The Silver Valley

On May 2, 1972 a fire started in the Sunshine Mine near my hometown of Kellogg, Idaho. Ninety-one miners lost their lives. When I drive by the memorial, read articles about the disaster, or talk to a family member of a fallen miner I am still deeply saddened by the event.

Last year I reflected on that disaster on a blog post here.

Gregg Olson's words in the introduction of his book The Deep Dark: Disaster and Redemption in American's Richest Silver Mine reminded me today of all the lives that have been impacted by that mine fire. " Every day people remember the date, May 2, 1972. It is their local 'when Kennedy got shot' touchstone. It rewrote the lives of everyone, and even now its extraordinary legacy of unity and divisiveness is palpable. It is as if the smoke never really cleared. " G. Olson

My sister Silver Valley Girl posted an article yesterday about a high school classmate of mine that created a music composition inspired by Olson's book. You can find that post here.

" Prayer is a cry of distress, a demand for help, a hymm of love." - Dr. Alexis Carrel


  1. I remembered. May Day took on an even deeper meaning then.
    Thanks for sharing and for the reminder.
    Have a great weekend!

  2. I was born in May 1972, weird. Sorry I haven't been around in ages! We've been superbusy and unfortunately my blogging world was put on hold for awhile. I'm hoping it's not a pattern and I get to visit more often ;)

  3. Hard to believe it has been that long. I remember it like it was yesterday. We stayed up Big Creek for most of the time the search went on. I joined the Air Force that year to get away from the valley. Best thing I ever did.

  4. Although I am sorry for the loss of life, it was interesting to read something about the history of your area.

  5. I remember this traumatic and sad day. It was like a bad dream --- and it's hard to believe that it's been over 30 years since this disaster. Your tribute is very sweet and I like your closing quote: "Prayer is a cry of distress, a demand for help, a hymn of love."

    Thank you for remembering those who have been touched by this loss.


  6. Snowboardertilldeath@hotmail.com23.7.08

    I Just wanted to say to the Person or persons who made this page about the sunshine fire thank you. My grandfather Robert Bush past away in the fire. I haven't searched for anything on this in years, I am a 30 grandson Of Robert and I have people who have records of Songs about the fire that are very touching. I was born in Coure d' Alene and now reside in Mesa Arizona. I just wanted to thank you and all the people that remember those who died. My Grandfather was a good man and stood and faught to pull men out from stories I have heard. So to end my book, Thank you
    And God speed to all the families who lost loved ones in on that FateFul day


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