LAKE CITY

Graves circle added to historic places register

A circle of miners' graves laid out in Leach Cemetery more than a century ago, casualties of the Fraterville Mine disaster of 1902, has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The Coal Creek Watershed Foundation, a nonprofit group that promotes environmental conservation and historic preservation in the former mining community, will hold a dedication May 19, the 103rd anniversary of the Fraterville Mine explosion.

An estimated 200 men and boys died in the disaster, one of the worst in U.S. mining history. Several miners, trapped after the explosion, left touching notes to loved ones before they suffocated.

The victims were buried in 20 cemeteries. But the largest group was in Leach Cemetery, where their graves dramatically circled a monument. Tony Van Winkle of the East Tennessee Development District nominated the site for inclusion on the nation's official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation.

— Associated Press

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