Princess Colliery Disaster Monument – Sydney Mines, Nova Scotia - Atlas Obscura

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Princess Colliery Disaster Monument

A simple memorial between a ball field and a skate park honors 21 men lost in a horrific mining accident. 


Spectators catching a little league baseball game in Sydney Mines may not suspect they are watching the game on the site of the old Princess Colliery.

Sunk in 1876, Princess Pit was the first in the Sydney coalfield to mine under the ocean. It descended to a depth of 2,000 feet (600 meters) and reached more than five miles (nine kilometers) under the Atlantic.

The men who worked the seam would be lowered in a cage, then climb onto a wagon called a rake, which then lowered them down a slope to the face.

On December 6, 1938, the cable which pulled the rake snapped. The runaway rake reached a speed of 80 miles (128 kilometers ) per hour before ending in a horrific crash at the bottom of the slope. Twenty-one men were killed and another 61 were injured.

Today, the site of Princess Pit is a large recreational area with a walking track, a skate park, and the Sydney Mines & District Little League ballfield. The monument to the 21 lives lost is just beyond the left-field wall.

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May 27, 2021

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