COLUMBUS – American Electric Power formally dedicated its Miners’ Memorial Park, honoring the men and women who mined coal in southeastern Ohio.
More than 250 people heard comments from representatives of AEP, United Mine Workers of America and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources during ceremonies at the park site near McConnelsville.
“After more than a half century of mining coal, Central Ohio Coal Co.’s scorecard is an impressive one,” said E. Linn Draper, AEP chairman, president and CEO.
“The men and women who worked here moved more than 2.5 billion cubic yards of earth – 10 times more than was excavated for the construction of the Panama Canal – while mining more than 132 million tons of coal for the generation of electric power.
“The Miners’ Memorial Park we are dedicating honors these men and women. There is no more fitting tribute to these individuals than a memorial located on land that has been surface mined and reclaimed – a memorial that is anchored by an historic piece of mining equipment, the bucket from Big Muskie.
The memorial park is a tribute to help people remember how remarkable the mining operation was and the many firsts that were achieved there.
AEP announced in 1999 that Big Muskie – which moved more than 483 million tons of rock and earth between 1969 and 1991 – would be dismantled, and the 220-cubic-yard, 240-ton bucket from the world’s largest walking dragline would be the focal point of the memorial park.
Another highlight of the memorial is the “Wall of Honor,” which lists the names of employees of Central Ohio Coal Co., the AEP subsidiary that operated Big Muskie.
About the site.
The Miners’ Memorial Park site in AEP’s ReCreation Land was surfaced mined for coal in the 1950s. ReCreation Land was reclaimed through the planting of more than 47 million trees.
ReCreation Land is a 30,000-acre public recreational area in Morgan County. The area features more than 350 stocked lakes and ponds and nearly 380 campsites available free of charge to the public for hunting, fishing, camping and horseback riding.
The area is operated in cooperation with ODNR and is one of the largest public recreational areas in Ohio. More than 100,000 visitors use ReCreation Land each year.
Miners’ Memorial Park is along state Route 78, approximately nine miles east of McConnelsville.
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