© Christopher Gooding
Salvation Army Captain Chad Ingram places a wreath remembering all miners lost during Springhill’s storied coal mining past during the Davis Day service on Tuesday.
SPRINGHILL – Unlike previous years, there was more interest in the Davis Day service here in Springhill Tuesday.
Instead of rows of vacant seats, there was just a smattering. The sidewalk was filled with onlookers and the Springhill Police Service stopped traffic from passing the miners memorial on Main Street.
“It seems this year more people have attended than in previous years,” Claire Canning, a member of the Davis Day committee and MC, said. “It’s really overwhelming for the committee.”
Davis Day, or more specifically William Davis Miners’ Memorial Day, is an annual day of remembrance observed June 11 n coal mining communities in the province, recognizing those who died on the job. Davis was a miner killed during a 1925 protest in New Waterford. Here in Springhill, tragedies like the bump of 1958 or the explosion of 1956 where international news stories, the scope of which are still remembered today. Buy mining was a daily threat to human life in those days and Springhill’s storied past of coal mining that started in 1870 represents more than 100 years of tragedy before the industry ended.
Besides memorials to the famed work place disasters, a collection of pillars stand behind the miners memorial with the names of those who died in the mines because they showed up for work. They were erected 25 years ago to the day of the service.
“Somebody gave a donation in memory of Don F. Lewis, who was killed in 1944,” said Mary Willa Littler, one of Springhill’s historians tasked with researching the names.
That donation made way for another 200 names of miners killed on the job here, in addition to the names already memorialized from the 1956 and 1958 disasters.