(05/14/2019)

Musicians play tunes above magnificent Hawks Nest overlook ...

... a popular tourist spot above New River (Hur Herald Photos)

By Bob Weaver

The magnificent beauty of Hawk's Nest above New River, just off State Rt. 16 on US 60 near Anstead, supersedes the tragic events that took place in the gorge below in 1927.

A Union Carbide hydro-electric project known as the "Hawk's Nest Incident," claimed up to a thousand lives of poor immigrant, black and local workers during the construction of a three-mile tunnel through Gauley Mountain.

The tunnel was filled with silica dust and workers were not given masks for protection.

There are no signs at the state park's overlooks to recall their sacrifice.

Exit of three-mile tunnel on a pastoral stretch of the river

Union Carbide reportedly agreed to 109 deaths, but A Congressional hearing placed the death toll at 476, while worker's families claimed the toll was over 1,000.

Hawks Nest incident is mentioned in "Dying for a Living: The Hawk's Nest Incident" in the book "Trust Us, We're Experts" by Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber.

Enthralled with the beauty, few will recall a tragedy that was the state's worst industrial accident, long covered-up.

Hawk's Nest is a great family visit spot, with great scenic views, a museum, and a tram into the gorge, and should be a memorial to them.


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