Published at
Published at, from the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives

The News & Observer’s online arm dipped into the archives today and pulled up old coverage of a mine explosion that happened near Sanford 90 years ago today.

The mine explosion killed 53 people on May 27, 1925. Wednesday, the the N&O’s website re-published excerpts from coverage from the aftermath of the disaster.

Originally republished in May of 2014 but re-shared today via Facebook, it’s a fascinating look both at the history of our area and at how wildly different newspapers were nearly a century ago.

Take a minute to read the whole thing. Here are a couple of the Rant’s favorite passages:

Nobody has determined how it happened, what caused it, or aught else but that it did happen. Rescue work has been left to the uncommon and very splendid judgment of Claude Scott, superintendent of the Erskine-Ramsey Mine across the river. The latter has shut down and its crews are here helping with the rescue work.


This morning there was a brief flurry when a fat, excitable moving picture man from Chicago, blathering about his experience in handling such scenes, undertook to tell some of the officers where to head in. They quietly told him where to head out, and he headed, bleating as he went. His bleating ceased at a firm word from the sheriff, trekking off across the dusty waste of the roads, dragging his equipment after him.


With their task ended the relief workers from Fort Bragg and from Sanford broke their camp today after 96 hours of continuous work, and went home.Before they left the scene of the disaster they placed a week’s supply of rations in every home in the village over which is written the legend of death and sorrow. The field kitchens from Fort Bragg and the men who manned them, the women from Sanford who had charge of the relief work, have gone, and with them they have taken the mute but undying gratitude of the men whom they have served.