Superintendent, Kennecott, Alaska
to Bert Nieding, mgr, Seattle,
April 28, 1927, 6:35 AM, central Alaska standard time
CRNW Railway / Western Union
ML upper camp destroyed by avalanche. Two confirmed & three presumed dead,
including engineer Frank Buckner, camp cook and bull-cook. All available miners involved in recovery operation. Recovery hampered by extreme winds & drifting.
All mining operations suspended.
W.C. Douglass, supt.
|The MLCC appeared to operate independently of the KCC, |
but even their headquarters was in the same building as KCC once the new MLCC
Kennecott, April 28, 8:45 AM, Pacific standard time
action to block news of disaster.
Continue suspension of mine operations. Submit investigation report.
Relay our regrets and shock to all at camp.
Our office has notified KCC and MLCC in NY.
Additional instruction to follow.
Bert Nieding, mgr
The original Mother Lode
headquarters was in the Singer Building, NYC. This building was
torn down in the late 1960s to make way for something more modern--and
far less impressive.
Bert Nieding, mgr, Pacific NW & Alaska Operations
to S. Birch, pres, KCC, NY
C. Earl, pres, MLCMC, NY
April 28, 8:35
AM, Pacific standard time
Disaster at Kennecott, Alaska. ML upper camp destroyed in avalanche and mining
explosion. Two confirmed and three unconfirmed deaths, including engineer F Buckner. All mining operations suspended. Word of disaster withheld. Mining operations suspended while search and investigation in progress.
Bert Nieding, mgr
The Equitable Building, 120
Broadway in NYC, served as the Kennecott and Guggenheim headquarters at
least until World War II
New York to
Seattle, ET Stannard, Kennecott
to Bert Nieding,
Seattle Operations Office
27 Apri 27, 1:35
PM, Eastern standard time
Please extend our shock and regrets to all. Will notify Birch, KCC & Charles Earl, MLCC. Maintain silence. Complete recovery and investigation before resuming mining & milling
|The Equitable |
Building has survived into modern times, although the original Kennecott
Corporation has long since been absorbed by a series of large companies,
the last being Rio Tinto. Sometime after WWII Kennecott moved its
headquarters to Salt Lake City, Utah, near their Bingham Mine
C.T. Ulrich, Secretary, MLCMC
to Bert Nieding,
Seattle Operations Office
27 April, 1927,
2:40 PM, eastern standard time
Charles Earl is not in NYC. We will notify him ASAP. Please extend our shock at loss
of life and destruction of camp at ML. Disaster news can adversely affect investor and shareholder confidence Word of disaster must be contained. Request you travel to site immediately to oversee operations and ensure silence maintained. Abandon Marvelous mining operations.
Surviving Marvelous miners to be paid off with bonus & sent home with
admonition of silence.
The Guggenheim family were
major stockholders in Kennecott. The Guggenheims and the Havemeyers were the main
backers of Stephen Birch even before there was a Kennecott. In the early
days of railroad construction before Kennecott their organization was
known as the Alaska Syndicate. It was extremely powerful and much feared
by many Alaskans who believed that the Guggenheims would come to
monopolize Alaska. After all, they did own Alaska Steam, the new CRNW,
the two largest copper mines in Alaska and substantial coal reserves.
Daniel Guggenheim was one
of the richest and most powerful men in America.
W.C. Douglass, Kennecott
Apr 27, 1927,
5:30 PM, central Alaska time
Blizzard continues. RR operations suspended on entire route. Telegraph
communication could fail. No bodies recovered. Search suspended during blizzard. All access to McCarthy blown shut. Communication with mines limited to aerial tram to Jumbo Sta 3. Power & phones to mines is down. Survivors moved to Bonanza
until storm passes.
|W.C. Douglass, |
Kennecott Superintendant during the 1920s
C.T. Ulrich, secretary, MLCMC
to W.C. Douglass,
28 April, 1:15 PM eastern time
Please provide details of destruction and update on search for survivors or bodies.
Maintain official silence. Most important do not admit destruction of ML.
secretary, MLCMC, NY
headquarters was in the Central Building
to S.Birch, KCC, NY,
C. Earl, MLCMC, NY,
& B. Nieding, Seattle
Blizzard passed. Search resumed. Bodies of the two Japs, K. Sato, 54 & Jim Tanaka, 17 recovered. Hospital exam shows death by trauma. Bodies to be shipped to
Juneau, Alaska, point of hire. Relatives located and notified.
Bodies of Jeff Boyd and Darrell Everitt to be shipped to Montana. Hospital exam shows
death by asphyxiation or trauma. Investigation reveals 100 level tunnel
explosion & collapse caused death. Relatives notified.
Search for body of Frank Buckner, 28, continues. No relatives found.
ML barrack, mess & rec obliterated and scattered over entire slide zone to McCarthy Creek. Aerial tram system destroyed. Investigation leads to likely
conclusion that all three at ML never left barrack or mess. Blacksmith
shop crushed. Heat & power plant destroyed. Office buried. F.Buckner
mine reports retrieved from office intact. Upper tram terminal intact,
but wrecked. Jig-back tram to Marvelous level 600 destroyed. 800 and
600 level tunnels intact. Blast destroyed stopes at levels 50, 100 &
200. Marvelous workings caved to surface.
Investigation performed by W.A.Richelsen. Concl: Engr. Buckner at fault. Improperly placed blast set off stope collapse and ridge avalanche. Main adit at ML re-opened
for recovery operations. CRNW not running. RR ops estimated to resume in three days as per F.A. Hanson.
Richelsen, head engineer in the 1920s & early 1930s; last Kennecott
superintendent from 1935 until the end of 1938. --Richelsen
John Steele, KCC, NY
to W.C.Douglass, Kennecott
WCD & WAR:
No admission of
fault due to Kennecott engineer. Alter report to read: accidental blast
caused death to five at ML.
Do not record destruction of ML camp.
Do not record recovery operations.
Do not record bonus pd to terminated ML employees. Main ofc to cover deficit.
The Daniel Guggenheim castle at Long Island
to E.T. Stannard, KCC
& C. Earl, MLCC, NY,
4 May, 1927
Arrived by plane to Cordova and train to Kennecott 3 May.
Power restored to Bonanza & Jumbo. Tram restored to Jumbo only.
Body of Frank Buckner recovered. Search ended. No relatives found.
Buckner determined eligible for military burial at Sitka, Alaska.
All five bodies to be shipped out on special funeral train no. 71, non-stop, Cordova.
Marvelous crew dismissed with bonus and admonition. Will leave with funeral train.
ML and Marvelous permanently closed. Investigation closed. Word of accident successfully altered as follows:
Accident in ML stope. Five killed by asphyxiation.
Destruction of ML not mentioned. Mining operations at Jumbo to resume on 5 May. Bonanza operations to resume when tram is rebuilt.
Bert Nieding, Manager