Heavy gases impeded recovery operations, but eventually all the recovered bodies were laid out at City Hall, which had been turned into a temporary morgue.

Courtesy of Roslyn Museum

Graveside photo of families of Winyard Steele and Mitchell Hale, killed in the May 10, 1892 coal mine disaster, Roslyn, May 1892
Courtesy Albert Mitchell Steele


Grave photo of Winyard Steele and Mitchell Hale, killed in the May 10, 1892 coal mine disaster, Roslyn, May 1892
Courtesy Albert Mitchell Steele
Be sure to check back for additional listings



Worst coal mine disaster in Washington history kills 45 miners at Roslyn on May 10, 1892.

At 1:45 p.m. on Tuesday, May 10, 1892, an explosion and fire kill 45 miners in the Northern Pacific Coal Company’s No. 1 mine at Roslyn, located in the eastern foothills of the Cascade Mountains in Central Washington. It will prove to be the worst coal mine disaster in Washington state history.

By 1892, Roslyn No. 1 mine had expanded to seven levels and a depth of 2,700 feet below the town. Eleven furnaces burned around the clock to create drafts to ventilate the mine and disperse dangerous methane gas (called at the time firedamp). But the main airway did not extend below the fourth level. A passage cut into the slope below the fourth level provided some ventilation. Miners were in the process of connecting the airway from the fifth level to the sixth level and downward when the volatile gas detonated.

Mine officials started a recovery effort, but many miners were reluctant to go back down into the mine. The first day, workers removed 14 bodies. All 45 bodies were removed by Thursday afternoon. The victims were buried in local cemeteries, one for whites and one for African Americans. These coal mine workers were some of the 50,000 coal miners killed on the job in the United States between 1870 and 1914.

At Roslyn No. 1, workers not killed by the explosion itself were quickly asphyxiated. The coroner’s jury established that "the death was cause by an explosion of gas caused by "deficient ventilation" (Inspector of Mines, 15).

The disaster created 29 widows and 91 orphans. Some of the families filed suit against Northern Pacific Coal Company.  The parties settled with $1,000 going to each widow except where there was a working age son and then the payment was $500.


The last Roslyn coal mine closed in 1962.

HistoryLink.org Essay 8016
Roslyn Museum: web Sept. 2010
Fifty Probably Killed," The New York Times, May 11, 1892, p. 5; "The Dead at Roslyn Mine," Ibid., May 12, 1892, p. 5; John C. Shideler, Coal Towns in the Cascades: A Centennial History of Roslyn and Cle Elum, Washington; (Spokane: Melior Publications, 1986); Annual Report of the Coal Mine Inspectors of the State of Washington, 1892, 1893, 1894 (Olympia: State of Washington, 1894), 8-16; Priscilla Long, Where the Sun Never Shines: A History of America's Bloody Coal Industry (New York: Paragon House, 1989), 24-51.

Roslyn Cemetery Roslyn, WA

Roslyn Cemetery is arguably one of the most unique and diverse cemeteries in Washington State.

Roslyn Cemetery is really an amalgamation of 25 separate cemeteries abutting each other on 15 wooded acres on Roslyn's west hill. T
he land was donated by or purchased from the Northern Pacific Company by fraternal, ethnic and civic organizations for burial of their deceased members. The cemetery was founded in 1886. The Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF); Knights of Pythias Lodge; Soloka Lodge; Wanapum Tribe 28, Improved Order of Redmen; Cacciatori D’Africa (literally Hunters of Africa – an Italian Lodge), Croatian Fraternal Union Lodge No. 56, SNF Lodge No. 79 (Croatian); Saint Barbara Lodge No. 39 (Greek Catholic); and Dr. David Starcevich Lodge No. 56 (Croatian) are among the organizations and ethnicities represented in this cemetery. At least 24 nationalities are represented within the nearly 5000 graves.

The Roslyn Historical Cemetery  was placed on the National Historic Places in 1978.

In 2010 the Roslyn Cemetery Beneficial Association was formed to provide funding and resources towards the renewal and preservation of this unique cemetery.

Roslyn Museum: web. Sept. 2010


Your Subtitle text

Historic Roslyn Washington Cemetery Cemetery

"Historical cemetery" means any burial site or grounds which contain within them human remains buried prior to November 11, 1889 - RCW 68.60.010

One of the most visible legacies left by any township is the grounds of historic cemeteries.  These sacred grounds tell the story of these  forgotten communities.

Website Builder