Frontier No. 1 Mine Victims Remembered 100 Years Later

Image of the entrance of the Frontier Number 1 Mine after the explosion.
The entrance of the Frontier No. 1 Mine after the explosion.


On August 14, 1923, the Wyoming towns of Kemmerer and Frontier the devastating news that an explosion occurred inside the nearby Frontier No. 1 Mine, killing 99 miners. As always happens, the tragedy left children, wives, and mothers left behind to deal with the aftermath.   

That fateful morning, 136 men reported to the mine for their shift.  That was only half of the miners who would have normally reported to work; newspapers reported that other half took a holiday that day.  At approximately 8:30 a.m., a terrible explosion ripped through the mine. Only 36 miners came out alive.  

Immediately following the 1923 explosion, the United Mine Workers of America sent a donation of $10,000 to the families of the miners to help them rebuild their lives. But the production of coal in Kemmerer never stopped.  

“It is ironic that members of Local Union 1307 are still producing coal on the same mountain range as the Frontier Mine,” said International District 22 Vice President Mike Dalpiaz at the memorial service recognizing the 100th anniversary of the tragedy. “It is the oldest active working local union in the UMWA.  Because of the sacrifices the miners made back in 1923, safety laws have improved over the last century.   

“We will never forget our fallen brothers who perished that day,” Dalpiaz said. “The UMWA was there for the families when this terrible explosion occurred, and we are still here today honoring the sacrifices those miners and the generations who came after them made to provide a better life for their families.  No one should ever have to go to work and wonder if they are going to return home to their loved ones.


Image of members of Local Union 1307 performed a gun salute.
Members of Local Union 1307 performed a gun salute during the ceremony.


“Ninety-nine men went to work that day and never returned home to their families,” said President Roberts. “ Imagine a community that had such a small population in these small nearby towns and 99 were killed in an instant.  This is just one of countless tragedies in our nation’s coal mines throughout history,”  

“The union has fought with blood, sweat, and tears for safer mining conditions for decades, and we will never stop fighting,” Roberts said. “I have often said to the families who have fallen victim to these terrible tragedies that their loved ones did not die in vain because every coal miner working in America today enjoys the benefits of safer and healthier workplaces because of the brave men and women who have lost their lives.” 

Eighty-three of the 99 men who died in the explosion are buried in the Kemmerer cemetery.  During the commemoration ceremony, each of the graves had a flower placed on it, the National Anthem was sung and a flag ceremony was held by American Legion local veterans, most of whom are Local Union 1307 members.  A 21-gun salute was performed before a prayer was said and each of the names of the 99 miners who died were read aloud.  Per tradition,  the UMWA placed evergreens on each of the graves in honor of the fallen miners.  

“To the family and friends of our deceased brothers, we send our heartfelt sympathy in this sad hour of affliction and bid them look to God for His tender mercy, for He alone can give them consolation,” Dalpiaz recited from the UMWA Burial Service during the evergreen ceremony.  “And now, our fellow workers, we bid thee a tender and loving farewell.”


Image of International District 22 Vice President Mike Dalpiaz speaking.
Members of Local Union 1307 Executive Board and International District 22 Vice President Mike Dalpiaz honored the victims of the 1923 explosion.


Victims of the Frontier No. 1 Mine Explosion.

Alego, Angelo

Alego, Joseph

Andreatta, Joe

Andreatta, Louis

Baba, K

Bebber, A

Bebber, E

Berta, George

Brall, Tony

Cappelli, W. E

Castagno, John

Cavecchio, Livio

Christensen, Carl

Christian, John

Citerio, Mike

Coli, John

Coli, V

Desanti, Enrico

Dodorico, Felix

Dodorico, Oswaldo

Dujinik, Paul

Erickson, Eino

Erikson, Matti

Essman, George

Eynon, Frank

Faustino, Val

Fantino, Marco

Forsman, Emil

Fortunato, D

Georges, John

Girardelli, Ettore

Grutkoski, John

Hagi, C

Hagi, T

Hasoda, M

Hill, Mike

Hobara, H

Itow, K

Jarvie, August Sr

Kanada, T

Kangas, Henry

Kare, Eino

Kawahara, K

Kawase, S

Kiddy, John

Kirino, K

Kojima, K

Kozaki, I

Kovach, Joe

Kusnirik, Mike

Loddo, Fred

Lopez, Juan

Lupcho, George

Lupcho, Andrew

Lupcho, John

Magnino, John

Magnino, Mark

Martini, Frank

Martin, John

Masaki, S

Mendini, Crillo

Metsala, Hjalmar

Metsala, Matt

Mikami, S

Miura, F

Motoh, Joe

Menapace, Ottilio

Navarro, F.T

Oyama, S.,

Palavar, Masu

Palmyra, Pretari

Pellegrini, Carl

Pernice, Marion

Pierone, John

Pinamonti, S

Rankin, Thomas R

Roberts, Isaac

Roberts, Louis

Roberts, Thomas

Rodriguez, Joe

Rollo, Joe

Sanchez, Tom

Sager, John Sr

Sager, John Jr

Savant, John

Smith, Nick

Takasugi, G

Tinpanio, Louis

Toresani, Louis

Trujillo, Robert

Valeriono, Valle

Vito, Tony

Wainwright, Joe Sr

Wainwright, Joe, Jr

Walton, J. A.

Warhol, Paul

Wormer, George

Zumbrennen, John A

Zumbrennen, John