April 01, 2009

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By Kathryn Kopchik

LEWISBURG, Pa.  — Kenneth Wolensky will give the talk, "The Knox Mine Disaster and the Legacy of Mining in the Susquehanna Valley," on Tuesday, April 7, at 7 p.m. in the Smith Library of the Vaughan Literature Building at Bucknell University.

The talk, which is free and open to the public, is part of the University's Focus Year series, "Cultures at the Confluence: Environmental Humanities and the Susquehanna Valley."

Wolensky, a historian with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, will discuss the Knox Mine disaster with responder Diana Di Stefano, assistant professor of history and environmental studies at Bucknell.

Disaster near Pittston
The Knox Mine disaster occurred on Jan. 22, 1959, when the river waters broke through into the River Slope Mine at Port Griffith near Pittston, Pa. The resulting hole, estimated at 150 feet in diameter, caused an icy whirlpool.

For three days, officials worked to close the hole in the riverbed by dumping in railcars, railroad ties, bales of hay and tons of clay and rock. Twelve miners died and 10 people were indicted on a variety of charges. The accident ended most mining in the area.

'Visions of the Susquehanna' forum
The next event in the Focus Year series is a forum scheduled for Thursday, April 23, from noon to 1:30 p.m. in the Traditional Reading Room of the Bertrand Library.

The forum, "Visions of the Susquehanna," will include Mary Hirst, Ole Bull State Park, who will discuss Ole Bull's Oleana; and Bucknell faculty members Carmen Gillespie, who will discuss Toni Morrison; Steve Jordan, who will discuss Joseph Smith; Michael Payne, who will discuss Joseph Priestley; and Alf Siewers, who will discuss James Fenimore and Susan Cooper; as well as Ghislaine McDayter and Katherine Faull as moderator and responder.

Contact: Division of Communications