In 1930, the town of Millfield, in Ohio, was shaken by a devastating coal mine explosion, considered the worst mine disaster in the history of the state to date and which killed 82 people.
The Sunday Creek Coal company operated mines all over the Hocking Hills region. The Millfield site was the hub of hundreds of shafts, one of which blew up on Nov. 5, killing workers and also some of the firm’s top executives, who were there to inspect new safety equipment.
A few hours later, 19 miners were found alive three miles (about 5 km) from the main shaft. The disaster had the effect of pressuring Ohio’s lawmakers to improve mine safety regulations in 1931, but left emotional and economic scars that can still be seen today.
In a moving photo essay published on ViewFind, a platform for immersive, visual storytelling, Chicago-based documentary photographer and video producer Brooke Herbert Hayes documented Millfield’s current struggles, but also the resiliency of those who chose to stay and reassemble their lives from the ground up.
She shared a few images with MINING.com. You can take a look at the whole gallery here.