Milford Mine Memorial Park
Site HistoryMilford Mine Memorial Park is the site of Minnesota's worst mining disaster. This is the site on the Cuyuna Iron Range where 41 miners lost their lives on February 5, 1924. On that fateful day, around 3:30 in the afternoon, a mine shaft collapsed allowing a flood of water and mud to fill an underground network of tunnels claiming the lives of 41 men. The 200-foot Milford Mine had multiple levels with 1 shaft leading to the surface. Only 7 men made it to the surface alive.
Location of Park
Preserving the Past
The Milford Mine Memorial Park project is a park that is dedicated to the 41 miners. Transforming this natural and man-made habitat into a recreation area to be enjoyed by area residents and visitors is a humble attempt to preserve the memory of those who gave their lives to pursue the American dream and provide for their families. Families of this and future generations will have this park as a place of reflection, recreation, and community.
In 2007, the Crow Wing County Board of Commissioners were presented with a concept plan for the park that listed a multi-year project with multiple phases. The goal was to identify the historic site, create walking paths and provide for outdoor recreation opportunities. Later phases were identified with the potential to create a main street walk exposing the building foundations near the mine that still exist on the site and provide photos to help visitors connect with the past. The plan includes walking paths near the main mine shaft with plans to identify the 41 miners along the Memorial Walk for each of the miners who lost their lives in the mine collapse.
On March 27, 2007, the Crow Wing County Board agreed by resolution to provide matching funds for this project. $100,000 came from an Iron Range Resources grant. On February 24, 2009 the board approved an additional $50,000 in matching funds, demonstrating the county's commitment to this important project.
In the fall of 2010, Phase 1 was developed and constructed by Holmvig Excavating which included improved public access, parking areas and a walking path along the north end of Milford Lake using the grant and matching funds from Crow Wing County.
October 2012, portions of Phase II were developed and constructed by Hy-Tec Construction of Brainerd using dedicated park development funds. Construction and installation included a main picnic shelter, benches, picnic tables, bicycle rack and cooking grills. Landscape trees were planted and a park entrance sign was designed and installed.
June of 2013 included installation of a retaining wall and landscaping around the picnic shelter.
In early 2016, construction began on the "over-the-water" boardwalk. With the use of a Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Legacy grant of $279,000 and dedicated County recreation funds, the 450 foot long boardwalk, 3,500 lineal feet of interpretive trails, 3 large kiosks, Memorial Wall and interpretive sign installations were completed in October of 2016.
In 2017, additional items constructed included a restroom facility, small picnic shelter near the Memorial Wall and west canoe launching/fishing platform. Additional funding was provided using a $60,000 Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Legacy grant and additional county recreation funds. These last items completed Phase 3 of the park development project.
The Milford Mine was considered for national nomination in February 2011. The National Park Service designated the mine as a historic place in August 2011. The registration form and attached information is available for public viewing. View pictures of the past and present mine area. Read about the tragic event in a 4 part series. 90th Anniversary of the Milford Mine Tragedy
Milford Mine Memorial Park achieves Regional Designation from the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission.
- Song by Dave Peterson of Milford Mine Disaster
- Milford Mine Park - Lakeland News - October 23, 2012
- 90th Anniversary Event - Brainerd Dispatch News Video - February 5, 2014
- 90th Anniversary Event - Lakeland News Video - February 5, 2014
- Milford Mine Park - Lakeland News - October 20, 2016
- Lakeland News - 2017 Grand Opening
- MPR Report - Dan Kraker
- Brainerd Dispatch - 2017 Grand Opening
- Widseth Smith Nolting (WSN) Video
Archaeological Survey Work
Memorial Wall and Shelter
Parking Area and Restroom
West Lakeside Platform
East Canoe Launch Platform
View from Boardwalk
Side view of main picnic shelter
Picnic Shelter at Milford Mine Memorial Park
Milford Mine Memorial Park Entrance Sign
Lake view at entrance of park
Lake view from the main shelter
Entering on the boardwalk
Interpretive Information Display
Lakeside picnic site
Interpretive sign on the boardwalk
Machine Shop historic foundation on interpretive trails
Timber Shaft historic foundation along interpretive trails