Glade Park Memorials and Obituaries

Tribute to Men Who Died at Half-tunnel Cave-in

Colorado National Monument

December 12, 1933


Half-tunnel blast

Half tunnel blast continues


These photos show the blasting of the half-tunnel. The cave-in occurred later, when they went in to clear the debris. These photos were taken with a box camera, by Helen (Seeley) McEwen, the sister of Ira and Harold Seeley and wife of Delbert (Mac) McEwen, who all lived on Glade Park and worked on the road.

From: "The Untold Story of the Rimrock Drive and The Men History Forgot" Compiled by Guy Carlucci


Headlines

"NUMBER BELIEVED TO HAVE BEEN KILLED ON RIMROCK ROAD ON MONUMENT PROJECT" 12-12-33

"MONUMENT CANON TO BE MEMORIAL TO NINE WHO DIED IN ROCKSLIDE ON RIMROCK ROAD TUES. AFTERNOON" 13-12-33

"INQUEST LATE TODAY TO FIND CAUSE OF TRAGEDY AMONG CIVIL WORKS MEN" 13-12-33

"MONUMENT CANON TRAGEDY UNAVOIDABLE, VERDICT OF CORONER'S JURY STATES" 14-12-33

"GREATER PRECAUTION TO PROTECT MEN ON RIMROCK ROAD ASKED BY EMPLOYEES" 16-12-33


The Making of the Monument

Men Who Became A Legend In Their Own Time



Author: Anonymous

Near to the town of Grand Junction,

Where two rivers mingle and mix,

Nine men have just perished most sadly,

While at work with their shovels and picks.

They were fighting the threat of starving,

For at last knew hunger and want

Their children were needing warm clothing,

And for food and good cloths there was naught.

Our government gave them employment,

At building a road through the hills,

At last they would have means to living,

Of buying and paying their bills.

Quite beautiful they were to have it,

That its fame might be told far and wide,

But alas, that the blasting shook and loosened,

A high wall of boulders to slide.

It crushed the last breath from their bodies,

Some ran backwards, to death they were thrown,

They were falling three hundred feet downward,

And were crushing themselves on the stones.

Quick was the sad work of rescue,

In peril they went on the run,

Digging the men from the rockfall,

Lifting them out in the sun.

Blasting the large rocks to move them,

Gently lifting the dead with their hands,

Out from that grave deep and cruel,

Out from the rocks and the sands.

Sad is the thought now of Christmas,

That more was a thought filled with cheer,

A paycheck at last was coming,

The first one from months on a year.

It was thought of with lightening spirits,

For was it not wanted for food,

For clothing, for rent, and for fuel,

Or to save the old home for the brood.

But now naught but gloom and great sorrow,

These poor peoples' hearts long must fill,

When they think of the husband and father,

Or the grandson who died on the hill.

Who will come not again to the children,

To cheer and to share in their play,

To fondle the babes and the small ones,

Or to help with the sums of the day.

Now they rest in their second entombment;

The monument stands for them now,

Telling the hosts through the ages,

Where they died and the when and the how.

Now there's no one at home but mother,

To help and encourage, and keep,

The wee ones will long look for daddy,

To come home and rock them to sleep.


The Men Who Died in the Half-tunnel Collapse

Leo Adams

Harley Beeson

Ed Carmichael

Robert Fuller

Robert Newton "Buster" Moorland Jr

John D Rupe

Clyde Van Loan

W.L. Wilson

Frank Winters

Jack Blasdel - the sole survivor who still paid a price

Died in other accidents during road construction:

Virgil Minor (Fruita)

William Liddle (Palisade)

Family members, friends or historians are encouraged to provide information and pictures for individual memorials. Please leave comments in the individual pages for each man.

We would like to thank Jack Murphy for his efforts to have these men remembered on the 80th Anniversary of the half-tunnel disaster, December 12, 2013.

Please thank Beth Carlucci for giving permission, through Jack Murphy, for us to use Guy's book in this tribute to the men who died in the half-tunnel cave in. Also let her know if you would like to see a reprint of the book.

The Untold Story of the Rimrock Drive and the Men History Forgot




"A Classic Western Quarrel: A History of the Road Controversy at Colo Nat Momument"