History 430: Theory and Practice

Document Type

Undergraduate Research

Publication Date

Spring 5-12-2011


Mining was one of the most prominent industries in the Tri-State District from the 1880s through the 1950s. This time period was very instrumental to the development of the Tri-State region of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri. Mining offered employment to many in the area, and mining camps would seemingly spring up overnight in some case. There is a very good case made that work in the mines was extremely hazardous to one's health. Falling rocks, working with explosives, and working in a dusty, damp area were all a part of a miner's day. Prior to government legislation, men could have been subject to working in these conditions without the most basic first-aid supplies being present. Disease was common among miners because their low wages translated into not having proper food, clothing, or housing. Sanitation was often poor or non-existent. All men working in a mining camp could have been subject to sharing the same bathroom, locker room. Disease spread easily through the mining camps. Government involvement and regulation became essential for the survival of the mines and those who operated in them. Government policy is responsible for doing good and bad things for the mining industry. The legislation passed by the state mining departments is evidence of the poor working conditions that miners were subjected to on a daily basis, and working conditions did improve for miners. The neglect of the national government to pass legislation protecting the mining industry from cheap imported lead and zinc, eventually led to the closing of mines in the Tri-State district.