Bert and Marie Russell offer readers grassroots cultural history in this collection of interviews with ordinary people, who often lived extraordinary lives, in the mining district and neighboring areas of north Idaho. Here are stories of miners who worked hand-in-hand with death - an all too frequent visitor summoned by rock bursts, fires, accidents, or the painful, life-shortening disease, silicosis. Readers will find a wealth of information about how certain processes were performed: how ice was cut, stored, and sold for refrigeration; how to walk on floating logs and how to roll them (birling) in competitions; how various jobs in the mines were performed; or how logging crews were fed and their food prepared. Here too are details about working conditions: how early miners were totally unprotected from particulates that damaged their lungs: how they emerged from the hot mines in wet clothes that froze in the winter chill; how lack of safety regulations put their lives in danger; how the prospect of unionization brought turmoil to the community; and how young children performed the work of adults for minimal pay.
Together, Bert and Marie Russell collected interviews, information and photos from old-timers over many years. Rock Burst is one of six books produced by the couple. Calked Boots, Hardships and Happy Times, North Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River, Swiftwater People and The Sawdust Dream all reflect the lives of working men and women in the Coeur d'Alene region.
Bert was born in Harrison, Idaho and worked as a logger, river driver, shipyard electrician, timber cruiser, rancher and writer. Bert passed away in 1997. Marie continued to keep the stories told by these pioneers alive by making the books available to the public. Marie donated the books she had on hand to the Museum of North Idaho. Marie died Dec. 2014.
"We Were Miners Then"
PART ONE Working in the Mining District
John Appleberg with Arthur Norlen Otto Starke Canyon Silver Story Calin Bates Vina Grosberg John Dennis Felix Legault Raleigh Hughes Maidell Clemets Sylvan Agarla Palmer "Polly" Anderson Betty nd Ernie Damiano Charles and Teg Addington Elanor and Bill Lamb Onni Rantanen
PART TWO . . .and Down the Valley Irv and Ruth Hanson Frances Hunt Ruth Hoerschgen Stanley Cochrane Jay Higbee Henry Buchanan Maggie Nearing Kindsvater Henry Morin
Appendices News Stories Joe Hill Labor-Mine owner Strife of 1892 and 1899 Mines Mentioned in Rock Burst Glossary Bibliography