Hawks Nest/ Union Carbide Tour
With 12,000 workers in the state at its peak in the 1940s, Union Carbide was once the largest employer in West Virginia. The prosperity enjoyed by the company, headquartered in South Charleston, brought jobs and investment to the Kanawha Valley--but also a checkered safety record that resulted in ecological catastrophes and human tragedy. The Hawks Nest Tunnel Disaster of the 1930s, in which the company ignored industrial safety standards, failed to issue proper respiratory equipment, and killed more than 400 workers employed at the Tunnel during its construction, is the worst industrial "accident" in the United States, the legacy of which was much suppressed by the company and West Virginia Governor Homer Holt, who later became an attorney for Carbide. This driving tour takes visitors to some of the flashpoints of the Hawks Nest Tragedy, and eventually to the site of the former Union Carbide headquarters in South Charleston.