1954 March: The Federal Commodity Program Helped Feed the Miners and Their Families
After the Union Pacific Coal Company Coal Mines in Hanna Close
Page by Bob Leathers with contribution from the Hanna Basin Museum and Bobbie Gaskell
Federal Commodity Program
January 14, 1953 marked the beginning of the end for the Union Pacific Coal Company mining operations in Hanna when about 100 miners were fired. February 26, 1954 was the end when the Hanna 4-A mine shut down permanently and about three hundred miners were fired. The firing of the miners brought on difficult times for the miners and their families.Many became destitute with no income.
Hanna Closing to Be Last. I.N. Bayless, president of the Union Pacific Coal company, advises that due to the reduced consumption of coal by the railroad and the lack of other markets, it is necessary that we close the Hanna 4-A mine indefinitely effective March 1, 1954. (Newspaper Name Unknown, Hanna, 1954).
With a large number of miners suddenly unemployed, the lack of income to buy food became a critical issue. According to the Hanna Democratic Women's Club documents printed below, the Club in early March,1954, in cooperation with Lester C. Hunt, Wyoming's United States Senator, was successful in bringing the Federal Commodity Program to Hanna. The program assisted the needy unemployed Hanna miners and their families with food items until other employment could be found. In the beginning the program consisted of beans and potatoes, but later expanded to canned meats, flour, rice and other federal surplus food items as they became available. The program proved to be extremely beneficial and lasted for several years.