The Cleveland Water Tunnel Project called for laborers to dig miles of tunnels underneath Lake Erie from work platforms known as “cribs”. Skilled men from many nationalities, including but not limited to Italians, Irish, and Bohemian immigrants, answered the call quickly during a time of great need for any kind of work. The dangers of the job were easily ignored by the laborers who were desperate for any work. These dangers included work halting due to cave-ins, floods, and natural gas strikes. The Cleveland Water Tunnel Project lasted three decades but one night was the worst night of this project. July 24th, 1916.
Tunnel to Hell – The Lake Erie Tunnel Disasters – Tales of Heroism and Tragedy details the worst night for the tunnel men on the Cleveland Water Tunnel Project. On this night, a natural gas pocket was struck, filling the cave with a deadly gas that eventually ignited, killing all tunnel men in the vicinity. Cleveland officials, who were reeling from the disaster, quickly sent in two rescue teams – both of which perished in the tunnel. Garrett A. Morgan, a brave African-American inventor, had just patented a new type of breathing mask took up the challenge of saving the lives of the men in the tunnel. Morgan entered the tunnel, traversed the treacherous terrain and brought some men to safety. Unfortunately, his heroism was denied recognition due to his being a black man.
Scott’s words with Dumm’s artwork aims to correct this horribly misguided tale of events and bring light to Garrett’s accomplishments, heroism, and selfless acts for his fellow man. This graphic novel is a hybrid work that pulls from both historical fiction and entertaining storytelling to weave a tale that is believable at a deep down uncomfortable level. Scott takes the reader on a trek through hope, tragedy, and confusion because of skin color along the way bringing to light the details the history books ignore.
Tunnel to Hell – The Lake Erie Tunnel Disasters – Tales of Heroism and Tragedy is the inaugural publication for EOI Media Press Inc. Book availability can be found at most major book seller outlets.
About Scott MacGregor:
MacGregor has been active for over three decades in his home city of Cleveland, Ohio, as a photographer and writer of graphic stories. In 2012, MacGregor was awarded the prestigious Creative Workforce Fellowship by Cuyahoga Arts and Culture for his outlined presentation for “Tunnel to Hell”. He has also gained popularity for his photographic studies of Ireland. MacGregor’s great-grandfather, an Irish immigrant, served as a foreman on the Cleveland Water Tunnel projects.
About Gary Dumm:
Dumm is recognized as one of Cleveland’s premiere graphic illustrators having lent his talents to hundreds of comic books, comic strips, and graphic novels in many capacities including solo artist and collaborating with others. Dumm is best known for his 30 year ground breaking collaboration with the late Harvey Pekar on scores of books under the sole title, “American Splendor” and the Oscar nominated film based on those works.
For the original news story, please visit https://pressreleasejet.com/news/graphic-novel-to-focus-on-1916-cleveland-water-tunnel-tragedy.html.
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