The Miner's Memorial Park in Jesse Owens State Park is a monument to the achievements of American Electric Power and its subsidiary Central Ohio Coal Company. One of the main attractions of this memorial is "Big Muskie’s Bucket.”
Big Muskie was the largest dragline ever built. The 220-cubic-yard, 240-ton bucket is a true engineering marvel. Due to the massive size of the machine, Big Muskie had to be built on site. Starting in 1967, more than 300 railcars and 250 trucks hauled the necessary pieces to Muskingum Mine. It took a team of engineers more than two years to erect Big Muskie. When completed, the massive machine stood 240-feet tall.
The behemoth digger worked by dragging its bucket along the ground to strip away layers of soil and rock that covered high-sulfur coal. Big Muskie could lift 325 tons of earth and rock in a single "bite". Between 1969 and 1991, Big Muskie ran 24 hours a day, 364 days a year, moving more than 483 million cubic yards of rock and earth.
In the early 1990s, demand for high sulfur coal had declined significantly. The immense cost of powering Big Muskie could no longer be justified, and it was shut down. There were efforts to have Big Muskie preserved and relocated, but the money could not be raised and in May 1999 Big Muskie was disassembled and recycled. All that remains is the bucket.
Today visitors can climb inside the bucket and imagine what it took to make such an enormous thing move.
The Wall of Honor is another highlight of the area, showcasing past and present employees of Central Ohio Coal Company, the AEP subsidiary that operated the Big Muskie. In addition to the memorial features found in this part of the park, visitors can enjoy a picnic area with a shelter and a scenic overlook of the area.