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Archive for November 24th, 2014

Originally published in Eastsideweek, November 24, 1993

By David B. Buerge

Black lung, long hours, and stinking low pay: While the coal-mining business boomed on the Eastside, the underground life was a bust

Coal Creek Mine

On a mid-August night in 1929, residents of Coal Creek, west of Issaquah, watched a red glow fill the northern sky. As the ruddy light shifted and flared, miners about to go down for the graveyard shift deep in the Primrose Mine wondered aloud if Kirkland might be on fire.

But the lift bringing them back out of the mine at 7:30 that morning was more than a mile away from the entrance they’d used the night before. It was then they realized that the fire was much closer than Kirkland. They had their first look at the smoking timbers of the Pacific Coast Coal Co.’s coal bunkers and washery, which had tumbled in a charred ruin on the railroad tracks to Seattle.

Their hearts sank. (more…)

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