Archive for March 5th, 2016

Originally published in the BDHS Bulletin, Winter 2016

By William Kombol


Loaded train in Franklin, 1902

The town of Franklin was developed for coal mining and operated as a company town from around 1885 to 1922. At its peak there were approximately 1,100 people living and working in Franklin. The town’s beginning and purpose were linked to 50-million-year-old coal seams exposed along the deep gorge cut through bedrock.

Explorers discovered the coal while traveling through the Green River Gorge in the early 1880s leading to the founding of nearby Black Diamond. The Columbia & Puget Sound Railroad was extended from Renton to Franklin in 1885 allowing coal production to commence and the town to develop. The town was named for the famed American patriot, Benjamin Franklin. (more…)

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