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Posts Tagged ‘#12 Fulton’

Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, March 3, 2015

By Bill Kombol

pcc332greenrivergorgeThe Green River Gorge is a wonderful geological feature to behold. Through millennia, the river has cut a channel deep into the bedrock of the Puget formation. This mammoth incision into the bowels of the earth allowed early explorers to easily find the coal seams which occurred along the Green River Gorge shown here near the ghost town of Franklin. (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, February 25, 2014

By Bill Kombol

This remarkable photo shows an excavated coal seam in the Franklin Hill area east of Black Diamond during the late 1940s.

This remarkable photo shows an excavated coal seam in the Franklin Hill area east of Black Diamond during the late 1940s.

Franklin was a coal mining town founded in 1885 near the Green River Gorge. Mining progressed rapidly following extension of the Columbia & Puget Sound Railroad through Maple Valley, past Black Diamond, and to this remote town site.

Underground mining continued on a large scale until depressed coal prices at the end of World War I caused the last significant mine in Franklin to shut down. Most residents left though a few remained behind by farming or traveling to jobs elsewhere. During World War II the Franklin No. 7 mine reopened, but closed right after the war.

Using surplus heavy equipment from the war, a new breed of miners began surface coal extraction as shown in this photo, the Franklin #12, better known as the Fulton seam, was mined from the surface over 100 feet deep. The two cables near the top of the photo were used to operate a drag line which pulled loose coal from where the lone miner is standing below.

The Fulton seam, like most in the series of seventeen Franklin coal seams, dipped at a significant angle which complicated mining efforts.

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Originally published in the Pacific Coast Bulletin, March 8, 1922

By Geo. Watkin Evans, consulting coal mining engineer, Seattle

Black Diamond-area mines

This hand drawn map from the article, “Black Diamond-area mines,” was published in the August 1987 issue of the BDHS newsletter. (See http://wp.me/pDbRj-J9.)

We are now ready to take up the Black Diamond area of the coal fields of the State of Washington. The Black Diamond area was opened at a much earlier date than the Ravensdale area.

The old Columbia & Puget Sound Railroad, now the Pacific Coast Railway, which has played such an important part in the early development of Seattle and vicinity, was extended from Renton up the Cedar River Valley, thence across the gravel plains in the neighborhood of Lake Wilderness to what is now Black Diamond.

Mine No. 14, Black Diamond, was opened in 1884 by the Black Diamond Coal Company, which was originally incorporated in California, and operated a mine at Mount Diablo. This company was composed of such well-known persons as Alvinza Hayward, P.B. Cornwall, and Morgan Morgans. (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, May 29, 2007

By Bill Kombol

At the end of World War II, surplus military earth moving equipment began to make its way into the mining industry.

While almost all coal mining prior to this time was done throngh underground methods, the introduction of large earthmovers such as bulldozers and diesel powered shovels allowed coal seams that had an accessible surface outcrop to be mined. (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, June 3, 2008

TopworksBy Bill Kombol

This is a view of the newly installed overhead track, bunkers, and topworks of the Franklin No. 1 coal mine in Franklin, Washington, circa 1902.

The small figures in lower left corner are two men walking along the tracks of the Columbia & Puget Sound Railroad.

In the early days of coal mining it was important to bring the coal out of the mine and get it to a sufficient height so as to allow gravity to be an important tool in the subsequent processing of the coal.

This tipple, as it was called, allowed coal to be brought out of the mine in coal cars to the top of the bunkers. There, the coal would be dumped into picking tables and vibrating screens which sorted the coal into different sizes for market. Then the sorted coal would be gravity conveyed to hoppers for temporary storage before being loaded onto the open gondola rail cars of the day.

The No. 1 mine operated on the Fulton coal seam as well as several others, and was one of the most productive coal mines in Franklin. Most of the coal from the Franklin mines of the late 1890s and early 1900s would have traveled the tracks of the Columbia & Puget Sound through Black Diamond, Maple Valley, and Renton on the way to coal markets in Seattle.

Photo by Curtis & Romans – negative number 1052, courtesy of Washington State Historical Society, Tacoma.

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, April 15, 2008

Jack Morris, left and John H. Morris, center, examine a front shovel that is shown excavating the uncovered Franklin #12 coal seam. Pete Zavattero stands to the right.

Jack Morris, left and John H. Morris, center, examine a front shovel that is shown excavating the uncovered Franklin #12 coal seam. Pete Zavattero stands to the right.

By Bill Kombol

This photo shows operations of the Fulton surface coal mine on Franklin hill in May 1950.

The mine was located on a hillside above the Green River Gorge and above the old town of Franklin.

In the photo, Jack Morris, left and John H. Morris, center, examine a front shovel that is shown excavating the uncovered Franklin #12 coal seam. Pete Zavattero stands to the right.

At the completion of surface mining, the site eventually returned to a forested condition with maple, alder, cottonwood and some scattered conifer seeding this otherwise unreclaimed mine.

In the fall of 2007 the property was logged of the timber that had grown over the past 57 years, and in early March 2008, over 8,000 Douglas fir seedlings were planted.

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Drawing of Franklin, circa 1887.

Drawing of Franklin, circa 1887.

By Chuck Holtz

Originally published in the BDHS newsletter, January 1977/April 1995

This article, about the Franklin mines, is the second part of articles about the coal mines in our area. The first article was published in the Feb. 1995 issue. (more…)

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If you’d like to learn more about the coal mining town of Franklin during its peak, 1885 until 1919, we’ve got you covered. Here you’ll find a list of web resources (and a couple of books and a thesis, too) that will quickly get you up to speed.

Top works of the Franklin mine.

Top works of the Franklin mine.

The next Franklin tours are tentatively scheduled for 2021. Come to the Black Diamond Museum at noon to sign up and for orientation. We’ll be leaving at 10 a.m. for Franklin (about three miles). A $5 donation per adult is suggested. Seniors, veterans, and children under 12 are free.

Bring boots, an umbrella, and an imagination. (more…)

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