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Posts Tagged ‘Durham Mine’

Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, October 17, 2006

By Barbara Nilson

Durham coal mine, August 1919 (Special Collections, University of Washington Libraries). This photo depicts the mine tipple and coal bunkers at the town of Durham in 1919, shortly before its acquisition by Morris Brother Coal Mining Company Inc. The Durham Colliery Company sold the entire town to Morris Brothers in 1922. This photo was shot from a perch on a coal slag pile that still exists to this day, looking across the Kanaskat-Kangley Road and the railroad tracks visible in the lower foreground. (Photo from Bill Kombol’s collection, Palmer Coking Coal Company.)

Durham coal mine, August 1919 (Special Collections, University of Washington Libraries). This photo depicts the mine tipple and coal bunkers at the town of Durham in 1919, shortly before its acquisition by Morris Brothers Coal Mining Company Inc. The Durham Colliery Company sold the entire town to Morris Brothers in 1922. This photo was shot from a perch on a coal slag pile that still exists to this day, looking across the Kanaskat-Kangley Road and the railroad tracks visible in the lower foreground. (Photo from Bill Kombol’s collection, Palmer Coking Coal Company.)

There is nothing left of the mining town of Durham, once located in southeast King County near the town of Selleck, but it still exists in the minds of Valleyites who grew up there.

The Durham Colliery (English for coal mines and its buildings) was originally organized by Peter Kirk in 1886 to supply coal for the projected Kirkland steel mill. Durham was named for a town in Kirk’s native north England. Production was started in 1888 but coal was only mined until 1889. In 1910, the mines were started again and coal was produced throughout WWI. The mines and associated mining facilities, i.e. hotel, bunkers and company houses, were sold as one unit to the Morris brothers. (more…)

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Originally published in the Globe News, July 4, 1976

By Bill Smull

Torn photograph shows train, workers at old Durham Mine

Torn photograph shows train, workers at old Durham Mine

Steve Gustin sort of gets a kick out of people asking him where he’s from.

“I always say, ‘Elkcoal.’ And they always ask, ‘Where’s that?’ And I tell them, ‘Right across the road from Durham.’”

The confusion of those unfortunate newcomers who run into Steve Gustin can be excused; there are not a few long-time King County residents who aren’t even aware of the existence of Elkcoal, much less the long-abandoned mining community of Durham which once perched precariously on a hillside a few hundred yards from the ancient filling station and grocery owned by Steve and his wife, Vernalee.

The Elk and Durham mines both are long abandoned, leaving a few piles of rotting planks and beams and a huge pile of brush-choked slag as their only visible memorials. Most of the people—and even some of the houses—have scattered throughout the county. But even though all traces of mining activity have disappeared beneath second-growth forest, some old miners remain to remember the years of sweat and toil—and occasional terror—beneath the Cascade foothills. (more…)

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