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Posts Tagged ‘Franklin #12’

Originally published in the Pacific Coast Bulletin, March 29, 1922

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

George Watkin Evans (1876-1951), 1924 Courtesy Seattle and Environs

George Watkin Evans, 1924

Pacosco, as it is now called, was formerly Franklin. This district was first opened on the banks of Green River on the McKay Coal Seam about 1885. The railroad was extended from Black Diamond in order to develop this coal area.

Originally, Franklin Mine was opened by a drift driven on the McKay Coal at bunker level above the old railroad grade. Later a water level gangway was driven from the edge of Green River and the coal hoisted up an incline on the surface and dumped over the same tipple as that from the upper level. Later a slope was sunk on another bed which underlies the McKay and all of the coal below the original bunker level was hauled through this opening.

Numerous slopes were sunk at Franklin and also one shaft was developed. Most of the coal was mined from the McKay Bed but some was also mined from two underlying beds, the Number Twelve and the Number Ten. (more…)

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Originally published in the BDHS Bulletin, Summer 2015

By William Kombol

Cover photo of Franklin Hot Springs by R. Curnow, circa 1984 cropped from the cover page of “Everyone’s Guide to Hot Springs of Western Washington: A complete guide to over 250 Hot Springs and Soda Pop Springs” by Jesse W. Love, copyright 1985 by Jesse W. Love, published by Kaleidoscope Publications, Inc. Bellevue, WA 98005.

Cover photo of Franklin Hot Springs by R. Curnow, circa 1984, cropped from the cover page of “Everyone’s Guide to Hot Springs of Western Washington: A complete guide to over 250 Hot Springs and Soda Pop Springs,” by Jesse W. Love, copyright 1985 by Jesse W. Love, published by Kaleidoscope Publications, Inc. Bellevue, WA 98005.

The Franklin #12 underground coal mine began operations in the mid-1950s. It operated on the Franklin No. 12 coal seam, sometimes known as the Fulton seam. There are seventeen coal seams in the Franklin series, the most famous of which was the No. 14, better known as the McKay. Another heavily mined seam was the No. 14 known as the Gem.

Most of the mining at Franklin was done on the Black Diamond west side of the Green River. However, the eastern extension of the Franklin #12 mine was accessed from a log bridge across the Green River then driven southeast all the way under the Enumclaw-Franklin Road, a total of about 4,000 feet. (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 Tacoma News Tribune, ca. 1972-73

By Noelle Fingerson, News Tribune correspondent

BLACK DIAMOND — As one approaches the denuded area, small wispy puffs of smoke can be seen drifting skyward from the porous ground. Noticeably absent from the scene, however, are the charcoaled tree trunks usually associated with forest fires. This was the scene of a fire all right but not the kind with which Washingtonians are familiar. (more…)

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Originally published in the BDHS newsletter, January 2008

By Frank Hammock

Jones Lake Cinder Removal Project, June 1990 (Courtesy of Bill Kombol, Palmer Coking Co.)

Jones Lake Cinder Removal Project, June 1990 (Courtesy of Bill Kombol, Palmer Coking Co.)

Stories have a way of shaping, through knowledge and experience, the journeys of our past from the people who share them. We all have stories to tell, in one form or another, and from these stories we gain a better understanding of who we are, and where we are going. Thus, the process we call life, a time of transition and change, is slowly revealed in all its intricacies and detail. This story is no exception.

Let’s step back in time and see a little of Black Diamond’s history through the eyes of a man who was willing to share his knowledge and the memories of his life, from the era in which he lived.

Mr. Arthur “Archie” Walter Eltz was born on September 30, 1915, at 8 a.m. in Butlerville, Salt Lake County, Utah. His parents, Frank Eltz and Annie Zadnick, both hailed from Germany. (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 March 7 and April 4, 2020. 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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