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Posts Tagged ‘Gem Mine’

Originally published in the Washington State Historical Society’s quarterly journal, Columbia, Spring 1994

By John Hanscom

Drawing of Franklin, circa 1887.

Bird’s-eye-view map of Franklin Mine and its environs, c. 1890. (Courtesy of Don Mason and the Black Diamond Historical Society.)

Henry Villard launched the Oregon Improvement Company in October 1880 as part of his grand scheme to dominate the development of the Pacific Northwest. By 1883 he had tied the area to the national economy with the completion of the Northern Pacific Railroad. Expansive development of the Pacific Northwest seemed assured.

To fuel Villard’s steamships and locomotives, a dependable coal supply was a high priority. By February 1881 the Oregon Improvement Company had acquired the Seattle Coal and Transportation Company, including the Newcastle Mine east of Lake Washington, at a cost of one million dollars. The Seattle and Walla Walla Railroad (renamed the Columbia and Puget Sound) was also purchased for over half a million dollars to transport coal from mine to Seattle bunkers. Villard hired John L. Howard under a five-year contract at $10,000 per year as general manager of the coal business. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, May 20, 1904

Pacific Coast Co. to put in third rail electric system soon

Change planned for Black Diamond, Gem, and Coal Creek properties

‘Bess’ the mule was employed at the Pacific Coast Co.'s Cannon mine in Franklin. In 1914 the Seattle Star exposed how mules at the mine were required to work 24 hours a day and never allowed outside. The Humane Society eventually ‘arrested’ Bess, releasing her for needed rest and forage outside the mine.

‘Bess’ the mule was employed at the Pacific Coast Co.’s Cannon mine in Franklin. In 1914 the Seattle Star exposed how mules at the mine were required to work 24 hours a day and never allowed outside. The Humane Society eventually ‘arrested’ Bess, releasing her for needed rest and forage.

The Pacific Coast Company will probably substitute a third rail electric system for mule trains in Black Diamond and Gem mines. The third rail system will also supplant the overhead trolley in the Coal Creek mines of the company.

The first change will be made at the Coal Creek mines, where a piece of road will be built by the company to demonstrate the value of the third rail system. It has been tried successfully in other mines and proved entirely satisfactory, but before the company takes up the plan as a substitute for other systems a thorough test will be made. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, May 13, 1904

General Manager Ford ends negotiations in southern city

J.C. Ford

J.C. Ford

Rich coal deposits on C. & P. S. Ry. transferred for $1,000,000

SAN FRANCISCO, Friday, May 13 — J.C. Ford, general manager of the Pacific Coast Company, has been in this city for some days negotiating with President H.H. Taylor for the purchase of the Black Diamond coal mines on Puget Sound.

This afternoon at the office of the Black Diamond Company a representative of The Times was told that the deal had been closed. The price named was $1,000,000. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, May 1, 1904

Deal the largest ever consummated in the State of Washington

Million dollars to be paid by purchasers for the fuel fields

The Black Diamond coal mines are to be sold to the Pacific Coast Company, $1,000,000 being paid for the properties. Negotiations for the acquirement of the coal lands and workings, which have been in progress for nearly four months, are practically completed and the formal transfer will be made within a few days.

This is the largest deal ever made in this state involving coal lands, and will give the Pacific Coast Company a total production of 2,500 tons daily. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, April 11, 1915

Union workers of state regard as climax of depression suspension of operations in Franklin property

By C.J. Stratton

Long-continued depression in Washington’s coal mining industry and consequent precarious employment for the union miners of the state reached what the mine workers regard as a climax last week when the famous Franklin mine, one of the oldest and largest in King County, was shut down, possibly never to reopen.

The increasing use of California oil as fuel by steamships and power plants and the growing use of gas as a domestic fuel, combined with increasing operating expenses, due to the depth of the workings, are said to have been the principal causes of the shutdown. (more…)

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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 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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