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Posts Tagged ‘Morris Bros. Coal Mining’

Originally published in Carbon River Heritage newsletter, July 1986

by Nancy Irene Hall

James L. Brummett, ex-Coast Guard officer-turned trapper, fisherman, and hunter. Jim posing with some of his furs on the dock of his Double Rainbow Lake Resort located just 2 miles east of Wilkeson on the Quinnon exit. (Photo by Nancy Irene Hall.)

James L. Brummett, ex-Coast Guard officer-turned trapper, fisherman, and hunter. Jim posing with some of his furs on the dock of his Double Rainbow Lake Resort located just 2 miles east of Wilkeson on the Quinnon exit. (Photo by Nancy Irene Hall.)

The site of the old coal mine town once called South Willis lies just a few miles east of Wilkeson on the Quinnion exit. It is now the home of Double Rainbow Resort, a 25-acre resort run by James L. Brummett. This land has seen many changes since its coal mining days.

It was named after the Northern Pacific Railroad’s young geologist Bailey Willis, who did the coal explorations for their Northern Transcontinental Survey in 1881–1884. After his explorations he gave his account of the coal in the Wilkeson, South Willis, Carbonado area in a paper entitled “Report of the Coal Fields of Washington Territory.” (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, February 23, 2010

By Bill Kombol

‘Welsh’ Bill Morris, Jackie Warren, and Jim Thomas (left to right) are shown here in Palmer, Washington, in the early 1940s. Both coal miners came to the U.S. from Wales in 1927-28 to work at the Durham mine of the Morris Brothers Coal Mining Company. Both were immigrants sponsored by their American relative, George Morris.

George was a Welsh immigrant who came to America in 1880, eventually establishing his family and children as successful coal miners and livery stable owners in the mining town of Wilkeson. George Morris was later part-owner of the Durham coal mine.

Welsh immigration to the U.S. began in earnest in 1850s, with a peak decade during the 1890 when over 100,000 arrived. The 1920s saw continued Welsh immigration as coal mining in Wales fell at the conclusion of World War I. (more…)

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Originally published in the Enumclaw Eagle, August 31, 1988

Annual picnic source of stories of coal, men

By Gordon Koestler

Retired miners John Streepy (left) and George Savicke shared a tale or two. (Eagle photo by Gordon Koestler.)

Retired miners John Streepy (left) and George Savicke shared a tale or two. (Eagle photo by Gordon Koestler.)

Deep within the spine of the Cascade Mountains, on either side of the summit, lie still-large coal reserves. Over the past 100 or so years, men like John Costanich, John Streepy, and George Savicke, supported by women like Mary Mihelich, have pulled the black diamonds out of mines near places like Wilkeson, Palmer, Roslyn, Carbonado, Cle Elum and, yes, Black Diamond.

Saturday, such men and women met to celebrate and remember that lifestyle at the annual Miners’ Picnic, conducted at a private park at the base of the Green River Gorge. Such luminaries as former U.S. Sen. Slade Gordon, now campaigning to return to the Senate, and Renton area state Rep. Mike Patrick thought enough of the Miners’ Picnic to attend the afternoon gathering, and King County Executive Tim Hill, 8th District Congressman Rod Chandler, and 31st District Rep. Ernie Crane were scheduled to put in appearances as well. (more…)

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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 Enumclaw Courier, August 14, 1930

Enumclaw districtAside from logging and farming, coal mining is undoubtedly one of the oldest of commercial industries in the state of Washington, millions of dollars worth of this fuel has been removed from the land in this section of the state during the past fifty years.

During the past few years the coal mining industry has been lagging, competition of other fuel from other parts of the nation has done much to bring on this condition. And lack of proper home support has been responsible in a certain degree for this depletion of mining activity.

As a result of a concerted campaign on the part of organized business of the state, the mining industry appears to be on the verge of an unusual advance. Enumclaw will benefit much because of that advance and to bring home a greater realization of what the coal industry means to us the following contributed article has been prepared through the local business men. (more…)

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Originally published in the Enumclaw Courier-Herald, Thursday, April 1, 1971

An overturned coal car is still in the Green River.

An overturned coal car is still in the Green River.

The “end of an era” exploded along the narrow canyon walls of the Green River Gorge last Saturday when officials of the Explosives Corporation of America silenced once and for always the rumble of ore cars from the Number 10 Franklin coal mine near Black Diamond.

“It’s like watching your life’s work go up in smoke,” commented John Maks of Black Diamond, a miner for the past 43 years. “It’s not so bad for me, I’m ready to give it up, but the younger fellows might find it rough. How many ads do you see for coal miners these days?” Maks said, as he surveyed the aftermath of the blast which closed the mine tunnel the air shaft and sent the 110-foot log bridge which spanned the gorge into the river below. (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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