Posts Tagged ‘Northwest Improvement Company’

Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, April 7, 1916

The town government of Ravensdale exists no longer and the once thriving mining center Is rapidly diminishing to a village of empty cottages. The exodus of the 350 population began directly after the [Northwest Improvement] Company announced its intention of closing the mine, following the explosion on November 16 when thirty-eight men met death. With the citizens went also town officials. (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, January 23, 2007

By Barbara Nilson

The town of Fairfax, declared the “prettiest mining town around,” showing the turn-table at the extreme right above center. Mine buildings are in front and the school is on the left. Carbon River runs through the trees at the top or the photo. (Original copy from Mr. and Mrs. Tony Basselli.) Photo courtesy of Steve Meitzler, Heritage Quest Press, Orting, WA., publisher of the book, Carbon River Coal Country.

Riding the Northern Pacific Railroad to the upper end of the Carbon River Canyon or tooling along to Mount Rainier in a Model T, tourists would pass close to three mining towns: Melmont, Fairfax, and Montezuma.

First, beyond Carbonado, was Melmont, situated between the Carbon River and the NPR line. A bridge spanning the Carbon River ran between the company hotel and the saloon with the depot and school on the hillside above. On the left end of the bridge was the road connecting to Fairfax. This bridge was nearly a little beyond the high bridge which spans the canyon today. (more…)

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Originally published in the North Kittitas County Tribune, September 26, 2019

By Sue Litchfield

General Mine Manager John Kangley was a self-made man, an Irish orphan who made his way to the United States In the mid-1800s. At 45 years old, he was appointed general mine manager of the Northern Pacific Coal Company in Roslyn and served from 1888 to 1896. During that same time he also managed the Star Coal Company in Streator, Illinois, and owned the Kangley Mine near Ravensdale, Washington. Photo courtesy of Streator Times Press.

ROSLYN—This marks the fourth in the series of articles about early Roslyn history based on research at Northern Pacific archives in St. Paul, Minnesota. In the early years, Roslyn’s coal mining company was the Northern Pacific Coal Company (NPCC), owned and operated by the railroad. Following a major restructuring of the company in 1896, NPCC became the Northwestern Improvement Company (NWI), a subsidiary of the railroad.

John Kangley, who simultaneously served as general manager of two different coal companies, had two company towns named for him, owned coal mines in Western Washington, and invented one of the first ever coal mining machines.

Mob rule in Roslyn

The Dec. 30, 1888, telegram sent from Tacoma had a note of urgency to it.

“In taking the new drivers to Roslyn this afternoon [No. 3 Mine Superintendent] Ronald and Williamson were surrounded and knocked senseless by strikers…”

Roslyn had been a hotbed of contention since the Knights of Labor had gone on strike August 11, 1888. Ten days later, the Northern Pacific Railroad had brought in African American coal miners to finish development of their No. 3 Mine in Ronald.

Then on Christmas Day, 100 mule drivers went on strike, which effectively shut down their Roslyn operations, In response, Superintendent Ronald brought 10 African American mule drivers from Ronald to Roslyn, and all hell broke loose.

“…several new men badly used up,” continued the telegram addressed to Kangley, “and mob rule reigns in Roslyn tonight.” (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, May 19, 1906

Pacific Coast Co. and Northern Pacific may come under provisions which prohibit carriers operating plants

Shipments outside Washington forbidden by the operators, but Hill line will me most seriously hurt by rule; Piles made fight to help local industries and Portland coal market to suffer if supply must be cut off

If the House agrees to the amendment made by the United States senate, forbidding common carriers from hauling coal mined in their own properties to points outside the state, the Pacific Coast Company and Northern Pacific will be seriously affected.

It was to save the coal properties of these two lines that United States Senator S.H. Piles is understood to have introduced his amendment exempting lines whose principal business is not that of a common carrier.

Just how this would have helped the Northern Pacific is not clear, but it would have been of some advantage to the Pacific Coast Company. That it was lost is believed by railroad men to have been due to the necessity for regulating the anthracite roads. The Pacific Coast Company can probably escape the provisions of the bill, but it will be a more expensive task to market the coal of that corporation. The Northern Pacific is expected to be compelled to limit its market to this state. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, September 26, 1906

Operators declare that labor shortage has resulted in increase of wages and cost of production is higher

Summer months provide good business and shortage in output during winter may be the result in this state

Coal prices will be advanced October 1 between 5 and 10 percent by all companies save the Northwestern Improvement Company, and the Northern Pacific’s corporation has already raised prices, so the householder has no haven of relief from increased prices in that direction. (more…)

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Originally published in the Pacific Coast Bulletin, February 14, 1924

State Mine Inspector W.R. Reese, a veteran in the coal industry of the State of Washington and recognized as one of the leading authorities on coal mining, has been made an honorary member of the Joseph A. Holmes Safety Associations at the various camps of the Pacific Coast Coal Company.

Mr. Reese takes a keen interest in safety work and is constantly striving to see that the hazards of mining are reduced to the minimum.

Many years ago he was a superintendent in the Pacific Coast Coal Company, and prior to becoming state mine inspector was connected with the Northwestern Improvement Company for many years. Few know the mines of this state better than W.R. Reese. (more…)

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Originally published in the Enumclaw Courier, January 18, 1907

Trainmen call on authorities for help but sheriff and police are conveniently absent

Railroad had been warned of the contemplated action

North Yakima, Jan. 9 — More than 200 desperate citizens of this city and farmers of the surrounding country held up a coal train at the station here at 3:30 yesterday afternoon and carried off all the fuel they needed to tide them over the cold snap. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, December 13, 1910

Explosion of fire damp results when fire eats through from old workings in N.W. Imp. Co.’s property

Five men injured and two entombed

An explosion in the Northwestern Improvement Company’s mine at Ravensdale at 11 o’clock this morning fatally injured three miners, seriously injured two others, and imprisoned two more.

A 2 o’clock this afternoon the mine was on fire and the fate of the two imprisoned men is in doubt. Rescuers are at work, but unless the prisoners are liberated within the next two hours they will be consumed by the flames. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, September 14, 1923

Chemical discovered during war oxidizes carbon monoxide, making it harmless

For more than two hours yesterday prominent coal miners, superintendents, engineers, foremen, representatives of the State Mine Department, and of the Seattle Fire and Police Departments gathered at the federal mine rescue station at the University of Washington and took part in a demonstration of a new “self rescuer,” or small gas mask which will permit a man to live in air heavily impregnated with deadly monoxide gas from forty minutes to more than an hour.

The demonstration was made in a small room, into which the exhaust of the White mine rescue truck of the government was piped. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Sunday Times, August 27, 1961

By Lucile McDonald

Coal industry surges are an old thing to the town of Ravensdale. One such surge, in the late 1920s, brought reconstruction and modernization of the town, as shown above in a photo taken by Asahel Curtis.

Coal industry surges are an old thing to the town of Ravensdale. One such surge, in the late 1920s, brought reconstruction and modernization of the town, as shown above in a photo taken by Asahel Curtis.

“We’ve lived in coal revivals since 1915. We have spurts and then, they fall off,” observed John Markus, Sr., proprietor of Ravensdale’s principal place of business, a grocery on the Kent-Kangley Road.

The little community with the euphonious name in South King County’s coal belt is about to have another “spurt,” however. (more…)

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