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Posts Tagged ‘Oregon Improvement Co.’

Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, October 23, 1895

The Oregon Improvement Company’s coal mine at Franklin has been closed down and sealed in order to smother the fire which occurred in the main slope last week and in which four men lost their lives. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, October 18, 1895

The slope is stopped up

Franklin mines continue to be the scene of excitement—every effort was made to rescue the four unfortunate men without avail

The bodies of the four men known to have perished in the slope fire yesterday at the Franklin coal mines have not been recovered and the fire has not yet been extinguished, although the flames have been got under control and the slope closed up with timbers, sand, and dirt.

Of the men dead, full mention of whom was made in the 5 o’clock edition of last evening’s Times, John Glover was a white man and George W. Smalley, John Adams, and James Stafford were colored men, Smalley leaving a wife and child and Adams and Stafford being single men. (more…)

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Originally published in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, October 17, 1895

Flames and smoke: The miners make a mad rush for safety

The fire broke out shortly after dinner—whole town is wild with excitement and every man is endeavoring to put out the fire by shoveling dirt into the mouth of the burning slope

Dirty job: Franklin miners, ca. 1915.

Dirty job: Franklin miners, ca. 1915.

News reached the city about 1:30 o’clock this afternoon from Franklin stating that fire had broken out in the main slope, between the fifth and sixth levels, and that many miners were cut off from escape. Later it was ascertained that most of the men in the men had gotten out by means of the rock tunnel to another avenue of escape.

For a time it was reported that four men only were nearly killed, but at the time of going to press all of the men have been accounted for except three, and these, it is believed, are dead. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, October 4, 1895

Phil Early and another employee named Gibson so badly burned and injured that they died today—the cause of the explosion is not known

Tombstone of Romulous Monroe Gibson, who died in an boiler explosion at Franklin on October 3, 1895.

Tombstone of Romulous Monroe Gibson, who died in an boiler explosion at Franklin on October 3, 1895.

The Franklin mines have been the scene of another unfortunate accident by which two men lost their lives. Yesterday morning one of the boilers in a battery located at the edge of Green River, far below the mine proper, exploded, and so badly burned and injured Phil Early and a man named [Romulous Monroe] Gibson, employees, that they died today from the effects. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, September 26, 1895

Franklin coal mines

Franklin coal mines, 1898

Andrew F. Burleigh, as counsel for the Oregon Improvement Company, this morning filed answers in four more suits which have been commenced against the company by Oliver Spencer as administrator for the estates of Fillippo Di Martino, Guiseppe Bosio, Luigi Ferrari, and Rocco Teti.

The deceased all met their deaths in the Franklin mine disaster.

The company sets up that their deaths were due to the error of judgment and mistake on the part of the fellow servants of the deceased, coupled with their own carelessness and negligent conduct. They should have, it is alleged, left the mine when informed that it was on fire.

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Originally published in the Pacific Northwest Post Card Club newsletter; July, August, September 2017

By Ken Jensen

Black Diamond depot, circa 1910. The train was pulled by engine No. 18 of the Columbia & Puget Sound Railroad, which served several mining towns in King County.

Black Diamond depot, circa 1910. The train was pulled by engine No. 18 of the Columbia & Puget Sound Railroad, which served several mining towns in King County.

For the miners and their families in turn-of-the-century Black Diamond—an isolated company town near the Cascade foothills of South King County, Washington—the 33-mile trip to Seattle was an all-day journey. The company’s railroad and circa 1885 depot, along with its general store, were the townspeople’s only real connection to the outside world.

In 1904 the Pacific Coast Co. owned all of Black Diamond—its mines, its land, its stores, pretty much everything—as well as neighboring Franklin and a handful of other King and Pierce county towns. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, September 7, 1896

B.F. Bush, the newly-appointed general manager of the Northern Pacific Coal Company, with headquarters at Roslyn, will leave tomorrow to look over the situation.

He will return in a few days and expects to be relieved of his present position as general superintendent of the Oregon Improvement Company about the 20th inst. Mr. Bush only returned Saturday from a business trip to British Columbia.

Mr. Bush was appointed general manager of the Northern Pacific Coal Company by its president, J.W. Kendrick who is also general manager of the Northern Pacific railroad.

The Northern Pacific Coal Company operates the coal mines at Roslyn, at Kangley, and those at Bozeman, Mont. The company owns other coal properties which will be opened up and worked under the direction of the new general manager.

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