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Posts Tagged ‘Rogers #3 Mine’

Originally published in The Seattle Times, June 26, 1966

The mountain of coal outside the Rogers No. 3 shaft of the Palmer Coking Coal Co. operation near Black Diamond shows the extent of coal-mining activity that is still being carried on in King County.

The mountain of coal outside the Rogers No. 3 shaft of the Palmer Coking Coal Co. operation near Black Diamond shows the extent of coal-mining activity that is still being carried on in King County.

At one time, coal mining was a big operation in the Puget Sound area. Before the turn of the century, the black gold was being dug from foothill sites such as Carbonado and Black Diamond, Newcastle and Franklin, Renton and Ravensdale, Coal Creek and Issaquah. (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, April 30, 1975

By Laura Lorenz

Dynamiting shut the portal of Rogers No. 3 coal mine, closing last underground mine in Washington, Ravensdale, 2:30 p.m., December 17, 1975 Photo by Carl G. Falk, Courtesy Palmer Coking Coal Company

Dynamiting shut the portal of Rogers No. 3 coal mine, closing last underground mine in Washington, Ravensdale, 2:30 p.m., December 17, 1975 Photo by Carl G. Falk, Courtesy Palmer Coking Coal Company

Rogers Number 3, the last of the state’s underground coal mines, will stop mining within the next few weeks. A retirement party of eats and dancing last Saturday marked a reduction of almost half of the twenty-man crew.

Carl Falk, office manager for Palmer Coking Coal Company Inc., claims the Ravensdale mine closure is due to economics. Too few contracts and the expense of complying with present day health and safety regulations for such a small operation tipped the scales. The mine puts out only about 20,000 tons of coal annually.

Falk said the retirement of mining operations was determined some years ago as contracts to state institutions declined. One after another have converted to natural gas, using oil as a standby fuel instead of coal. Only three state institutions contract for coal: Monroe State Reformatory, Shelton Correction Center, and the Orting Old Soldiers Home.

“There will be enough coal mined,” said Falk, “to complete contract commitments. The company will continue to market coal for another heating year.” Coal retails at $30.00 a ton on a U-haul basis. (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, July 5, 2016

By Bill Kombol

The photographer’s artistry captures light as it reflects off steel rails used to move the coal cars in this otherwise dark mine tunnel 800 feet below the earth’s surface.

The Rogers No. 3 mine in Ravensdale closed December 17, 1975.

You’ve heard the phrase, “the light at the end of the tunnel.” This photo of the gangway level of the Rogers No. 3 underground mine was taken for use in the Sunday magazine Now in a feature story about coal mining.

The photographer was Larry Abele, but this particular photo was not used in that January 14, 1973 story by Mary Lehto which appeared in the Renton Record-Chronicle, Kent News-Journal, and Auburn Globe News newspapers.

The photographer’s artistry captures light as it reflects off steel rails used to move the coal cars in this otherwise dark mine tunnel 800 feet below the earth’s surface. The mine was located just north of the Kent-Kangley Road in Ravensdale. (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, December 22, 2015

By Bill Kombol

The double-drum hoist, as used in area mines, provided welcome relief from the back-breaking work of hand moving coal by shovel.

The double-drum hoist, as used in area mines, provided welcome relief from the back-breaking work of hand moving coal by shovel.

This 1974 photo taken at the Rogers No. 3 underground coal mine features Bill McLoughry operating a double-drum hoist while a relieved John Streepy is shown in the background.

The Rogers No. 3 was the last underground coal mine in Washington, closing in 1975. The photo by Barry Kombol was taken in the crosscut of the mine, a tunnel parallel to and above the main gangway where coal was loaded into cars and hauled out of the mine on steel rails. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Times, December 16, 1973

By Stephen H. Dunphy

It’s dark as a dungeon
And damp as the dew
Where the dangers are double
And the pleasures are few
Where the rain never falls
And the sun never shines
It’s dark as a dungeon
Way down in the mine.
                    — Merle Travis

Joe Ozbolt had finished a day’s work in the mine and his face showed it. (Photo: Jerry Gay.)

Joe Ozbolt had finished a day’s work in the mine and his face showed it. (Photo: Jerry Gay.)

BLACK DIAMOND — Three, four, then five miner’s lamps came into view as the man-car climbed the 1,300 feet to the surface of the Rogers No. 3 coal mine near here.

There was Tony Basselli, 42 years in the mines. And Joe Ozbolt, black coal dust creeping under his cap like a reverse of the hair he lost years ago. And John Costrich, wrinkled, coal-black hands clutching a battered black lunch bucket. And Bud Simmons, the supervisor, a miner since 1928.

And George. George, with his usual six-feet-at-a-stride pace, was gone, down the hill and toward home before anyone could even say good night.

The day shift at the state’s only remaining operating underground coal mine was ending. The night shift—Grover Smail and Lou McCauley, both with 40-plus years of experience, and Jim Thompson—was ready to go “downstairs” to the eternal twilight of a coal mine. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Times, April 29, 1975

By Stephen H. Dunphy
Times Staff Reporter

Tony Basselli

Tony Basselli, 62, will end 43 years of coal mining when Rogers No. 3 closes. Besides Black Diamond, he has worked in mines in Carbonado and Wilkeson in Pierce County. —Staff photo by Jerry Gay.

BLACK DIAMOND — The days are numbered for the Rogers No. 3 mine near here—the last remaining underground coal mine still operating in the state.

“The mine is just about finished,” said Carl Falk, who manages the mine for the Palmer Coking Coal Co. “In another two or three weeks it will be shut down.”

There’s still plenty of coal in the hills of Southeast King County—perhaps as much as 200 million tons—but time and money have passed the coal-mining industry.

The closing of Rogers No. 3—predicted for years—is the official end of an era for the coal towns that once dotted the area. Coal mining may start up again some day, but it will take new blood and new money.

FOR THE MEN who work the mines—men like Tony Basselli who has spent more than 40 years working underground—it will mean turning in their picks and shovels and retiring. Most of the men who still work Rogers No. 3 are at or near retirement age. (more…)

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Originally published in the Black Diamond Bulletin, Summer 2013

By Bill Kombol

The Coal Miners’ Honor Garden was dedicated during Black Diamond Miners’ Day, July 6. (Photo: Bob Dobson.)

The Coal Miners’ Honor Garden was dedicated during Black Diamond Miners’ Day, July 6. (Photo: Bob Dobson.)

My father was a coal miner. So were both grandfathers and three of my four great-grandfathers. As were a host of uncles, great uncles, and cousins. I was privileged to work at a coal mine, Rogers No. 3 in Ravensdale—the last underground coal mine in the state of Washington. One of the first books I can remember having read to me was Two Little Miners.

You might say I grew up in a coal mining culture.

My name is Bill Kombol and today I manage a company, Palmer Coking Coal Co., whose name stretches back 80 years to an era when coal was king.

It’s a phrase I adapted for a weekly column I write for the Voice of the Valley, a local newspaper.

When the historical society approached me to write about what the miners’ statue means to me, I was humbled. (more…)

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