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Posts Tagged ‘When Coal Was King’

Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, July 28, 2015

By Bill Kombol

Photo # PI-24764 comes courtesy of Museum of History & Industry and shows a 1925 Chrysler Phaeton Six at the park’s entrance.

Photo # PI-24764 comes courtesy of Museum of History & Industry and shows a 1925 Chrysler Phaeton Six at the park’s entrance.

In September 1925 the Seattle Post-Intelligencer published an article about Flaming Geyser Park and its unique gas-bubbling spring. At that time it was a privately-owned facility providing campsites, stoves, restrooms, a swimming pool fed by the Green River, fish hatchery, and round picnic tables cut from six-foot sections of fir trees. (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, September 9, 2014

By Bill Kombol

Lake Sawyer log dump, 1928. Courtesy of University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections, C. Kinsey No. 1684

Lake Sawyer log dump, 1928

This photo by Clark Kinsey shows one of the log dumps of the Lake Sawyer Mill Company, circa 1928. This log dump facility was located on the west shore of Lake Sawyer at the current site of the Sunrise Lake Sawyer Resort. This old log dump is now a short peninsula at the resort which juts out into the lake. (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, August 23, 2016

By Bill Kombol

Maple Valley’s third depot dates to 1953, shortly after it was built.

Maple Valley’s third depot dates to 1953, shortly after it was built.

Over the near century from 1885 to 1982, Maple Valley hosted three different railroad stations, all located in old Maple Valley just north of where Highway 18 overpasses SR-169. This photo of the third Maple Valley depot dates to 1953 shortly after it was built.

The Maple Valley station was an important cog for directing rail traffic as trains could be switched to Black Diamond, Taylor, or up the Cedar River through Landsburg into the watershed. (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, July 26, 2016

By Bill Kombol

The old callboard of the C&PS can be seen slightly above the new board installed in the PCRR terminals at South Alaskan Way near Dearborn on the Seattle waterfront – just west of CenturyLink stadium.

The old callboard of the C&PS can be seen slightly above the new board installed in the PCRR terminals at South Alaskan Way near Dearborn on the Seattle waterfront – just west of CenturyLink stadium.

This is the second of a series, which details the workings of the Pacific Coast Railroad (PCRR) late in its corporate life. Founding as the Columbia & Puget Sound Railroad (C&PS), from the ashes of the Seattle & Walla Walla, PCRR was profiled in a 1948 Rotogravure magazine, which included this photo of the engine dispatcher’s board. (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, July 19, 2016

By Bill Kombol

This January 20, 1948 photo shows a PCRR engine pulling loaded coal cars as they cross over the Cedar River near Maplewood Golf Course in Renton.

This January 20, 1948, photo shows a PCRR engine pulling loaded coal cars as they cross over the Cedar River near Maplewood Golf Course in Renton.

This column’s focus over the next several weeks will be the Pacific Coast Railroad (PCRR), previously known as the Columbia & Puget Sound (C&PS). Perhaps no other single venture was more important to the development of the Maple Valley–Black Diamond area than the railroad. (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, April 1, 2014

By Bill Kombol

This photo by Vic Condiotty shows the explosion seconds after the detonation which shuttered the mine and destroyed the bridge.

This photo by Vic Condiotty shows the explosion seconds after the detonation which shuttered the mine and destroyed the bridge.

On March 27, 1971, the last coal mine on the Green River Gorge was blasted shut with powerful explosives supplied by a division of Rocket Research based in Redmond.

Coal miners, company officials, explosive experts, and the press gathered on the banks of the Green River as 900 pounds of the experimental dynamite, called Astrolite K, was placed inside the mine portal and on the mine bridge across the river.

Coal was first extracted near the Green River in 1885 at the town of Franklin. Mining boomed until the early 1920s, and continued sporadically through the 1960s. The Franklin No. 10 mine was opened by Palmer Coking Coal Company in 1964 and produced over 66,000 tons of coal during its seven years of operation. (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, January 26, 2016

By Bill Kombol

The administration building was considered for landmark status due to its historic significance, but the deterioration of the structure was too great for it to be saved.

The administration building was considered for landmark status due to its historic significance, but the deterioration of the structure was too great for it to be saved.

This administration building of Pacific Coast Coal Co. was constructed in 1927 to serve as a combination office and shop for New Black Diamond mine. A powerhouse was located in the east end of the building, which was located at 18825 State Route 169, about halfway between Maple Valley and Renton. (more…)

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