More Coal Mines to be Found

Early this month I tried to find several old coal mines in the Renton, Washington area. If you have not seen or had time to read that first blog article, here is the link…  How To Find an Old Coal Mine

How about some more investigative adventure around the other two mines – The Wilson & the Starkovitch Mines.

We are going to start with Wilson. The article by Candlewood Ridge/Wood Community said:

The Wilson Mine was located just west of the Benson Highway near the site of the Summerhill apartments.

That sounds like a great clue. Find those apartments and go from there. That is exactly what I did plus roamed around a newer development behind them. Got to say that kind of freaked me out cause would you want your house on a coal mine?

Is there a Coal Mine here?
Seems weird that a Coal Mine was here?

Here I am at the back of the apartments on a road called Mill Avenue South that connects to Carr Road above Valley General Hospital. Here is what it looks like if you turn around from the above photo of the apartment parking lot.

Coal mine & a new housing development? Time does change

This area is nice and tidy at the top of the hill but full of blackberries outside of the development.

Tidy area where mine could be
Can you visualize the mine?
Hard to tell what was here

Then I climbed around a bit behind the pretty shrubbery and saw these rocks.

Coal Mine remnants?

This last photo I think is related. These rocks are old, covered in moss and just seem out of place compared to the rest of the area just above this. The housing development is close but not on this spot so makes one think it is where the mine opening was.

I also found this jersey barrier. Can’t tell what it is blocking but I am figuring this was where the road was that went to the mine.

Jersey barrier that must be blocking a long overgrown road to the mines

I took another photo or two of what was down Mill Avenue.  First shows a big undeveloped field off of Carr Road and Mill. Development is coming this way for sure. One of the houses borders Carr and is boarded up.

Undeveloped land just south of where the Wilson Mine once was.

I say once was but we have to realize a mine never really goes away. We close the entrance but the tunnels are still there. Perhaps flooded or some collapsed but they are still there for a long time.

After I went to the site I pulled the maps online of this area. With those I can align the streets and the Township/Sections to see if I am close to the location.

This one isn’t as cut and dry as the New Lake Young’s Mine next to Petrovitsky Park. There I found the coal pile. Here I can just make assumptions and logical guesses.  I know I am close but could be wrong. Only a true surveyor or other expert sources might help get us 100% sure.

Wilson Mine or Spring Brook Mines map info

 

Wilson Mine Map – It is called Spring Brook & in the fine print is the guys name Wilson.

There you go on that mine. Spring Brook or Wilson mines did exist and have been buried somewhere since the 1940s.

Next we will talk about Starkovitch Coal Mines.  Let’s go back to the article by Candlewood Ridge/Wood Community which said:

A few miles west of the library on 116th and near the Cascade Shopping Center there was the Starkovitch Coal Mine started in 1938.

East to find the shopping center but when I got there it reminded me that not all areas were having prosperity. This older shopping center is nearly empty. What once had a thriving bowling alley, a grocery store and several other stores is now a shell of it’s prior life in the 1960’s.

Cascade Center closed bowling alley
There was once a thriving grocery store at Cascade Shopping Center – not now!

On my first trip to find the mine I drove past the closed grocery store.  A Renton Policeman was parked there so I rolled down my window and chatted him up a bit.

He had no idea that a mine was or had been in the area. He usually worked the north end of town. However, he was interested in my quest and we had a good chat about that and several other subjects. I drove around some and left thinking I needed to do some more research. Remember how this is not as easy as one would think. Mines are filled in never to be seem or known of again. Still  kind of freaks me out that we have a thriving community on top of old mine shafts and tunnels.

Then on my second trip (working on the New Young’s Lake Mine) I drove around the area some more. I had investigated the DNR maps and found that the mine is behind condos and houses a little west of the Shopping Center. It was called Spring Glen and was worked by Charles Starkovitch. Bingo that is the right one at least.

I went into one of the apartment complexes that bordered on Benson Road. To my surprise I found an information board and a trail out of the back of the complex. This is right where I thought I needed to be. Since I was already on a mission for New Young’s Lake nor was I dressed appropriately for blackberry hard scrabble, I left with a note to come back.

That I did and found a parking spot near the Benson. I walked up to the sign and took the following pictures.

Sign at Avaya Apartments
Photo on Info Board

Next I went to the trail and figured I was going to solve this mystery. I was wrong again. The trail was just a pet walk and had fencing keep you on a path. No mining things in sight like the info board said. I went back to the info board one more time kind of disappointed. It did add one more clue. It stated that the hill behind the apartments was the coal tailings. Well that is great but I was dressed for a trail but not to bushwhack into the briers. Need to get my act together I guess on this brier fun.

About then a lady I had seen walking from my car who was out walking her dog came by. I asked her if she knew about the coal mine. Oh my.. I got deer in the lights look. Ooops she doesn’t know she is living on top of a coal mine.

Here I am home today still trying to sort out where the mine really is. I pulled up the DNR map and the sections map to see if I could connect the dots.  Here is the DNR map. Look at the lower right corner and you will see Petrovitsky and the corner of four sections. 29, 28, 32 & 33. That corner is at Petrovitsky and 116th (the road the Cascade Shopping Center is on).

So, we are in the right place but the map is hard to tell where the truck road is now and more important the mine buildings and opening.  Here is that map for you to pour over too.

Spring Glen or Starkovitch Coal Mine map from DNR

I have another tool up my sleeve, the King County Parcel Viewer. From that I poked at the lots around the area & found one that has no buildings and has a dirt road from 116th. It is 17205 – 116th. There is a house next to this but on a different lot. That house was built in the mid 1940’s.

But what got me excited and made me think I found where the mine is is on the vacant land lot is an environmental note on the parcel.  It is:

Hot Dog – that must mean the main yard where the hoist and such is on this properly. It aligns about right with the old DNR map too.

Here is what it looks like on Google street view.

I am getting closer on this one. Goes to show this is how you find a coal mine & it is time for me to go back up there and see what I can find.

 

 

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