Spring Glen/Starkovitch Coal Mine – How to Find a Mine V3

My quest to find the Renton smaller Coal Mines continue. If you want to catch up on the prior articles, here are links to round one & two of my search:

How to Find a Coal Mine V1

More Coal Mine Searching V2

This week I went back to the site of the Spring Glen Coal Mine with a lot more info and a pair of clippers to attack the blackberry brambles.

It always seems so easy on paper. When I arrived at the lot where I found Coal Mine Hazard on the King County Parcel Viewer, the wall of blackberries and brier was more than the tools I brought. Dang, I was thwarted again. Here is a better picture of what that looked like.

Driveway to Spring Glen Mine and a house from the 1940s
Blackberry wall that I decided to not whack on.

I could have tried my luck at clipping away but I was trespassing according to all the private property signs. Decided between the wall and the potential police action that it was not a good idea to proceed. Plus with so much brush who knows what holes or metal could grab my legs or swallow me whole.

My next step was to drive around the undeveloped land area. It is quite large with marsh and trees according to the google satellite view. Found a dead-end that was not far from the driveway above. However, no trail into the forest was there and no good place to park. I feared theft or towing of my car and then always the police could be called to arrest or worse yet save my butt.

So, around the big area I drove and went back to the condo area where I found the info sign and the pet walking trail. Figured I could at least go look at the mound that was noted as the tailings pile.

Starting at the info sign again

Got a picture from the sidewalk behind one of the buildings of that small mound or hill.

Starkovitch Spring Glen Tailings pile from Avaya Apartments.

After scouting from the parking lot and sidewalks I went down to the pet trail. That has fencing along a short walk past a grassy area and into the brushy woods and blackberries. First thing I did was jump the fence into the grass area and headed over to the small hill.

To give you some idea of the area here is a snip of the google view. The red lined area is where I am about to cross the grass to the tailings pile. The blue area is where the blackberry wall was too much for me.

Google View of Spring Glen Coal MIne area. Red is where tailings pile is and blue is where the Property is marked Coal Mine Hazard

The grass was dry and I made good progress. Then I got up in the small trees and briers. Thank goodness I had my clippers.

Grassy Field with tailings hill in distance
It was requiring some bushwhacking to get to the hill
Getting closer to the Tailings Hill/Pile

Once I got past that blackberry and bush obstacles I came to the bottom of the hill. I started to go up there but realized it was covered in stinging nettles.  Since I was paying attention I didn’t get stung. I stood there pondering what to do and drank some water.

Nettles stopped me from climbing the pile for more findings.

Then I saw it!!  What looked like a coals from an old fire ring. I knew that it was COAL!!  I had found something concrete of the Spring Glen Mine.

Found COAL!!!! Clippers to give you perspective on size of chunks

I decided to turn around. Nettles are not something to fool with. A week ago I got a small sting on my left index finger. The burning and itching went on even after I used mud and water to try to remove it. The stand here would require major work to get over and getting stung was a given.

Back over the fence I went to the trail

Off I went further along the trail. Blackberries were growing over the fence and encroaching on the trail.

Deeper into the woods on the trail.

Over the fence I went again right on the right of the picture. There was a cedar tree and a small clearing there so I figured I might make some progress to get east to where the hoist house used to be. Bascially where the blackberry wall was on 116th.

Marsh stopped any hiking towards the hoist and processing area

Didn’t last long before I ran into swamp and soggy boggy ground. Back I went to the fence. I found another place to try pushing through the brush and gave it another try.

Another stab at digging into the brush

Here I found something interesting. A metal tag on a cedar tree. Was this property markers of old?  Tried to read what it said but only got sap on my hands and camera instead. Got home and even with the picture on the computer can’t make heads or tails of it. Can you?

Old Metal Tag on Cedar tree
Can you read what it says? I can’t!

Past the tree I went and what did I find? More SWAMP!!

It is a tangled mess back here too & marshy
More swamp made me turn around

That was it. I had found the coal but not the actual mine. That will have to count as a find though. Chunks of coal mean we were more than close and actually on top of it. The marsh area did not surprise me. I have pondered that maybe the mine flooded and caused all this swamp. In my investigations I read somewhere that this mine had issues with water and on the map it notes the sump pump.

I leave you with a couple of things. First, I am now working on the old Sunbeam, Talbot & Patton Mines along Talbot Road. These might be a bit tougher to find but will let you know if I do.

Lastly, I leave you with an ice age remnant- a huge boulder that has taken over a front yard about 500 feet from the tailings pile. Kind of dwarfs the house.

Big Rock in a front yard – Ice Age remnant close to Spring Glen Coal Mine site



    • Wow – those were the days when we were kids and we played outside all day making fun out of anything. Even an old mine. Do you know if the Talbot Mine which is over by the hospital still has any remnants? I was going to do some poking around on that one too? Merry Xmas!!!

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