Red Devil Coal Mine – Where are YOU?

Serendipity took hold these last couple of weeks and pushed my coal mine research to the next level. In a moment of chance I found a map to the trails around Lake Desire & Spring. This recreational area has two mines I have started to focus on. They are near the New Youngs Lake Mine I had already found. However, winter hibernation had taken over and my coal mine search went to the back of the activity list till now.

The Special MAP!!

I found this map when I went for a quick walk in McGarvey Open Space Park to see the lay of the land now that winter is waning. That is an area is close to where those two new mines I was searching for. There I found this much needed map to coordinate  with an online tool of old Coal mine maps.

Here is how the marked up version of the hiking map looks. I was focused on finding the Jones mine. See where I noted K41 (WA Mines number for Jones)? It is almost dead center and the green park area has a divot out of it.  If you look close I have a dot inside the green.  That is my guess of where Jones is located from my comparison. I figure a nice hike and some bushwhacking could lead to finding that mine.

The map below also has K38 noted, which was an exploratory drill for the New Black Diamond Mine (aka Indian Mine). I believe that the small marsh/lake around that K38 was due to flooding from that mine shaft.  More research is necessary to get the whole story.

Lastly, off on the far left you will see my notes around K40 – Fire King Mining Company which is the Red Devil Mine.

Map with locations of old Coal Mines I am seeking

I started googling for the Jones Coal Mine, New Black Diamond, Indian Mine & Red Devil. Right off I made an easy hit on Red Devil which I didn’t even have a clue about before I doctored up the map.

Here is what popped up – an article about a mine being found when they were building Fairwood Park Division 15.    Here is the link to Black Diamond History Blog article on Red Devil if you are thirsty for more of this 1979 unearthing.

This mine would be an easy urban visit. Easy because it is in a residential area & it isn’t in the middle of a blackberry bush sticker filled lot. Look at the next map below. See that black dot on the left by 163rd Pl SE?  There is the clue – right next to a bend in an otherwise straight dead-end street. (I think that dot is slightly off & you will see why in a minute).

WA Coal Mine Map Collection overview map and locator.

That is K40 on the list of King County Coal Mines on the Washington Department of Natural Resources – Coal Mine Map Collection. This is a digital library where you can research these relics of the past.  Once I found the number I went to the directory and the snip below shows you what each map contains. This mine was called several things. All depended on who owned the mine.  Map K40A is from 1935 when it was called Red Devil Mine. It was owned by two companies Red Devil Coal Co and Romano Coal Company.  The K40B map was from 1946 when it was Fire King Mine owned by a company of the same name. (This second map I think is the better of the two)

WA DNR Coal Mine Directory showing the Red Devil Mine available maps – plus detail on those maps.

I am going to start with K40A map which is a simple map of just the tunnel mine.  This is what the original Red Devil coal mine was like in 1935. Once you see the 1946 K409B map you will notice one big thing. This early map has no strip mine.  Just the tunneling. One other thing of note is the section border is the line on the right that runs thru the Bunker. Keep that in mind as we sort out where this is in relation to current buildings and streets.

1935 Red Devil coal mine

Now let us go to K40B and once you look at it you will see why it is better.  The bottom right corner of the map has this information.  As you can imagine the original has been through a few hands before it got to this Collection.  That black blob at the top must be some note taped there for a long time.  More important you can see the certification from the Land Surveyor in 1946 with a seal even.  Then the Collection has it’s numbered tag.

Certification in Right bottom corner of K40B Coal Mine – Red Devil/Fire King Mine

I am hooked on old maps and that part above might seem nerd like but this shows you how this is a 70 year plus old record.

Next feature of the map is a little location map in the upper right corner.  That arrow points where the mine is according to the Public Lands Survey System.  You might be familiar with townships and sections which gives one a pretty exact location. I have found that I have to use these because the world has changed and been developed so much one can’t be sure otherwise.

This mini map has our mine right on the line dividing sections 26 & 25 of T23N- R5E.

Mini Location map on K40B Coal Mine Map

Next we are using another digital map tool online where the State of Washington shows all the township/section lines superimposed on a map of existing roads and features.  Check it out below. I have circled our two focal points. The one in the center is Red Devil.  Hope this helps you follow along with sorting out the whereabouts of the mine.  (the other circle is the exploration tunnel for the New Black Diamond Mine.)

Map from WSDOT Township and Section maps supported be ArcGIS.

At last we get to the map itself. It has a little of a surprise.  An open strip mine on it. This was not just a tunnel coal mine where they cut into a hill going down into the coal vein. That downward tunnel is called a slope.  On the left is that kind of mining showing all the buildings, tunnels and roads.  The right is a map of the pit mine where someone scraped the easy picking coal right off the surface. This helps even more to find where the mine is. A tunnel type mine is usually non-existent at this point since it is filled in for safety reasons. Strip mining is so much more visible and hard to hide the scaring it puts on the land.

Digitally this map is great cause I could zoom into the small details so easy.  When I did that there are notes that state the strip mining was done in 1946.  That means this was done by Fire King Mining Company vs the original Red Devil group.

I will leave you to noodle this snip of the interactive pdf map.  Get your fill and then follow along to how I align that to the world of today.

This next map is from the King County Parcel Viewer program. I compared this with the ArcGis map to get where that section border line is.  If you look at 163rd Pl SE (the long street on the left with a bubble in the middle), the properties on the right border a narrow strip of no-man’s land that runs parallel to the street.  The section border is the left side of that strip.  This is where I realized that the bubble must be where they found the vent tunnel (or main mine) hole. Would you build a house on top of that?  I would hope not. Remember how I noted that the dot on the WA Coal Map Collection overview map might not be 100% on the money?  This is why I have questions.. the bubble!

Plus see that open space on the right of the map with 1220 &1230 on it.  Does that smell like a strip mine?

It gets better!!  Next I went to Google Earth and changed it to satellite view.  First snip shows it rather zoomed out so you can see the lay of the land. Google tells us that the strip mine is Woodside Commons Park.

Get orientated by finding the bump bubble on 163rd Pl SE.

Lets get a little closer.

Can you see the strip mine? It is there under our noses!!

One never tires of doing street view and this is no exception. I put my little man right on the bubble to see what that looks like. There was a small round about in a place that makes no sense. And a white pipe is stuck in it!! I am itching now to visit this place.

Bubble on 163rd Pl SE where Red Devil Coal Mine is

Now my path is clear.  I need to go there and see what I can find. Think I will go to the bubble on 163rd Place SE first. Goal is to align the houses in the old 1979 picture with today.  Then go over to Woodside Park and that undeveloped area on the other side of the fence line of 163rd.

One last thing to share – that undeveloped lot is called TR-L. When I click on that in the King County Parcel viewer no property comes up at all. No ownership, no details.. zip!!! nada!!!  Where the strip mine was is Woodside HOA owned.  This TF-L is prime ground for investigating.  I am betting that holds the main plant area of the mine. They can’t build on top of it nor can anyone own it.  King County does not want any trouble here!

Stay tuned for my report on what I find with boots on the ground.

Want to see more of my coal mine research and finds?  Here are the links:

There is a Coal Mine under my Freeway

Franklin Coal Mine on Green River

How to Find an old Coal Mine

More Coal Mines to Find

Spring Glenn & Stackovitch Mines



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