Locating Lost Old Coal Mines of King County

This is a directory of blog links of my searches for Lost Coal Mines around the Seattle area. Hard to believe 100 years ago we had a booming mineral extraction business here.  Now these old mines are buried and long forgotten.

It all started with my fascination at Cougar Mountain Regional Park.  This wonderful wilderness on the east side sits is on top of where a small town and multiple mines existed.  Next to nothing is left of them except old pictures and the rare piece of preserved things.  That ranges from a stray piece of black gold on the ground to an actually sealed mine entrance.

Often all that is left is a huge lump of old concrete. These blocks of moss covered cement are usually hoist foundations.  They held the huge machines that pulled the coal, miners and equipment with steel cables out of the mines.

My quest to find these old relics of our past is not over & I will update this directory as I add more mine finds.  I appreciate any input or tips you might have or just a bit of commiserating with me at how time changes our landscape so completely.

First Coal Mine Moment – Cougar Mountain Regional Park in Newcastle

This blog post was called “Coal Creek Mine Ruins – 100 years later”. It started out as a hike to see Coal Creek Waterfall in the spring of 2017.  Then I tripped upon the history that surrounds this park on the edge of Seattle. Once hundreds of people lived and work to pull coal from the ground here.  This post starts with the natural part and ends with how I became fascinated by this concept of what a 100 years does to the land.

Second Visit to Cougar Mountain Park

See the “Big H”? We are going there

This blog post was called “Time – A Conundrum”.  I returned later in 2017 to document the Ford Slope Mine and how we have forgotten that mother nature is the one in charge. No matter that we are buried in social media of today, nature is busy putting things back the way she wants it.  That includes this once busy industrial intensive coal mine of 100 years ago.

There’s a Coal Mine Under my Freeway

1963 – Renton Coal Mine exposed during original construction of the Freeway I-405

You read that right.  In 1963 when they built I-405 close to the S curves they found the old mine entrance which they sealed up forever under our freeway.  This post is about the one thing left from the Renton Coal Mine; The Hoist. Plus if you align yourself right you can imagine how this industrial endeavor stretched under the current freeway and down where the old Sam’s Club was built.

Summer of 2018 I hiked up to the old site of Franklin, Washington.  This is not only a 3 part series of the mines but also of the town of hundreds that is no more.

Franklin Coal Mine on Green River

Up close of the coal car in Green River

Before I got to the actual town site I walked down a side road.  So glad I did because I came to the river and found where one of the mines had been dug into the side of the river gorge.  Plus a bonus sighting of a little bird called a Dipper.

Franklin Town site and Old Foundations

This is where the rubber meets the trail and I tell you about what I found where the town used to be.  I wrote a pretty profound thing that is relevant to today’s COVID-19 Stay at Home or any time in our lives when we feel stuck.

When you find yourself losing faith that life is stuck in some shallow place or you can’t quite imagine how things will change or you are wondering when will Lady Luck or the Devil tear at the fabric of your lives. This is when change happens.

Franklin Ghost Town Cemetery

It is only right that this is the third and final installment of my Franklin “the Ghost Town” adventure. I have to say I got more than I bargained for. My experience was memorable and made me respectful of things we don’t understand. A ghost town is not named just because it was something in the past. It can harbor things that do not want to let go of what was.

Moving on to the summer of 2019.  I had retired with more time to go dig around for old coal mines.  That is where my research took me to the hill area above Valley General Hospital and the smaller family run mines.

How to Find an Old Coal Mine

After my experiences with Franklin and Coal Creek I wanted more adventure. This post documents my search for a mine named New Lake Youngs Mine that my freind Jeff at work told me about. It was not as easy as it was for the larger mines where there is something left.  It required several visits and a lot more research using multiple maps and digging around.  Hence, how do you find an Old Coal Mine.

More Coal Mines to be Found

Spring Glen or Starkovitch Coal Mine map from DNR

This is about some more investigative adventure around the two smaller mines – The Wilson & the Starkovitch Mines. Again, not as conclusive but just as satisfying trying to figure out from old maps where these coal mines were and what is on top of them now.

Spring Glen/Starkovitch Coal Mine – How to Find a Mine V3  – It always seems so easy on paper. I had to go 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.

Red Devil Coal Mine – Where are YOU?

I was going to work on the mines around Talbot Road but was distracted by a bit of serendipity.  I had found a map of the Lake Desire & Spring Lake hiking area.  With that map in hand I opened up the Washington State Coal Mine Map Collection.  OH Boy….  Did I need all my How to Find A Coal Mine experience to sort the Red Devil/Fire King Mine. This post goes into detail on how I align the old and new maps to plan my trip to the actual site.

Red Devil Coal Mine – Fairwood Park Boots on Ground

I split the Red Devil / Fire King into two blog articles. The mine activity crossed over between two housing developments plus this mine not only had a shaft mine but also a surface mine.  This first one is about the search for the shaft mine and the houses involved when the contractor finds the old mine by accident.  Told you we forget about these old mines and most that live on top of them have not a clue.

Red Devil Coal Strip Mine – Quest to Find

This is about the Woodside Commons Park that was once a Coal surface strip mine.  Plus how I found some remnants of the mine operations area where they had the bunker & washing plants.  Oh and I found coal!! That is always a huge success moment.

I realize this is a lot of reading.  My hope is this will help those Coal Mine History Buffs get some information to go on their own adventure.

Now I leave you to ponder how fast our world changes. How a century plus ago the Pacific Northwest had many communities around Seattle that were built on coal. Shock!! What did you say? That is right there are communities and parks that are actually sitting on old coal mines.  They are awaiting our discovery and contemplation of time and nature.

 

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