It has been almost a month since my 4th visit to the Jones Slope on June 26th. This visit’s mission was to search for the mine entrance. I was not expecting to find a big hole in the ground but rather identify where it used to be. I am 100% sure that years ago it was filled in to protect us mortals from ourselves. Old mines are super dangerous with flooding and deadly gases. The state either did the deed or the Pacific Coast Coal Company did it when the mine formally closed in 1941.
My method to find the site is the same I used to find the Water Tank and Hoist. Link to Hoist Search I will use the map with my fancy calculations and measure my way to where X marks the spot. Here is that map to get you orientated.
According to my math the opening is 114 1/2 feet to the SE of the Hoist. Easy Peasy!!
Not so fast on that easy part. I had scoped out the area quite a few times and figured the mine entrance was either on the west side or east side of the Powerline Trail. When you walk this part of the trail it is like a hedge on both sides. Not a nice hedge but rather blackberry, nettles and other nasty stuff. Oh and the bugs!!! That means I dressed appropriately with long sleeves, jeans and boots all doused in bug repellent.
This time I am using a 10 foot long tape-measure. I won’t be able to effectively put my feet together in a heel to toe position over & over. It is just too brushy with downed trees and uneven ground. I decided to use my trusty note pad to mark off my 14 – 10 foot lengths. Would be easy thrashing around in there to lose count of how many I had.
Got my compass out and set my orientation NE/SE. Dug a line in the dirt and did my first couple of 10 foot lengths. Then I stepped into the woods. Here is the starting point of that part of the adventure.
To give you some perspective of the area here is a short video giving you a near 360 degree view of the trail and where I am going to enter the woods.
Oh this was fun. Right off I was climbing over the top of a tree that had fallen years ago. Once over that, I had my clippers out and literally had to whack my way there. Check out the tunnel I formed.
Along the way I found this chunk of wood that was a piece of cut timber. A good sign!
As I moved by 10 foot increments the land was sloping downward. I think it is about a 20 foot change in elevation. This made the going a bit more fun. As I got further along and closer to the 114 foot spot I used red yarn along with my walking stick to mark my way. Think of bread crumbs that would help me keep myself in alignment.
Now I am in an area that when it rains is marshy or boggy. The moss is thick and I am glad it is summer because even now I have to watch where I step.
There I was at 114 feet and to my right is a pile of old trees covered in moss. Sound familiar to how the hoist was covered? This must be it!!
Another view & video of where I think the mine entrance is.
I then extracted myself from the stickers. Hot and sticky I stood on the trail thinking that was a successful hunt. What I found all pointed to my finding a buried mine entrance. We have the math in relation to the other structures, the logs covering the area and a boggy spot.
Next I decided to use the tree landmark and go around on the Powerline (Transmission Line) Trail and look at it from that angle.
We have one more angle to check out. That is back behind “The Hole”. If I go east from the Fan House about 50 feet and then walk north I should be near the mine entrance.
Sure enough I was on the edge of the same brier patch I had just been in. I took a little video of what I saw. The tree landmark is a good reference here just like it was for the trail side. When I walk over I found the land dipped like there was a ledge there. More man-made than natural.
The way the land fell away I think we are on the southern side of the opening. My bushwhacking got me to the north side of it. Things did fall into place trying to find some buried treasure without a shovel.
One last photo of that drop off spot.
My imagination has been active. One has to envision this area without the trees and brush. That takes me back to the 1936 King County Aerial. See where the hoist house is above the G? The entrance is about where the E is. The ground is bare and roads/rail must have been there. Mother nature has certainly changed things!!
Stay tuned for at least two more articles on the New Black Diamond Coal Mine (aka Indian or Jones Slope). I visited the hoist a second time where I marked it’s corners and dug out more of the edges. Would love a true archaeological dig!! Plus another post is forming up on the Jones Brothers. I discovered a photo of two of the three at the mine entrance on the opening day in 1925. That has lead me to information provided by Renton History Museum and Black Diamond Museum.
If you want to read more about my search for lost coal mines here is a link to my directory of articles.
Shoot me any questions or better yet any information you have to add. This is a never ending deep dig into 100 year old coal mine history.
Remember Times are a changing. Blink and all will be changed.