Cedar Mountain Coal Mine – The Big Mine Shaft

The second hole in the ground was dug by the Cedar Mountain Coal Company in 1888. They had abandoned the first shaft and moved across the river.  (link to article on original mine entrance) An exact reason was not mentioned in the two old coal mining reports that reference the Cedar Mountain mines.

However, there is a ton of information about the fault that runs through this area’s coal field. I am going to go out on a limb to say that Shaft #1 at the intersection of 196th/Jones/Maple Valley Highway ran into this fault or at the least that made the coal not as commercially useful.  So, they decided to try in another place.

Bit more history before we go into what I discovered when I visited the sites. This first round of mining across the river lasted from 1888 to March 1892.  It resumed again in December 1895. Come 1897 it was abandoned and they moved to another location. It was all about the fault that crosses through this seam.

The photo above is one of the few of this mine. It is dated 1889 so it must be the second shaft across the river. It was in a 1961 Seattle Times Interview of Edith Cavanaugh. The photo has the following notations on when, who and what you are looking at:

Maps are as usual very important and help explain where and what is going on. The first one is a google map of what the area looks like today. You might be familiar with this from my prior article on Cedar Mountain. Today we are talking about the area I marked as 2nd Mine Shaft.

Over view map to give you the lay of the land of Cedar Mtn Town & Mines.

This next map is from 1926 and contains the best mapping of the old mine works that I can find.

K42_A map of West Coal aka Cedar Mountain Coal Mine. North is on the right & the two slopes run west/east.

A couple of things I want you to look at this K42_A map from the WA DNR Coal Mine Map Collection.

  • The fault is clearly noted on this map angling on a NW-SW axis by heavy dashed lines and Fault written in between those lines.  This fault carries up towards where the first shaft was. Look at the google map snip and you can draw the line in there for yourself.
  • This map was done when they broke through the fault in the early 1920s and after the mine had been closed from 1906. They did this with a new shaft and slope.  Look close and you can see the two slopes side by side.  The right side one which is longer is the new one.  The left feeds the old mine.

How about some coal mine hunting adventure? We are going to start with my first visit back on August 6th. I was doing some reconnaissance of several possible Cedar Mountain mine shafts. One of those places was Belmundo’s Reach.  This is a small King County Cedar River access point. It has a small parking lot and trails to a sandy beach.

This also happens to be where part of the town of Cedar Mountain used to be. Plus starting in the 1920s until the mine closed in the 1940s it had several homes, outbuildings and an access bridge to the mine. Next you can clearly see on the following  map the hoist. That is right, the hoist was across the river from the mine.

K42_F Mine Map July 1932, Hoist, Railroad, Roads, & Bridges

The hoist is in the center of the map. See the two river crossings? The top one supports the cables and machinery from the hoist to the mine entrance.  Do spend a moment to get orientated.

The hoist seemed like something that should be still around. Big blocks of concrete don’t just magically go away.  Like the Jones Slope I figured it would be buried in brush and brier but worth looking for.

First I found my way down to the river’s beach and could easily see coal on the other side.  Nothing like a few photos and a little video to give you the feeling of being there.

Cedar River embankment from Belmondo’s Reach – mine would be up in the woods on the right
That is coal across the river!!
Across the river to the right of the coal dump

Off to the right side I found when I zoomed in that an old rusty pipe is spewing water. Now what else but some mine working did that belong to?

Check out the bent old pipe coming out of the bank.

Got pretty excited and gained thirst for getting over to this area.  First I started to zoom in on the pipe.  This is when either my camera decided to act up or some supernatural force decided to distort the picture.

Distorted? What the heck?

Turned off my camera and tried again.  Here is a close up of that mine pipe.

A small sign there is a mine over there! Even on a summer day it is flowing water out of the area.

Next on the agenda was to figure out if I could find that Hoist Foundation. From the map it must have been behind me.  Off on the trails I went and right away I saw it. Eureka!!!

Hoist Foundation to West Coast Coal Mine – on the west side of Cedar River

Here are several more views of this relic.  It was last used in 1944 when the mine closed. It must be about 100 years old!!

You know I had to take a bit of video of the hoist!!

Onward with investigating the area. On the other side of the small preserve I found a house just east of the Jones Road Bridge. The parking lot area has an elevated little road that continues past it. This was the connection to the trestle that came off the original bridge.

Starting with the house. It is on the maps as the Foreman house. It was built in 1932 according to King County Parcel Viewer.  It is also in this 1936 aerial that King County has on iMap. Look just below the Jones Road Bridge in the upper left corner. See the trestle and the larger of the two buildings?  That is the house.

View of the mine and Belmondo’s Reach in 1936 from King County Maps

You can also see in this photo the hoist house, the roads and bridges to the mine.

Foreman House of the Coal Mine still exists today

That photo is taken from the built up area that connected to the trestle from the bridge.  Here is a better picture of what that looks like.

I am standing at about the highest point of this built up road between the house and the Jones Bridge
Looking back towards the bridge

I was so close to the bridge at this point I meandered down to the Cedar River Trails (which follows the old railroad bed).  It goes under the bridge between the Maple Valley Highway and the bridges supports.

There I found cement squares that must be the old supports.

Under Jones Road Bridge on the Cedar River

Looking across the river you can see the other side but no distinct old bridge clues or relics visible.

Under Jones Road Bridge on Cedar River

Next chapter will be about my quest to get over to the other side of the river.  Starting with a hike up into the quarry on the northeast side of the area, then pondering if I should ford the river and trekking along the Cedar River Trail for better views of the area.

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 years of old coal mine history.

Remember Times are a changing.  Blink and all will be changed. Literally, a town can disappear!

Locating Lost Old Coal Mines of King County

 

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