Cedar Mtn – The Wagon Road & New Photos

Exciting news I received a few more photos of Cedar Mountain and found new maps showing the old wagon road. As Alan said when I shared them “We went from just one photo to several in a heart beat. How exciting is that for Ghost Town Hunters?”

Above is a new view of the town site. It is similar to the one we had except the store that is on the river side of the railroad had not been built yet. That makes this photo from early 1889 or perhaps even 1888. It is courtesy of Renton History Museum and a big thank you to them for sharing.

Even more exciting is the next photo I received from both Dick at Maple Valley Historic Society and Bill K at Palmer Coking. Dick’s is a bit brown in color but is easier to see the details than Bill’s. His is black and white and of a smaller size. This photo shows the bunker and other structures around the first mine slope that was at the intersection of 196th and Maple Valley Highway (MVH).

The location of this processing building is confirmed by what Edith Cavanaugh said about regrading her yard and covering up the bunker foundations. Plus I found one of the foundation remnants along 196th behind the house that faces MVH. You can see that in my first article on Cedar Mountain by scrolling to the bottom of this link – Cedar Mountain Coal Mine – The Tangled Web

Photo of Cedar Mountain Mine Bunkers from Peter Pedersen Family – Note on back states he made $1.50 a day in 1885. Courtesy of Maple Valley Historical Society

Bill thought that the current highway was behind & above this structure. However, from what Edith said and my review of the way the hill side looks we now all think the Maple Valley Highway would be in the foreground of the photo or at the foot of the bunkers.

Next to refresh your memory on where things are here is a google map that I have marked where all the pieces sit. Look in the upper left corner for the First Cedar Mtn Mine Shaft & Processing Area. The structure pictured above is just about where I have the arrow pointing and the intersection with MVH.

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

In my never ending search for more information I found a map from 1880 that shows the old wagon road before the current automobile highway. Plus what is called a Timber Cruise Map from 1907. These are informative because of how the land was changed when they graded the current road bed and how the river has changed course over the years.

First we have the 1880 map. This is before the railroad, mine and town. The Columbia & Puget Sound Railroad came through in 1884 and the mine became a serious operation then. Please look at how the road was curvy versus the current straight shot most of the Maple Valley Highway is today. This map showing how curvy the road helps us better locate where the mine shafts and the town used to be. Man has made a lot of changes to this site.

1880 road King County & Cedar Mtn

Next we have what was called a Timber Cruiser. Basically it was a survey of the timber in the area. This map came to me courtesy of Dorothy who lives up on Lake Desire. She is documenting the history of that lake and has done a lot of deep research on the area.

Focus on the lower left corner of this map. That is our mine and town area. The year is 1907 and about this time the mines have closed or are near closing. They had hit the fault and lost the coal vein. This closure lasted pretty much until around 1920 when several groups found the coal again to the West and South of the original mines.

1907 Timber Cruiser Map – Township 23 Range 6 East – Cedar Mtn is in Lower Left Corner

Back to the old road and how it meandered back and forth over the railroad tracks. Below is a close up of the 1907 map and it shows us that the road across from the 1st Mine shaft area was actually on the river side of the railroad. Today the road is on the opposite side of the old railroad bed. Now we can envision the structure above and how it butted up to the railroad. The coal was then easily loaded into coal cars and shipped to Seattle. See what I mean by how much the land was changed?

1907 Timber Cruise Map – close up of Cedar Mtn Mine and town area

Cedar Mountain main town was located to the left of the 29 on this map. There are 3 buildings noted to the left of the river and the 29. Then further left are several more buildings next to where the road to Spring Lake intersected with the valley road. Today that road now called 196th intersects with the highway near where the map has the coal mine located. We are pretty sure the current highway flows right over or near over the old mine workings and right thru the middle of the town.

One more thing. The two photos we have of the town were taken from this old road configuration where the road came down a steep hill south of the existing 196th intersection. Take a minute to look at the maps and the town photo at the top to see what I mean.

There you have the new photos and maps that my research has gleaned. Next article will be about what I have found around the 3rd Mine area. Have visited there twice more and found some interesting things.

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. Locating Lost Old Coal Mines of King County

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


    • Thanx!! It is very fullfilling this history research and the adventure of trying to find things buried for decades. I am thinking of starting a pod cast of my articles – what you think of the title – Huntress of Lost Mines and Ghost Towns?

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