In the 1950s, the U.S. was engaged in a Cold War with the U.S.S.R. (now Russia), a state of political and military tension following World War II.
Both sides possessed large stockpiles of nuclear weapons and local defense agencies were tasked with making plans to protect civilians.
A young mother’s concerns for her two children led her to seek a suitable radiation fall-out shelter in case of nuclear war.
After being advised to find a large hole in the ground, Mrs. Ronald Frazier and a group of neighbors considered the Franklin Mine and thought it might fit their needs.
The mine’s owner, John H. Morris, president of Palmer Coking Coal Co. gave his permission.
A horizontal tunnel (seen on the far side of the river) extended 3,000 feet under a hill.
Since it was dry with an almost constant 50-degree temperature, provisions could be safely stored underground for a long time.
The mine had passed state safety tests and could withstand the area’s worst earthquakes. I
n an emergency, evacuees would enter the mine and use it as a bomb shelter. In this March 1959 photo by Larry Dion, a group of civil-defense volunteers are shown adding planking to the mine bridge, which spanned the Green River.
Fortunately nuclear war never came and in time the shelter was abandoned. This underground coal mine known as the Franklin No. 12 was later closed and sealed shut.
The bridge was eventually washed away by high waters.
This photo comes courtesy of JoAnne Matsumura, an Issaquah historical researcher.
This coming Saturday, February 4th, the Black Diamond Historical Society conducts one of two annual tours of Franklin.
A second will be held March 4th.
Please join tour guide Don Mason for one of his fascinating walks through the old town site.
Meet at the Black Diamond Museum, located at 32627 Railroad Avenue, at 12 p.m. to sign up and hear an orientation.
Participants should wear sturdy shoes for this 1.8-mile round trip hike, and dress for the weather as the tour goes on, rain or shine.