Mine No. 11

Last week’s column featured a photo of Mine No. 11, one of the most successful coal mining ventures in Washington history.

This photo, of the same mine, is looking north and shows the enormous nature of facilities in which coal was sorted and stored before shipping. To the left, beneath the tallest stack is the sloping portal to the mine where men descended to work and loaded coal cars were pulled to the surface.

The wooden bunkers, which dominates the frame is where coal was processed and stored before being shipped by rail. Locomotives pulling gondola style cars passed underneath the bunkers where coal was loaded on trains typically bound for Seattle. The large stockpile of timber in the lower left tells of this mine’s need for wooden shoring to protect miners working up to 2,000 feet underground. The smokestacks were part of a coal-fired power plant supplying electricity not only to the mine, but also to the town of Black Diamond. At the time it was operated by Pacific Coast Coal, a division of Pacific Coast Co., which also owned railroads, steamships, and cement divisions.

Though sold in 1953, the property continued to be a hub of coal processing, stockpiling, and transportation until 1990. The site is now operated as Palmer Coking Coal Company’s retail landscape yard located at 31407 – Highway 169 in Black Diamond. This photo comes courtesy of the University of Washington Libraries, Special Collection Negative No. UW-23731 and probably dates to around 1920.