First Coal | Cle Elum, WA

Coal was officially discovered in Cle Elum in 1894.

Deposits of coal were known to exist in the area long before any attempt at mining was undertaken, but the first determined and well directed effort to uncover these veins was made in 1894 by Oscar James, James Smith, Isaac Davis and Charles Hamer. These men were practical miners who arranged with Thomas Gamble to sink a shaft on his farm.

James, Smith, Davis and Hamer found a coal vein at a depth of 240 feet on the Gamble property and soon after formed the Cle Elum Coal Company.

This group of them went to work bringing the coal out to market and obtained a forty years' lease from Mr. Gamble and set a large force of miners to work.

(An Illustrated History Of Klickitat, Yakima And Kittitas Counties; With An Outline Of The Early History Of The State Of Washington, 1904, page 307)

Prior to the Cle Elum Coal Company, active development of the coal mines commenced in 1886 by the Northern Pacific Railroad. Their first test hole was sunk at the Masterson's ranch, four miles east of Cle Elum, where they found coal.

In a short time a number of beds were located. The railroad shipped its first coal in December, 1886. (SWIFTWATER, History of Cle Elum 1848-1955, published by Northern Kittitas County Historical Society, 2014, Page 47)

cleelum,coal,mine,1910

(Coal mine near Cle Elum, 1910. Photo courtesy of Dr. James E. Brooks Library, Archives and Special Collections, Frederick Krueger Collection, Central Washington University, Ellensburg, WA)






         

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