Lake Stevens Journal - Your hometown newspaper since 1960

 

By Fred Cruger
Contributing Writer 

A Look Back

 

May 7, 2012

Contributed Photo

Most people don't realize we had a local coal mine in the early '20s. The excitement of gold, silver, and even copper mines far outweighed the discovery of an excellent grade of coal near Jordan.

The Jordan Valley Coal Co. incorporated on Aug. 25, 1919, under the original owners C.J. Chamberlin and J. Wichser of Granite Falls, and B.E.Padgett of Everett. The actual shafts were located along the south shore of the Stillaguamish River, just downstream from the famous "Jordan Swinging Bridge".

Digging and development involved four to six full-time men, and by 1921 it was announced that a contract had been arranged with the Granite Falls school system to supply 60 tons of high-quality coal.

Newspaper accounts over the next few years don't confirm that delivery ever having been made, but there were continual reports of new machinery installed and new deposits discovered (one claimed to be over four feet thick).

One of the early challenges came in getting the coal from the mine to Jordan Road. Early accounts indicated the purchase of about a thousand of feet of heavy cable, drums, and buckets, meant for an aerial line across the river.

Later reports described improvements being made to the swinging bridge, strengthening it to handle ten-ton loads, widening it to eight feet, and reinforcing the bridge anchors at both ends. That would allow trucks to drive straight to the mine.

Contributed Photo

The grand opening picnic held in 1923 drew two hundred people on a rainy day to view the steam machinery and mine, but the public support wasn't enough to make the coal mine a long-term success.

One 1924 article claimed production to be at ten tons per day, but not much later, one of the neighbors (once an avid mine supporter) sued the coal company and won, claiming all the coal on his property as his own and preventing the coal company from accessing it.

In subsequent years, area residents visited the mine occasionally to pick up coal for home use and to simply examine the machinery. Today, nothing remains as evidence of the once-promising endeavor.

 

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