Tacoma Illustrated

Tacoma Illustrated
Her History, Growth & Resources
A Comprehensive Review of the 
City of Destiny
Chapter 8


By Holice, Pam, and Deb

Extra special thanks to Holice B. Young for transcribing this book.  The excellent work she does continues to help many researchers!  Thanks also, to Pam Rietsch, for sharing her books with genealogists!


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The facts regarding these enormous and valuable interests have been furnished us by Dr. Willis E. Everette, an eminent mining expert and geologist of Tacoma, who has made the mineral deposits of Washington, Idaho, British Columbia and Alaska a study for many years past. He gives true and unvarnished facts, and comprehensively shows the almost unlimited wealth that this new State possesses. A sketch of Dr. Everette's business will be found in our columns.


Near the eastern border of King County are two immense veins of iron ore, locally known as the Guy mines, and which are composed of varieties of "hematite"--both of the specular and Bog Ore varieties--and a high grade of "magnetite" ore. This iron ore has given, upon personal analysis, over 69 per cent of metallic iron. The veins are very long and will average over 500 feet in thickness, and in one place over 1,800 feet thick. Nearly two miles northwest from these Guy veins are the Denny iron properties which contain the same class of ore. They are practically inexhaustible, and are of great value by reason of the large quantities of marble in variegated colors which have been found near by these Denny iron veins. This marble will furnish all the lime that is necessary to flux these iron ores for reduction into pig iron, and being found directly on the ground, or almost so, increases the value of these iron ore veins very much.

The Skagit River Country, and in fact, the entire Puget Sound basin, contain iron ores, and their corresponding fluxes, of such value and of such great magnitude, and so easily accessible, that there would be no hesitancy in saying the cities of Puget sound can be built up by their iron industries alone (as was the vase with Birmingham, Alabama, and other towns), by reason of the enormous extent of our Puget Sound iron ores and their great suitability for the making of Bessemer steel rails. Furthermore, it is an acknowledged fact among Eastern iron men that the iron ores of the Puget Sound basin produce the best iron found in America, and, in order to show the appreciation of this fact, a two million dollar steel plant is about to be erected on Puget sound to reduce these ores and prepare them for the market in the shape of Bessemer steel rails and other manufactures of steel. The value of the proximity and easy transportation of iron ore to Tacoma in building up her manufacturing industries, can hardly be realized.


With seven hours' ride from Tacoma, there are immense beds of clay of every description, i.e., kaolin, or porcelain clay, pipe clay, yellow brick clay, fire clay, fat clay, sand clay, slip glaze clay, red and brown brick and the clay, and finally beds of infusorial silica and sharp sands in inexhaustible quantities, easily accessible, and of very high grade.

The importance of these "clays" lies in the fact that they are close to the waters of Puget Sound and near both rail and inland river transportation, are in large quantities, and of sufficient variety to warrant the erection of pottery works which could produce porcelain and chinaware, fire brick, pressed brick, drain pipe, common brick and tiles, etc., in quantity sufficient to supply the entire home market, and also considerable outside demand.

The writer recently returned from a personal examination of these clay stratums and has brought back with him 102 varieties of clay of every technical kind, description and color; these different varieties give very interesting information relative to the "Keramic" industries and possibilities of our Puget Sound basin. These clays are now being subjected to a thorough practical test, and it may already be said that some kaolin clays have been secured which will make beautiful porcelain ware, and tile and brick clay which will make a beautiful yellow red tile, or a bright red pressed brick.

These heats can be relied upon, as only the best important "Pyrometers" were used, and which came from the Prussian Government Factory of the Royal Berlin Porcelain Works at Charlottenburg, near Berlin, Prussia.


Although the coal measures of the Puget sound basin are principally of the tertiary formation, still, occasionally we find that the metamorphose of a lignite vein into a bituminous vein has been almost complete enough to change the ignite into a high grade bituminous, and also with evidences of semi-anthracite. This metamorphism has evidently been caused by recent (geologically speaking) local changes, which have been produced by the enormous pressure and the resulting heat of that pressure from the eruptive strata which were thrown out of the earth by volcanic and seismic energy, possibly not later than the upper Post-Pliocene period. But whatever period our coals belong to, we have unmistakably immense and inexhaustible quantities of the very best grades of "lignite," both of the dull brown, and the glossy black, crystallized or anthracitized varieties, furnishing a superior household fuel. Of the "bituminous coals" we have many large and important veins that are at present being worked to supply the local demand for steam power, and also export purposes. Of "coke" we produce a local variety, equal to the very best of Connellsville, Pa., and only second in its heating qualities to that of Cardiff, Wales.

The analysis says:

Pierce County Coke, fixed carbon 60.97
Connellsville Coke, fixed carbon 60.02

This fact is of immense importance to the owners of the large smelter being built here, as it gives them a cheap and high grade fuel always at their very doors.

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Only where the plutonic and volcanic forces have twisted or buckled a series of rock stratums at right angles--or almost so--with one another, has the metamorphose (caused by the tremendous pressure of the strata and the resulting heat of that pressure) been sufficient to change the cretacious and tertiary lignite into veins of bituminous coals, and thence into a true "anthracite." Therefore, as yet, we have not been able to find any appreciable quantity of anthracite, although semi-anthracite, with impure cannel coals, and a glossy black--anthracitized--hard crystallized lignite with a conchoidal fracture, is found in this Puget sound basin in large quantities. Recently, however, reports have come in relative to the finding of large beds of true anthracite coal on the head waters of one of the rivers in the Cascade Range.

To show our steadily increasing coal mining industry, enough to day that the Puget Sound basin in the year of 1888, besides supplying the greatly increased home demand for coke and coal, actually shipped to San Francisco and other places, over 557,000 tons of coal; being an increase of over 37,000 tons from the preceding year of 1887. In fact, the total official yield of our coal mines for 1888 was 1,046,243 tons, of which a little over 557,000 tons were new mines being opened, and many of the old mines themselves being supplied with new and improved mining machinery, it is safe to presume that the output of coal for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1890, will double the above named amounts.

The most improved coal bunkers have been built in Tacoma receiving their supplies direct from the railroad and discharging by the most labor-saving methods into the vessels constantly awaiting cargoes. The facilities used can be seen by the accompanying view of the bunkers.


Of rocks we have large deposits of granites, sandstones, syenites, porphyrys, and many varieties of the trap rocks, with immense cliffs and mountain sides of variegated limestone and marble of all colors, and nearly all close to water or rail transportation.

The sandstones of Bellingham Bay, the limestones and marbles of the Cascade Mountains and the Columbia River, and the granites of Snake River and elsewhere, are too well known to need any description. Suffice it to say, that we have building material of the very best description almost at our very doors, and sufficient to supply all possible demand.


Our best ores of gold are found in the Coeur d' Alene and Okanogan districts, the first in North Idaho and the latter in North Central Washington. The north fork of the Coeur d'Alene River has given thousands of dollars in rich quartz and placer gold, and the gold ores of Wanicutt Lake, Palmer Mountain, and Similikameen and Sinikaheekan rivers of the Okanogan district, are very promising, and by deeper development and economical, scientific working, will prove to be very rich. The Peshastin district is also again attracting attention.


The silver ores that will come to the smelter at Tacoma, will come from the ores of the south fork of the Coeur d'Alene River from the mining camps of Mullan, Burke, Wallace and Wardner. The enormous extent of these veins

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Being so well known, it is not necessary to go into detail with regard to the actual amount of ore turned out from them, as space forbids a proper enumeration of it.

In the Okanogan district of North Central Washington the several mining district of the "Lime Belt," South Fork, Ruby, Conconully, Mineral Hill and Arlington or Loop will be able to furnish many tons of average fair, good, and high grade silver ores to the great Ryan smelter which fires up next month here in our city.

Already a very large "Russell Leaching Process" mining plant is being erected on the Arlington mine in the Okanogan country, and this plant will also demonstrate the value of the Okanogan district as a mining country and a mineral producer.

The west side of the Cascade Mountains is now attracting the attention of miners, as lately very rich silver ore has been found in the foothills of the western slope between here and the "divide."


The Coeur d'Alene mining districts, especially the camps and concentrators of the south fork of the Coeur d'Alene River, will furnish the principal; supply of lead ores to our smelter. The writer has personally assayed ores from this section that have given him over 70 per cent lead and over 100 ounces of silver per ton. The supply is simply enormous, and too well known to go into detail. The camps of the Okanogan district will also furnish lead ore and it is fair to presume that the discoveries in the western slope of the Cascade Mountains will also prove valuable and send their quota of ore to our smelter for reduction.


An antimonial galena--erroneously called a gray copper ore by the miners--containing some lead, antimony, zinc, silver, and copper, with silica, sulphur and iron, is found in large paying quantities in many of the mining districts of the Coeur d'Alene and Kootsnai, Okanogan, and Cascade mining camps. Also a good quality of copper oxide and sulphuric is found on the eastern slope of the Cascade Range, and also on the headwaters of the Yakima River. the writer recently received a consignment of copper ore--found on the western slope of our noble mountain peak--that was a combination of copper carbonate, bi-carbonate, oxide and sulphide, with iron pyrites carrying gold--a most beautiful ore. Personal analysis gave over 33 per cent, of metallic copper. This, for surface croppings, is very rich. Some ores will run over 65 per cent of copper, and it is fair to presume that we can supply our smelter with all the copper ore it desires.


Our various mining camps in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and British Columbia, that are tributary to Tacoma, or can be made such, have abundance of zinc antimony, arsenical pyrites, mercury, asbestos, and chromic iron ores, with a recently discovered vein of tin. There is also a large deposit of manganese in the shape of a ferro-mangan ore near the Puget Sound basin, which can be worked profitably.


Judge E. f. Russell, of Tacoma, has furnished us with further facts on the anthracite discoveries; he states that recent developments and investigations show that at a greater elevation on the western slope of the Cascade Range, and farther east than the present discoveries of the bituminous coals ina southeasterly direction from Tacoma, a number of veins of semi tolerable pure anthracite coal--containing a large percentage of fixed carbon, have been discovered. These veins are of good size. Some of these are now being extended from South Prairie to the anthracite fields, for shipping this coal to the Tacoma market.

The want of roads through the heavy growth of timber upon the mountain sides has retarded exploration in that direction, and yet an occasional prospector through these great forests has often found the croppings of coal, cleaned away sufficient surface debris to satisfy himself of its existence, carefully taken his bearings, that he may be able to find the same spot again when he wishes to return, snugly covered up his "find" and wended his way out through the tangled undergrowth, toward civilization in the valleys below.

The following is an official statement of the output of coal for the past fiscal year ending Oct. 18, 1889:


DISTRICT 1--Report of Coal Mine Inspector H. C. Paige, District No. 1:

Northwest Coal Company of Bucoda

Output, 26,600 tons

Men employed, 35

Carbon Hill Coal Co. of Carbonado

Output, 195,387 tons


South Pacific Coal Company of Burnett

Output, 45,107 tons


Wilkeson Coal & Coke Co. of Wilkeson

Output, 6,738 tons


Tacoma Coal & Coke Company of Wilkeson

Output, 8,081 tons


Total Output for the year

281,913 tons


One fatal accident

Mines in good repair.



Report of John Sullivan, Coal Mining Inspector for District No. 2

Newcastle Mine

76,102 tons

226 men.

Mine in poor condition. One accident during the year; not fatal.

Franklin Mine

136,044 tons


Good condition., Average payroll for this mine monthly--$17,000

Black Diamond Mine

102,255 tons


These mines are superior to any other mines in the district. One fatal accident during the year.

Cedar Mountain Mine

23,120 tons


Partly abandoned. One fatal accident.

Gilman Mines

41,483 tons


Condition good. One accident during the year.

Roslyn Mines

230,548 tons


These are the only mines in operation east of the Cascades. Condition good, ventilation fair. Two fatal accidents during the year, and five accidents serious, but not fatal.

Durham Mine

636,430 tons


The mine is now abandoned. No accidents during the year.




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