Miners killed in explosion. 

One of the shattered sarcophaguses portruding from a looted grave.



One of the few recognizable burial sites.

Ravensdale Cememtery June 2011
Ravensdale Mine  1916  

 Thomas J. Kane - Foreman             Joseph Krajnoc - Motorman  

Major Coal Mine Disasters In King County Washington

08-24-1894    Oregon Improvement Co. Franklin mine Franklin  - 37 Killed Fire

10-01-1902    Pacific Coast Co. located at McKay Lawson Mine - 11 Killed Explosion

04-26-1907    Pacific Coast Company Black Diamond Mine - 7 Killed Explosion

11-06-1910    Pacific Coast Company at Black Diamond Lawson Mine -16 Killed Explosion

11-16-1915    Northwestern Improvement Co. Ravensdale Mine - 31 Killed Explosion


Ravensdale coal mine explosion kills 31 men on November 16, 1915.

HistoryLink.org Essay 3576

On November 16, 1915, 31 men are killed by an explosion in the Ravensdale coal mine, a few miles northeast of Black Diamond. The mine is owned by the Northwestern Improvement Company, a subsidiary corporation of the Northern Pacific Railroad. This is one of the largest coal mining disasters in King County history.

That morning, a blown fuse knocked out the hoisting machinery and 100 men were sent home until the problem was fixed. If not for this, the extent of the disaster would have been much greater. Nearly 50 men were left on the job. At 1:24 p.m., 36 of them were down in the mine. At 1:25 p.m., a muffled explosion shook the earth, and smoke billowed out of the ground.

Those in town knew immediately what had occurred. The Ravensdale mine was a dry mine, in that little or no moisture permeated the tunnels. Coal dust filled the passages, and it took only a spark to set it off. A sprinkler system was installed throughout the mine to dampen the air, but it obviously wasn’t enough to prevent a disaster.

Whatever ignited the dust was never determined. It could have been an improperly placed dynamite charge, which miners called a windy shot, or possibly a miner carelessly lit a cigarette. In any case, the air in the mine burst into a violent fireball, killing most of the men horribly and instantaneously.
Many of the men were buried in the Ravensdale Cemetery, while others were sent back to the homes of their youth. The tragedy hit Ravensdale hard, and the town never recovered.

Many miners left town and coal mining to fight in World War I. As fuel oil and natural gas increasingly replaced coal as a source of energy during the 1920s, coal mines throughout the county shut down, including Ravensdale. The records have been lost, but at some point during the 1920s the town of Ravensdale disincorporated. This is the only town in King County to have done this.

But one sad fact remains about Ravensdale and the disaster. At some point during the last 50 years, vandals made it out to the Ravensdale Cemetery, which is now overgrown with brush. Graves were desecrated, sarcophagi were shattered, and human remains were looted and stolen. 

Sadly very little remains of the cemetery and what does remain is unidentifiable as to who is interned.




1910 list of miners killed, including occupation in mine, order they were found and injuries/cause of death.
(Click to Enlarge.) 

  Jack Storey - Miner                                  Romeo Medaine - Miner  

Be sure to check for additional listings

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Ravensdale Coal Mine Cemetery WA Cemetery

"Historical cemetery" means any burial site or grounds which contain within them human remains buried prior to November 11, 1889 - RCW 68.60.010

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