In 1900 the Willis Coal Company restarted the Pittsburg mine and produced 4,800 tons of coal from one of six seams on the property. By 1902, the mines were acquired by Gale Creek Coal Co. of Wilkeson with R. S. Loring President, E. J. Hughes, Superintendent, and John Reece, mine foreman. A year later Gale Creek Coal Co. listed Abe Morris as general manager of the mines then producing 37,182 tons of coal with 101 men working 300 days per year. The five-day work week had not yet taken hold. During this time, the South Willis mine built the first of 25 coke ovens in the area.


“Carbon River Coal County” by Nancy Irene Hall, 1980; Washington State Coal Mine Inspector Reports, 1890-1919; Joseph Daniels, "The Coal Fields of Pierce County, September 1914” Washington Geological Survey – Bulletin No. 10; The Wilkeson Record, December 21, 1917; Morris Brother Coal Mining Co., Inc. corporate records; Pierce County map, 1890, by W.D.C. Spike & Co. (Identifier: uwm118 G4283.P5 1890 .P5) University of Washington Libraries Map Collection.

By William Kombol, Manager, Palmer Coking Coal Co., November 10, 2007


Gale Creek Coal Mining Co.
South Willis Mine.  There appear to be very few ovens remants and like those at Fairfax are in pretty bad shape.  But remarkable that after 100+ years are still there at all.  Of the 25 originally built, ruins of around 6 are still somewhat visible.



 

 

 

 

 

 
        

This is near the location of the Peacock coal vein and former Peacock tunnel.            

Coke ovens on a 1903 Gale Creek Coal mining Co. map 


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Interior of coke oven ruins    

South Willis coke ovens all but hidden from view in the thick brush.  
 
Coke oven ruins 

   

Railroad grade as shown on 1903 map leading to bunker and coke ovens 
 

Railroad remnants throughout area.

An old steel tank of some kind near the coke ovens.    
South Willis, WA 1902-1927   

Site visit 2011 
 
   
       
 
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Pierce County Mines


                                               

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