Most of us non-Pacific Northwesterners think Seattle is all about Starbucks, Microsoft, Boeing, and Amazon. What we don’t realize is that at one time, the PNW was one of the biggest (some might even say the biggest) coal producer in the country.
While Newcastle and Black Diamond are two of the better known and larger communities, there are also other, smaller communities that did their part. Ravensdale is one of them.
Ravensdale also happens to be one of the sadder stories.
In November, 1915, an explosion occurred in the mine, killing 31 men and the town never really recovered from the tragedy. Residents called up for the World War I draft left and never returned. Coal was eventually phased out in favor of oil and natural gas which meant the mine, the town’s sole source of income, was eventually shut down.
Vandals began attacking the old cemetery, breaking open tombs, stealing the remains, and damaging the headstones.
When I visited several years ago, the place was littered with cigarette butts and beer bottles. Reminded me why it’s sometimes a good thing to bring another person along when visiting some of the more remote cemeteries.
*This photo was borrowed from Mike McDonald. Check out some of his other photos of Ravensdale Cemetery here.