OUR COMPANY’S HISTORY
2013 Press Release
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Palmer Coking Coal Company, Inc. (Palmer) was
incorporated on August 14, 1933 by John H. Morris, Jonas Morris,
William Morris, Edward G. Morris, Joe Kieulak, and J.G. Raley.
However, Palmer’s roots in the coal mining industry date
back to the Welsh immigrants who came west to work in and
eventually operate mines in communities like Wilkeson,
and Black Diamond. In
1880, Joshua Morris (1856-1929), a Renton miner and future
father-in-law to John H. Morris (1894-1973) was a member of the
prospecting party which discovered the famous McKay coal seam in
the Green River mining district.
In the early 1890s, George and Mary Ann (Williams) Morris,
parents to four of Palmer’s founders, moved their growing family
across the country settling in the east
coal mining town of
. George and Mary
Ann’s sons, daughters, sons-in-law, and grandchildren would play
a pivotal role in the evolution of
’s coal mining industry.
brothers Abe and Jonas Morris, and their brother-in-law Frank
Merritt, participated in the start-up of the South Willis Coal
Company, which operated mines in the Spiketon and Wilkeson coal
fields. A few years
later Abe Morris was twice elected by the voters of east
to serve in the State Legislature where he authored legislation to
make coal mines safer. The
Legislature in turn honored their colleague when the town’s
name, Spiketon was changed to
. In 1921, the Morris
Brothers Coal Mining Company, Inc. was formed to acquire the
mine and later operated mines in Occidental and Bayne near the
present day community of
. In 1937, Palmer
acquired all the assets of Morris Brothers Coal Mining Company,
Inc., which was owned by same family of Morris brothers who
founded Palmer. Through
the 1930s and 1940s Palmer owned and operated underground coal
mines in the
, Occidental, Bayne,
, and Landsburg areas of southeast
. In the early 1950s
Palmer pursued an opportunity to purchase most of the land and
mineral assets of the Pacific Coast Coal Company, a subsidiary of
based Pacific Coast Company. In
1953, Palmer acquired over 8,000 acres of property and mineral
, including substantial holdings in
, Kummer and Black Diamond.
the 1950s Palmer continued to operate underground and surface coal
mines in the Black Diamond, Ravensdale and
coal fields. With its
newly acquired land base, Palmer expanded into timber sales and
other extractive operations such as red cinders, clay, silica
sand, and gravel. Palmer’s
business evolved from exclusively underground coal mining to
include surface coal mining. In
1958 several land sales and trades were undertaken to consolidate
Palmer’s land and mineral resource base.
However, with the increasing availability of cheap
oil, inexpensive electricity, and abundant natural gas, coal
diminished in importance.
In the early 1960s, the second generation of Palmer owners assumed
management of the company, as the first generation retired.
They consisted of John H. Morris’ four children: Jack A.
Morris, Evan D. Morris Sr., Betty (Morris) Falk, Pauline (Morris)
Kombol, and Jonas Morris’ son, George E. Morris.
In 1975, Palmer Coking Coal Company
closed the last underground coal mine in the state of
No. 3 mine near Ravensdale, though Palmer continued surface mining
and reclamation work at several nearby sites until 1986. Over the
fifty-three year period (1933-1986), Palmer mined and sold nearly
2.4 million tons of clean coal fueling thousands of homes,
businesses and institutions. In
1997, Palmer was honored by the Washington State Department of
Natural Resources with the first ever “Special Recognition
Award” for reclamation work done at our last coal mine, the
McKay – Section 12 Surface Mine in Black Diamond.
early 1970s a number of Palmer properties in the Green River Gorge
were sold to Washington State Parks and became the centerpiece of
Gorge Conservation Area. In
the mid 1980s Palmer sold most of its 1,800 acres of land in the
area, as this property became the focal point of the
. Palmer’s tradition
of working closely with park and open space agencies has continued
through the preservation of important local resources including:
the Lake Sawyer Regional Park, Cedar River waterfront near
Landsburg, the east end of Lake Twelve, Jones Lake in Black
Diamond, the Hyde Lake to Deep Lake Greenway near Cumberland, Icy
Creek above the fish hatchery, and additional components of the
Green River Gorge / Franklin heritage site.
the past four decades Palmer Coking Coal Company has expanded into
new business opportunities in sand, gravel, topsoil, landscape
products, rental real estate, and land development.
Today, Palmer’s retail and wholesale product line
includes over thirty sand, gravel and rock products; dozens of
landscape products; different mixes of topsoil and compost;
firewood; and stream restoration materials.
To learn more about our company and products, please visit
our website at www.palmercc.com
or check us out on Facebook.
Many have asked about the origin of our name Palmer Coking
Coal Company. It was
coined by company founder, John Henry Morris.
“Palmer” (also known as Kanaskat) was a well-known
junction on the Northern Pacific’s important east-west railway
line. A “coking
coal” was a superior burning, low-ash coal favored by home
heating and commercial customers alike.
With thirty or more companies competing for a share of the
declining coal business, coking coal shipped from Palmer, but
mined in nearby Durham, Bayne and Occidental, provided the company
with the marketing edge it needed to survive the 1930s and the
Great Depression. To
learn more about our company’s roots and the heritage of coal
mining go to historylink.org.
Generations of Tradition: Voice of The Valley, Maple Valley, WA
March 12, 2003
Life after Coal: King County Journal, August 9, 2003
Mining family history for coal: Puget Sound Journal, June 23, 2005
PCCC supplies Safeco field cinders: Eumclaw Courier Herald, August
Mining Reclamation Success - Palmer McKay Section 12 Surface Mine
State honors coal mine reclamation: Puget Sound Business Journal
Sept 19, 1997
Rogers No. 3 Last Underground Mine
Morris Brothers Coal Mining Company
Durham, Washington: Coal Mining Town
Coal Mining in an East Pierce County Area known as Pittsburg
(1889-1909), Spiketon (1910-1916)
Historylink.Org - Coal in the Puget Sound Region
of Coal in King County
Gorge: Journal, June 8, 2003