Aladdin Tipple - Tipple Operation - Aladdin, WY
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member QuarrellaDeVil
N 44° 38.323 W 104° 09.750
13T E 566421 N 4943159
Quick Description: A sign in front of the tipple at the Aladdin Tipple Historical Interpretive Park, Aladdin, WY, provides some background on how this thing worked.
Location: Wyoming, United States
Date Posted: 6/29/2020 7:05:00 PM
Waymark Code: WM12Q29
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member jhuoni
Views: 0

Long Description:
There were once signs at the gate, one simply identifying this as "Aladdin Tipple Historical Interpretive Park", and the other reading "Crook County State of Wyoming". For whatever reason -- probably related to the precipitous nature of the tipple, but maybe it was just vandals -- those signs are missing, although the gates are open to the public, with barbed wire fences to protect both the tipple and visitors. There are multiple signs warning of the tipple's instability, so see this one safely while you still can. The county probably placed the interpretive signs that can be see throughout the park, both in front of the tipple and at the end of the trail at the top of the hill.

This sign is one of several behind the fence in front of the tipple, but it is not difficult to photograph or read from outside. Below the text is a rendering of the tipple, identifying its components, and it reads:

The structure before you is one of the last historic wooden coal tipples left in the west. The wooden tipple structure is an example of mine engineering technology used in the late 1800's and early 1900's. This type of structure is no longer used in the coal mining industry.

The tipple consists of two distinct parts: the coal bin, which is the large gable-roofed structure (uphill portion) and the chutes (downhill portion). The gable-roofed structure would receive and store the coal for the sorting and loading process. When the door at the bottom of the bin was opened, the tapered, funnel shape of the bin floor would gravity feed the coal to the chute system. The chute system was constructed in such a way as to allow nut-sized, egg, and lump-sized coal to be sorted as it traveled by gravity down the slope of the tipple. Their are three transloading chutes for dumping sorted coal into the train cars. Prior to sediment eroding from the hillside above, there was sufficient room under the two lower bays for train cars. The third track was loaded from the chute on the south face of the tipple.

The remains of a catwalk are visible on the east side of the tipple. From the catwalk the tipple operator would coax the coal down the chute, pulling and poking the coal with a handled tool.
Marker Name: Tipple Operation

Marker Type: Rural Roadside

Addtional Information:
There are a total of eight signs that provide information about the tipple. All but one are protected by the fence that protects the tipple -- and you -- but all are readable. Together, they include some vintage photos and provide enough information for a narrative:

The coal tipple is at the site of old Bakertown, and Aladdin is the last coal mining settlement of those that included Barrett Town and Hay Creek. This was "Aladdin No. 1", which began operation in 1898, operated by the Black Hills Coal Co. A train line carried coal from Aladdin to nearby Belle Fourche, SD and then to parts elsewhere.

Of course, it was common to use immigrants from all over as labor, not only because they worked cheaply, but also because language was often a barrier to communication, which impeded their banding together and unionizing. An 1899 report indicated that the average number of men employed was 35, but that year, they had 80. Coal Mining 101 is basically that a miner would "soften up" a coal face with a pick, plant charges, blast, and then shovel the coal into cars for transport out of the mine.

The tipple consists of two parts: The coal bin is the large gable-roofed structure, where coal was received and sorted, while the chutes would further sort and carry the coal, using gravity, to the bottom. The remains of a catwalk are visible on the east side of the tipple, and an operator on the catwalk would help to guide the coal as it made its progress downwards. You can get a peek at the entrance and hoist house by following the path up to the top of the hill. You'll also pass the old fan housing, which was installed in later years to improve ventilation.

The mine had its peak year in 1901 when it produced 40,000 tons of coal, but by 1911, it was down to 1,000 tons. Focus had shifted away from industrial production by 1911, and later efforts were for domestic use such as heating and cooking. By the 1940s, operations had ceased, and the mine entrance was blown shut by the end of the decade over obvious concerns about an open adit. Besides Mother Nature's normal wear and tear as she attempts to pull down the tipple, there is an interesting sign at the top of the hill about bioremediation and how the coal waste ("slack"), fungus, and trees on the site are all working together to clean up the mess that mankind left behind when the mine was closed.



Group Responsible for Placement: Crook County, WY

Web link(s) for additional information: [Web Link]

Date Dedicated: Not listed

Marker Number: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Please post a photo of you OR your GPS at the marker location. Also if you know of any additional links not already mentioned about this bit of Wyoming history please include that in your log.
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