Aladdin Tipple - Aladdin Tipple History - Aladdin, WY
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member QuarrellaDeVil
N 44° 38.321 W 104° 09.750
13T E 566421 N 4943154
Quick Description: A sign in front of the tipple at the Aladdin Tipple Historical Interpretive Park, Aladdin, WY, provides some background on the railroad that operated in the area when this and other local mines were still open.
Location: Wyoming, United States
Date Posted: 7/4/2020 8:28:08 AM
Waymark Code: WM12QV2
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member jhuoni
Views: 1

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 photo of the railroad operation "back in the day", and it reads:

The Aladdin Tipple in Crook County, Wyoming, was constructed as part of the Aladdin coal mining operations. In 1898, an 18-mile-long short line known as the Wyoming and Missouri River Railroad was built to connect coal mines near Aladdin with the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad main line at Belle Fourche, South Dakota. The railroad linked the coal mines at Aladdin with the gold smelters at Lead and Deadwood. The Black Hills Coal Company, which built both the mine and the Wyoming and Missouri River Railroad, was founded in 1895. The Chicago and Northwestern Railroad surveyed the route and assisted in developing the short line to Aladdin by supplying rolling stock and construction supplies. In 1899, M.S. Kemmerer, who was at the time developing the Kemmerer coalfields, bought the controlling interest in Aladdin mines and the Wyoming and Missouri River Railroad. Kemmerer's purchase of the mines and railroad ensured the venture would have sound financial backing. However, like many short lines in the region, the Wyoming and Missouri River Railroad had a history which was more colorful than profitable, and when coal supply dwindled, the railroad was eventually abandoned.
Marker Name: Aladdin Tipple History

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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