Aladdin Tipple - Adit Entrance - Aladdin, WY
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member QuarrellaDeVil
N 44° 38.350 W 104° 09.720
13T E 566460 N 4943209
Quick Description: A sign in front of the tipple at the Aladdin Tipple Historical Interpretive Park, Aladdin, WY, provides some background on the adit entrance you see in front of you, along with some information about the now-sealed mine.
Location: Wyoming, United States
Date Posted: 7/13/2020 6:45:38 AM
Waymark Code: WM12THK
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 at the top of the hill, but it is not difficult to photograph or read from outside. Below the text is a vintage photo of miners and their horses, and it reads:

The adit, a horizontal entrance (located north of you), was extended into the sandstone cliff face with cut native sandstone blocks. The blocks were capped with large log beams spanned with small diameter ponderosa pine decking and then covered with rubble. The roof portal protected the coal miners from rocks falling from the sandstone outcrop above. The mine did not have a vertical shaft such as those often associated with hardrock mining, but instead inclined moderately down into the hillside following the flat sheet of the coal seam.

In 1900, the State Coal Mine Inspector reported that "the average number of employees was 65, the present number is 62. The miners received 75 cents per ton for mining." By 1904, production from the Aladdin Mine had dipped to such a point that only 30 men were employed (Sheridan Post, December 12, 1904).

Though coal mining was neither as glamorous nor as high paying as hardcore mining, the dangers were as real and the adverse health effects of black lung seemed inevitable for long-term miners. As was the case with all coal mines, accidents occured [sic]. Two "non-fatal casualties" were recorded at Aladdin in 1900. The first accident occured [sic] to Otto Carlson, a 44-year-old Swedish immigrant. His hand was smashed by falling rock in Aladdin No. 1. The other injury also took place in Aladdin No. 1 when a prop fell, striking a 51-year-old Scottish miner and breaking his right ankle.

The coal mine at its opening in 1898 was "supplied with natural ventilation" from a vertical shaft (located northeast of your location) in the face of the hillside above and east of the adit entrance. The remains of the fan housing, installed during later operations, is visible and marks the location of the now plugged shaft. The fan extracted air from the mine creating a negative pressure that sucked fresh air into the adit entrance.

Marker Name: Adit Entrance

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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