Guide to the Pacific Coast Company Photograph Album
circa 1875-1925

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Overview of the Collection

Creator: Pacific Coast Company
Title: Pacific Coast Company Photograph Album
Dates: circa 1875-1925 ( inclusive )
Quantity: 1 photograph album
Location of Collection: 2b.1.5
Collection Number: 1978.6585
Summary: Photograph album showing Pacific Coast Company mining, steamship and rail operations in Washington, California, Oregon and Alaska. Includes images of piers, coal bunkers, coal and passenger rail depots, warehouses and other buildings on and near company property.
Repository: Museum of History & Industry, Sophie Frye Bass Library
Contact Information: Sophie Frye Bass Library
Museum of History & Industry
P.O. Box 80816
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 206-324-1126
Fax: 206-780-1533
Languages: Collection materials are in English. 
Sponsor: Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical Note

The Pacific Coast Company rail, shipping and coal operations served the West coast from the mid 19th century until its last railways were abandoned or sold in the mid 20th century. Though the company was organized under the “Pacific Coast Company” name in late 1897, it comprised several existing organizations, most notably the Pacific Coast Steamship Co., Pacific Coast Coal Co. and the Pacific Coast Railway. In Seattle, the Columbia & Puget Sound Railroad, originally the Seattle & Walla Walla, became part of the Pacific Coast Railway in 1916. The several operations of Pacific Coast Co., which also included a cement company and engineering company, played an important role in the development of King County resources and the development of Seattle and outlying communities.

The company’s rail system, which began as a horse-drawn rail line near San Luis Obispo, developed into full-fledged narrow gauge and later, standard gauge railroads. A fleet of steamships, including the Umatilla and the Walla Walla, complemented the rail service, serving as coal carriers for the company’s mining operations, such as those at Newcastle, Franklin, Maple Valley and the Black Diamond mine. By the 1930s, the Pacific Coast Coal Co. was the top coal producing facility in Washington State. As shipments of coal gradually decreased, the Pacific Coast steamships were converted to passenger ships.

Content Description

The collection consists of one album containing 170 photographs on linen backing with typed captions on verso. The photographs depict the various properties and operations of the Pacific Coast Company and its various component companies, largely the Pacific Coast Coal Co., Pacific Coast Steamship Co. and Pacific Coast Railway. The bulk of the images depict facilities and operations in Washington and California, including a number of images of the Pacific Steamship Co. piers in Seattle photographed by Frank H. Nowell.

A few images from Oregon document the Pacific Coast Company coal bunker in Portland. Images from Alaska document the Pacific Coast Steamship Company wharves and coal bunker in Juneau and Pacific Coast Company properties under lease in Skagway and Nome.

Use of the Collection

Alternative Forms Available :  

A selection of these photographs is available in digital format in the Museum of History & Industry online collections.

Restrictions on Access :  

The collection is open to the public by appointment.

Restrictions on Use :  

The Museum of History & Industry is the owner of the materials in the Sophie Frye Bass Library and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from MOHAI before any reproduction use. The museum does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners.

Preferred Citation :  

Pacific Coast Company Photograph Album, Museum of History & Industry, Seattle

Administrative Information

Arrangement :

The photographs in the album were stamped with numbers by the creator. In cases of multiple photographs with the same number, letters have been added to distinguish them, e.g. 3a, 3b,etc. Each linen-backed photograph constitutes one page of the album.

Geographic series and subseries reflect the organization of the index on the first pages of the album.

Acquisition Information :  

Donated by Major Vernon Bunch from the Salvation Army in 1978.

Related Materials :  

Additional photographs of Pacific Coast Coal Co. operations are available in MOHAI's Webster & Stevens collection (1983.10).

Photographs of the Pacific Coast Railroad Company from the Maple Valley Historical Society are available online at King County Snapshots.

Bibliography :  

    Best, Gerald M. Ships and narrow gauge rails: The story of the Pacific Coast Company. Berkeley: Howell-North, 1964.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Photographs stamped with Frank Nowell's name are attributed to him below; however, many others without attribution are also believed to have been taken by Nowell.
1 General office building, Pacific Coast Co., 77 Washington St.
Frank H. Nowell, Seattle (photographer)
2 Pacific Coast Steamship Co. piers and Columbia & Puget Sound passenger depot and team tracks
3a Pier A with steamer Umatilla in berth
Frank H. Nowell, Seattle (photographer)
3b Pacific Coast Steamship Co. pier A
4a Pacific Coast Steamship Co. Pier B with steamer City of Seattle in dock
Frank H. Nowell, Seattle (photographer)
4b Pier B with Admiral Dewey in dock
5a Columbia & Puget Sound R.R Pier C showing brick warehouse fronting Railroad Ave and steamers Gleaner and City of Seattle
Frank H. Nowell, Seattle (photographer)
5b Pier C with ships in dock
6a Pacific Coast Steamship Co. Pier D with steamer Spokane in dock
Frank H. Nowell, Seattle (photographer)
6b Waterfront view of Pier D (Pacific Coast Steamship Co.)
7a Pier D from Railroad Avenue
Frank H. Nowell, Seattle (photographer)
T.F. Clark building, Washington Stevedore Co. building, Draper Engine Works and Railroad Company storage.
7b Pier D from Railroad Ave. showing Pacific Coast Steamship Co. building
8 Barrels and crates in Pier D building
9 Washington Stevedoring Company building and Columbia & Puget Sound Railroad cement shed
10a Coal bunkers
Frank H. Nowell, Seattle (photographer)
10b Waterfront view of coal bunkers
10c Coal depot facilities
10d Panorama of coal depot showing steamer loading towers, crane tracks, retail bunkers and storage space
11a Columbia & Puget Sound R.R. roundhouse, shops and office building property between coal bunkers and Railroad Ave.
11b Office building, shops and garage on Dearborn St..
12a-b Office building occupied by Sales Department of Pacific Coast Coal Co. and agent and dispatchers of Columbia & Puget Sound Railroad Company
Frank H. Nowell, Seattle (photographer)
13a Columbia & Puget Sound Railroad roundhouse
13b Outfitting wharf of Pacific Coast Engineering Company
Frank H. Nowell, Seattle (photographer)
14 Building leased to Western Hardware & Metal Co. at First Ave. South and Railroad Way.
15a-b Occidental warehouse, Oriental warehouse and Washington Cold Storage building at Pier 11
Frank H. Nowell, Seattle (15b) (photographer)
16 Northern Pacific cars on tracks, Vashon Sand Gravel Co. and Seattle Fish & Cold Storage Co. building
17 Great Northern and Northern Pacific rail cars on tracks in front of Independent Asphalt Company.
18a Overhead walkway from waterfront to First Ave. and Pike Street
Frank H. Nowell, Seattle (photographer)
18b Northern Pacific trestle along shore of Lake Union showing frontage owned by Pacific Coast Coal Co.
Frank H. Nowell, Seattle (photographer)
19a Trestle and bunkers of Cascade Coal Co.
19b Georgetown yard of Pacific Coast Coal Co.
Frank H. Nowell, Seattle (photographer)
20, 21a View across Lake Washington of Pacific Coast addition property
21b-c Madison Park yard on Lake Washington showing lake frontage and barges
Frank H. Nowell, Seattle (21b) (photographer)
21d Tug S.L.Dowell on Lake Washington
Frank H. Nowell, Seattle (photographer)
21e-f Pacific Coast Coal Co.'s barge William H. Smith
Cardinell Vincent Co., San Francisco (photographer)
22 Columbia & Puget Sound depot
23 Columbia & Puget Sound ticket office and freight warehouse
Coal Creek
24 Columbia & Puget Sound ticket office, and powerhouse and bunkers at Ford Mine
25a Ford Mine top works
25b Wash house for miners
Frank H. Nowell, Seattle (photographer)
26a Ford Mine bunkers
26b Coal Creek Hotel
Frank H. Nowell, Seattle (photographer)
27 Coal Creek Saw Mill
Maple Valley
28 Columbia & Puget Sound train depot
Black Diamond
29 Columbia & Puget Sound train depot
30 Pacific Coast Coal Co. General Merchandise store
31 Men on steps of mine office
32 Mine superintendents' homes
33 Top works at Mine 11
34 Powerhouse and bunkers at Mine 11
35 Mouth of slope at Mine 11
36 Trestle to bunkers and powerhouse, and engine room at Mine 14
37 Engine room, power house, machine shop and warehouse at Mine 14
38 Mine B bunkers
39 Store
40 New houses under construction near train tracks
41 Cannon Mine coal bunkers under construction
42 Cannon Mine power plant
43 Cannon Mine trestle across Green River and mount of mine
43a Men near revolving tipples at Cannon Mine bunkers
43b Men at picking table at Cannon Mine bunkers
44 Gem mine portion of top works
45 Columbia & Puget Sound rock quarry
Frank H. Nowell, Seattle (photographer)
46 Store, meat market and warehouse
47 Train tracks and houses in ravine
48 Mine office and houses in ravine
49-51 Burnett mine top works
Frank H. Nowell, Seattle (49b,c) (photographer)
52 Power house
53a Miners' houses
Frank H. Nowell, Seattle (photographer)
53b Men and carts at mouth of slope at Issaquah Mine
53c Loaded mine cars on bunker trestle
53d Miners at picking table
53e Miners machine mining coal
53f Power house and transformers
53g Hotel building
53h Panorama of miners' dwellings
53i Miners' dwellings on Second Ave.
54 Pacific Coast Coal Co. depot
55a View of coal yard from waterfront showing tug, bunkers and storage piles
55b Coal depot site
56a Coal depot from Dock Street showing office, crane, retail bunkers and Northern Pacific spur
56b Waterfront view of property acquired for new coal depot
57a Horse drawn wagon near retail bunkers
57b Train tracks and buildings (near newly acquired property)
58a Crane moving coal from cars to retail bunkers
58b Buildings on property acquired by company

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59 Waterfront view of Pacific Coast Coal Co. bunker
60 Rear view of bunker showing cart on tracks
61 Side view of bunker

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San Francisco
63 Beale St. block (with overlay outlining Pacific Coast Company's property)
Gabriel Moulin, San Francisco (photographer)
64 View of lumberyard, company property and warehouse (with overlay outlining properties)
Freeman (photographer)
65 Pacific Coast Steamship Company warehouse
Watsonville Landing
66, 67 Warehouses near Elkhorn Slough
Moss Landing
68 Wharf and warehouse
69 Warehouses and Pacific Coast Steamship Co. wagon bridge across Salinas River
70 Warehouses across Moro Cojo Slough
71 Birds-eye view of Moss Landing
72, 73 Pacific Coast Steamship Co. wharf and warehouse
Swain photo (photographer)
Soquel (Capitola)
74, 75 Wharf
Ravnos, Capitola, CA (photographer)
Camp Goodall
76 Cottages and bridge
77 Buildings near sand dunes
78, 79 San Buena Ventura wharf
San Pedro
80-82c San Pedro property; wharf under lease to B.P. Lumber Co.[sic] 8 pages
San Diego
Herbert R. Fitch, San Diego (photographer)
83 Wharf
84a Warehouse
Port San Luis
84b Pacific Coast Railway Co. wharfs
85 Waterfront and wharf with Hotel Marre pictured
86 Port San Luis wharf
87 Approach to wharf
88 New Pacific Coast Railway wharf
88b Port Harford Asphalt Co., Avila, CA and Whaler's Island 1912 February 12
88c County wharf and Pacific Coast Railway wharf
San Luis Obispo
89 Shops, depot, turntable and round house
90 Grain warehouse and bean cleaner
91 Pacific Coast Coal Co. lumber office
92 Men working at planing mill
93 Lumber yard
94 Ensign-Baker asphalt refinery at crossing of the Pacific Coast and Southern Pacific Railways
Arroyo Grande
95 Howe Truss bridge
Nipomo & Santa Maria
96 Rock quarry between Nipomo and Santa Maria
97 Depot, bean cleaner and warehouse
98 Interior of bean cleaner
Louise Studio, Santa Maria (photographer)
99 Interior of grain warehouse
Louise Studio, Santa Maria (photographer)
100 Pacific Coast Railway Company electric car in front of the Santa Maria Hotel
101 Beet sugar factory
102 Depot an lumber yard
103 Train of oil cars, Cat Canyon branch
104 Reservoir of oil and Palmer pump station
Judkins Studio, Santa Maria (photographer)
105 Depot
106 Old Santa Maria oil fields near Bicknell
Los Alamos
107 Depot
Los Olivos
108 Car near frame trestle near Los Olivos
109 Los Olivos depot and grain warehouse
110 Los Olivos lumber yard and depot
111 Terminus of line in Los Olivos

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112 Pacific Coast Steamship Company wharf and bunkers, and curio shop
113a Waterfront with Pacific Steamship Company wharf and coal handling facility, Alaska-Juneau Mining Company hill in distance
113b Pacific Steamship Company dock from wharf
113c View of Juneau property showing old and new Pacific Steamship Company wharves, coal handling facility and coal bunkers, with mountains in distance
114a Franklin Street approach to Peoples Wharf
114b Wharf and cola handling facilities
114c Shops on street and approach to new wharf and coal depot property
115a View of central waterfront and business districts
115b Waterfront showing Alaska Steamship Company dock and Pacific Coast Company addition
115c Bird's-eye view of Juneau
Frank H. Nowell, Seattle (photographer)
116 Bird's-eye view of Skagway showing steamer City of Seattle at Moore's wharf and old Pacific Coast Company wharf
Case and Draper (photographer)
117 Panorama of Nome waterfront showing property owned by the Pacific Coast Company under lease to John J. Sesnon Co.
118 Panorama of John J. Sesnon Co. docks
Frank H. Nowell (photographer)
1907 October 16
119 John J. Sesnon Co. office
Frank H. Nowell (photographer)
1907 October 16
120 Panorama of John J. Sesnon Co.'s coal pile
Frank H. Nowell (photographer)
1907 October 17

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    • Corporate Names :
    • Columbia & Puget Sound Railroad
    • Pacific Coast Coal Company
    • Pacific Coast Railroad Company
    • Pacific Coast Steamship Co.
    • Geographical Names :
    • Ballard (Seattle, Wash.)
    • Black Diamond (Wash.)
    • Coal Creek (Wash.)
    • Form or Genre Terms :
    • Photograph albums
    • Subject Terms :
    • Coal mining
    • Industrial facilities
    • Railroad stations--California
    • Railroad stations--Washington (State)
      • Other Creators :
      • Nowell, Frank H., 1864-1950  ( photographer)

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