Roslyn, Washington, was a coal mining town located at the eastern base of the Cascade Mountains. The first commercial operations in Roslyn were initiated in 1886 by Logan M. Bullet, Vice-President of the Northern Pacific Coal Company, a subsidiary of the Northern Pacific Railroad. Within two years, the town’s population grew to over 1,000 as miners from the eastern United States and Europe were attracted by the work the coal company offered.
In 1888, the Knights of Labor instituted a strike that shut down the mines. The principal issue was the miners’ demand for an eight-hour day. The company recruited black miners from Virginia, North Carolina, and Kentucky to take the place of the striking miners. Special trains brought in over 300 black miners and their families during 1888 and 1889.
The migration represented the greatest increase in the black population of Washington Territory at that date. Once tension subsided, white and black miners worked together peaceably amid the constant danger of the job.
In 1963, the last of the working mines closed, and a way of life was gone. It’s been said that Roslyn became a ghost town soon after.