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Photographs - Collections - 0051-00100 - #00082

Title: Coal Mining in Beulah, N.D.

Dates: 1917-1940s

Collection Number: 00082

Quantity: 237 items

Abstract: Images of coal mining and the Knife River Coal Mining Company in Beulah, N.D.

Provenance: Unknown

Copyrights: Copyrights to materials in this collection remain with the donor, publisher, author, or author's heirs.  Researcher should consult the 1976 Copyright Act, Public Law 94-553, Title 17 U.S. Code and an archivist at this repository if clarification of copyright requirements is needed.

Access: This collection is open under the rules and regulations of the State Historical Society of North Dakota.

Citation: Researchers are requested to cite the collection title, collection name, and the State Historical Society of North Dakota in all footnote and bibliographic references.

Historical Sketch
From Beulah, N.D. 1914-1989

Knife River Coal Mining Company, one of the largest lignite producers in North Dakota, began operation as the Beulah Coal Company in 1917. In that year the company sank an underground shaft located northwest of the Beulah power plant within the city of Beulah.

From 1917-1919most of the mining was done on what was called the upper level. This vein was located about 33 feet underground and averaged approximately 11 feet in thickness. Two years later plans were formulated to start an entirely new operation to be located approximately two miles north of the main line of the Northern Pacific railway. This was due to the inability to continue underground mining operations in the original location.

The company reorganized in 1922 under the name of Knife River Cola Mining Company and opened the new underground properties. A narrow-gauge railroad was constructed from the Beulah power plant site to the new operation and coal was transported by steam locomotives.

Lignite was loaded entirely by hand and all the underground hauling was done by mules in the working area and four-ton, direct-current, trolley-type locomotives in the main areas. By 1927 the mine was producing approximately 230,000 tons per year.

Knife River was acquired by Montana-Dakota Utilities co. in 1945. Additional loading machines and haulage locomotives were installed and by 1950 the mine was producing 418,000 tons with a work force of 125 men.

In 1952 Knife River purchased a large electric walking dragline along with additional equipment to work a new surface mining area east of the underground property. The underground operation was subsequently discontinued and by early 1953 all lignite was produced from the new operation, known as the North Beulah Mine.


00082-01              Mineworkers’ housing near the power plant, Beulah, N.D.
00082-02              Coal car enters the tipple
00082-03              Underground coal mine
00082-04              Coal miners pushing coal car in underground coal mine
00082-05              Underground coal mine
00082-06              Coal car rails at underground mine entrance
00082-07              Brick building, may be the mine office
00082-08              Coal miners with coal cars inside mine entrance
00082-09              Engine pulling coal cars
00082-10 – 11     Piles of earth removed in mining process
00082-12              Miners dumping coal onto conveyor belt to coal cars
00082-13              Miners dumping coal onto conveyor
00082-14              Coal Miners Union of Beulah picnic 1942
00082-15              Workers wearing respirators in front of entrance to Knife River Coal Mine
00082-16 – 17     Burning
00082-18 – 19     Destroyed equipment
00082-20              Bucyrus Erie “Belle”
00082-21              Coal miners using jaws to extract coal
00082-22              Entrance to Knife River Cola Mine
00082-23              Conveyor system sorting and dumping coal
00082-24              Tunnel through excavated coal walls
00082-25              Coal miner in background with excavated coal ready to load
00082-26              Knife River Coal shovel loading dump truck
00082-27              Coal shovel, “Beulah Belle”
00082-28              Shovel loading semi truck
00082-29              Man operating an International bulldozer
00082-30              Engine pulling coal cars 
00082-31              Sorting coal on conveyor
00082-32              Bucyrus Erie shovel loading coal in truck
00082-33              Dump trucks lined up to be loaded with coal
00082-34              Northern Pacific trains at tipple
00082-35              Aerial view of Knife River Power Station, Beulah, N.D.
00082-36              Main Street, Beulah, N.D.
00082-39              Knife River Power Station
00082-40              Men operating equipment in underground mine
00082-42              Tipple
00082-43              Knife River buildings
00082-44              Train pulling coal cars
00082-45              Trains
00082-46              Northern Pacific rail car at tipple
00082-47              Knife River Power Station
00082-48              Trainload of coal entering tipple               
00082-49              Knife River tipple
00082-50 – 51     Knife River Power Plant
00082-52              Miner with coal car underground
00082-53 – 54     Equipment in power station
00082-56 – 58     Coal cars in tipple
00082-59              Power plant

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