Coal Cove, Port Graham

Coal Cove is on the north shore of Port Graham in Cook Inlet. It was named by Captain Nathaniel Portlock on July 25, 1786. Coal Village was the location of a coal mining operation established by the Russian American Company in 1855, and was for a time the third largest settlement in Russian Alaska, exceeded only by Kodiak and Sitka. Russian history recorded 20 houses, a church, a warehouse, a sawmill, a blacksmith shop, stables, a small foundry and mining structures. Some accounts claim Russian convicts worked the mine, while others say Alaska natives provided the labor. The company used the coal primarily to fuel a steamship, and thousands of tons of coal were mined over a 12-year period from an open-pit until 1860 when a fire destroyed the main steam engine, The company abandoned the village in 1865. After the Alaska purchase in 1867 the lignite (a low-grade coal) was used locally and for steamships until the early 1920s. The site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, and at that time it was overgrown, with remnants of building foundations, the stone dock, a railway, and other artifacts still discernible. Click the picture below and download CoastView to explore more of Coal Cove and Port Graham.