History: Photo Archive

  • 1930s
  • 1940s
  • 1950s
  • 1960s
  • 1970s+

Emil Usibelli at age 16c. 1909

Emil Usibelli, seen here at age 16, when he emigrated from Italy to America by ship. He arrived at Ellis Island with his family & then emigrated by train to Renton, Washington to meet his father who had preceded the family & raised enough to bring them all over.
(07-038 UCM Archive, Usibelli Family Collection)

 

 

Emil Usibelli in delivery truck
c. 1910 - 1930's

Emil worked as a miner, logger & rail car manufacturer in WA & BC. He started the Renton Fuel Co. & is seen here in his delivery truck prior to leaving for Alaska to seek work during the depression.
(07-029 UCM Archive,
Usibelli Family Collection)

Emil Usibelli at the Evan Jones Coal Mine

 

1935

Emil Usibelli came to Alaska in 1935 to work as an underground coal miner at the Evan Jones Coal Mine in the Matanuska Coal Field. He had recently married Rose Perretti, (later Rose Berry), who arrived later that winter.
(26-001 UCM Archive, Usibelli Family Collection)

 

Emil and Rose Usibelli in Suntrana

 

1936

Emil & Rose Usibelli (later Rose Berry) moved to Suntrana in 1936, where Emil went to work for the Healy River Coal Corp. as an underground miner & later as a contractor to supply mine timbers.
(01-001 UCM Archive,
Usibelli Family Collection)

Healy River Coal Corp. Crew

 

1930's

Austin E. 'Cap' Lathrop, (seated second from left), President of Healy River Coal Corp., with some of his Crew at Suntrana in the '30's.
(26-002 UCM Archive,
Candy Waugaman Collection)

 

Healy River Coal Corp. miners underground in Suntrana

 

1930's - '40's

Healy River Coal Corporation miners in the underground
at Suntrana. 
(20-023 UCM Archive)

Early view of Suntrana mining site in winter

 

1930's

An early view of Suntrana in winter, with the camp on the left & the mining site on the right, separated by the Healy River.
(01-010 UCM Archive,
Usibelli Family Collection)

Rose Usibelli on the pedestrian suspension bridge at Suntrana mine

 

1930's

Rose Usibelli (later Rose Berry) on the pedestrian suspension bridge over the Healy River, which connected the Suntrana mine site to the Suntrana camp site.
(8-010 UCM Archives,
Usibelli Family Collection)

Healy River Coal Corp. in Suntrana

 

1930's

Healy River Coal Corp. in Suntrana, seen here in the '30's, grew to one of the top two coal producers in the state, the other being the Evan Jones Mine.
(20-087 UCM Archive)

Healy River Coal Corp. Tipple at Suntrana with ARR railroad tracks

 

1930's

The Healy River Coal Corp.
Tipple at Suntrana with the ARR railroad tracks of the Healy Spur. Coal was loaded into rail cars via the tipple and transported to market via the ARR.
(10-007 UCM Archive)

Emil Usibelli logging operation

 

1938

Emil, (left), started a logging operation with his truck to supply underground timbers for Healy River Coal. He is seen here working with Thorella, (center), & his brother, John Usibelli, (waving on right).
(02-032 UCM Archive,
Usibelli Family Collection)

The Usibelli Family

 

1939

Thorella with John Usibelli & his family; wife Norma & children Cookie & Rollie, along with his brother Emil, & his family; wife Rose & baby son, Joe.
(01-021 UCM Archive,
Usibelli Family Collection)

 

Emil Usibelli and his son Joe, on his first Dozer in Suntrana

 

c. 1942

Emil, with son Joe, on his first Dozer in Suntrana around 1942. This used dozer, along with his logging truck, became the mining equipment utilized for surface mining - a first for coal in Alaska.
(02-043 UCM Archive, Usibelli Family Collection)

 

Early mining scene showing a method of loading a Truck wth a Dozer
c. 1943-48

Emil & partner T.E. Sandford opened a surface mine in 1943 east of Suntrana, to fulfill a one-year Army contract to supply Ladd Field (later Fort Wainwright) in Fairbanks with coal. This early mining scene shows a creative method of loading a Truck with a Dozer.
(02-054 UCM Archive, Usibelli Family Collection)

The first Usibelli and Sandford Crew

 

1943

The first Usibelli & Sandford (U&S) Crew in the pit with the truck & dozers.
(20-001 UCM Archive, Sandford Family Collection)

 

Creative solution for dumping coal from the truck into the tipple

 

1943-48

Innovation was a necessary ingredient to operational success, such as this creative solution for dumping coal from the truck into the tipple.
(20-006 - UCM Archive, Sandford Family Collection)

 

1943-48

The first U&S Tipple wasn't more than a gravity feed chute at Suntrana to load ARR coal cars. This loading method would occasionally knock the railroad cars over.
(02-058 UCM Archive, Usibelli Family Collection)

 

Emil Usibelli purchases his partner Sandfords's share and Usibelli Coal Mine, Inc. is incorporated in the Territory of Alaska

 

1948

Emil, (seated on stove in center), with his Crew, purchases his partner Sandfords's share & Usibelli Coal Mine, Inc. (UCM) is incorporated in the Territory of Alaska.
(02-045 UCM Archive, Usibelli Family Collection)

 

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Usibelli camp built in 1950

 

1950

Usibelli Camp, (seen here under construction), was built in 1950, just 2.5 miles east of Suntrana.
(05-038 UCM Archive, Ray Muellner Collection)

 

Usibelli Coal Mine surface mining operation

Early 1950's

Usibelli Camp, (in background), was built adjacent to the UCM surface mining operation, (in foreground).
(02-075 UCM Archive)

Usibelli Coal Mine crew at Usibelli Camp in front f the Mess Hall

 

Early 1950's

UCM Crew at Usibelli Camp in front of the Mess Hall in the 1950's.
(02-063 UCM Archive)

 

New Usibelli Coal Mine Tipple was built in Suntrana with crushers and screens

 

1950

A new UCM Tipple, with crushers & screens, was built at Suntrana, seen here looking up at the coal car load-out.
(08-012 UCM Archive, Ralph & Ann Carter Collection)

Cap Lathrop was killed at Suntrana in 1950 and the Healy River Coal Corp. was sold to Suntrana Mining Co. in 1952

 

1950's

Cap Lathrop was killed at Suntrana in 1950, & the Healy River Coal Corp. was later sold to Suntrana Mining Co. in 1952.
(11-001 UCM Archive)

 

Fire closed the Healy River Coal Underground Mine briefly

 

1950's

Fire closed the Healy River Coal Underground Mine briefly during WWII, causing a supply interruption of coal to the military. The Suntrana Mining Co. also had a fire in the 1950's, burning the old Healy River Coal Corp. Tipple to the ground.
(08-052 UCM Archive, Ralph & Ann Carter Collection)

Suntrana Camp houses with new Suntrana Mining Co. Tipple

 

1950's

Suntrana Camp houses in the 1950's, with the new Suntrana Mining Co. Tipple in background, left.
(21-053 UCM Archive)

 

Usibelli Coal Mine built an upper camp to house year-round, married employees

 

1950's

An upper camp was built at Usibelli Camp in 1951 to house year-round, married employees.
(12-014 UCM Archive, Ed & Helen Poor Collection)

Two-story bunk house was built at Usibelli Camp to house seasonal employees

 

1953

A two-story bunk house was built at Usibelli Camp to house seasonal employees. The old bunk house next to the mess hall was converted to a schoolhouse for the children of employees.
(11-077 UCM Archive)

Coal washing plant built above Usibelli Camp to remove rock found in No. 2 seam

 

1954

A coal washing plant, (seen here during construction), was built in 1954 above Usibelli Camp to remove rock found in No. 2 coal seam.
(12-001 UCM Archive, Anthony & Verna Mattielli Collection)

Tony Mattielli came to Usibelli from Cle Elum, WA

 

1954

Tony Mattielli came to Usibelli in 1954 from Cle Elum, WA for the construction of the Wash Plant and seasonally for several years for its summertime operation.
(14-006 UCM Archive, Anthony & Verna Mattielli Collection)

Usibelli Coal Mine Lorain 77 shovel loads a truck with coal

 

1950's

A UCM Lorain 77 shovel loads a truck, (T38), with coal.
(12-100 UCM Archive, Anthony & Verna Mattielli Collection)

Usibelli Coal Mine trucks hauled coal from the pit to the wash plant for cleaning

 

1950's

UCM trucks, (T29 seen here), hauled coal from the pit to the wash plant for cleaning.
(14-033 UCM Archive, Anthony & Verna Mattielli Collection)

Usibelli Coal Mine purchased the Suntrana Mining Co. in 1961

 

1961

UCM purchased the Suntrana Mining Co. in 1961, (whose Doodlebug is seen here), which was later converted to a man haul.
(15-009 UCM Archive)

 

Usibelli Coal Mine closed underground mining operations at Suntrana, but Tipple complex continued to be used

1962

UCM closed underground mining operations at Suntrana, but the Tipple complex, (seen here), continued to be used to crush & load coal into ARR coal trains.
(15-007 UCM Archive)

Emil unloads a new UCM International Harvester TD25 dozer

 

1960's

Emil unloads a new UCM International Harvester TD25 dozer from a railcar at Suntrana in the early 1960's.
(03-099 UCM Archive, Thorella Usibelli Collection)

 

One of the 35 ton Mac Trucks loaded with coal at Usibelli Camp

 

1960's

One of the 35 ton Mac Trucks loaded with coal at Usibelli Camp.
(06-066 UCM Archive)

Usibelli Camp view from the air

 

1960's

A Usibelli Camp view from the air in the 1960's, with the shop complex & bunk house in lower camp, family houses in upper camp & the Wash Plant in the background.
(07-047 UCM Archive, UCM Collection)

 

Emil Usibelli was killed in a mining accident in 1964 and his son Joe took over as President of UCM

 

1964

Emil Usibelli was killed in a mining accident in 1964 and his son Joe took over as President of UCM.
(07-041 UCM Archive, Usibelli Family Collection)

UCM established the Emil Usibelli Memorial Libratory at University of Alaska Fairbanks

 

1964

UCM established the Emil Usibelli Memorial Laboratory at University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) in 1964 to support education & research.
(03-096 UCM Archive)

 

Joe Usibelli was born in Suntrana, graduated from UAF in engineering, and was a graduate student in engineering at Stanford University when he took the help as President of UCM

 

1964

Joe Usibelli was born in Suntrana, graduated from UAF in engineering, & was a graduate student in engineering at Stanford University when he took the helm as President of UCM.
(05-097 UCM Archive, Usibelli Family Collection)

Joe Usibelli modernized UCM operations with upgraded equipment and physical plants

 

1960's - 80's

Joe Usibelli modernized UCM operations with upgraded equipment & physical plants. He also developed & implemented state-of-the-art communication & computer systems.
(26-014 UCM Archive, Usibelli Family Collection)

Usibelli Coal Mine constructed a new mdern Tipple at Suntrana in 1967

 

1967

UCM constructed a new modern Tipple at Suntrana in 1967.
(16-041 UCM Archive, Anthony & Verna Mattielli Collection)

Completed UCM Tipple at Suntrana

 

1967

The completed UCM Tipple at Suntrana sat on the same site as the original Healy River Coal Tipple.
(16-044 UCM Archive, Anthony & Verna Mattielli Collection)

Golden Valley Electric Assoc. started construction of a mine-mouth power plant in Healy in 1966

 

1966-67

Golden Valley Electric Assoc. (GVEA) started construction of a mine-mouth power plant in Healy in 1966.
(16-071 UCM Archive, Anthony & Verna Mattielli Collection)

Golden Valley Electric Assoc. completed construction of the 25 megawatt coal-fired Healy Power Plant No. 1 in 1967

 

1967

GVEA completed construction of the 25 megawatt coal-fired Healy Power Plant No. 1 in 1967, with fuel supplied by UCM via truck hauls.
(16-095 UCM Archive, Anthony & Verna Mattielli Collection)

Ed Poor, Superintendent; Warren Mattielli, Production Foreman; and Joe Usibelli, President of Usibelli Coal Mine

 

1970's

Left to right, Ed Poor, Superintendent, Warren Mattielli, Production Foreman (later VP of Operations)  & Joe Usibelli, President of UCM.
(26-016 UCM Archive, Ed Poor Collection)

 

Usibelli Coal Mine purchased the Vitro Mineral Mine

1970

UCM purchased the Vitro Mineral Mine, (whose Vitro Camp seen here), was several miles east of Usibelli Camp.
(17-089 UCM Archive)

Usibelli Coal Mine became the only remaining commercial coal mine operating in Alaska

 

1970

UCM became the only remaining commercial coal mine operating in Alaska. Usibelli Camp is seen here in 1970 from a hilltop above.
(17-087 UCM Archives)

 

A UCM coal mining pit with exposed coal face on the right

 

1970's

A UCM coal mining pit with exposed coal face on the right.
(17-069 UCM Archive)

UCM began a Land Reclamation Program in 1971

 

 

1971

UCM began a Land Reclamation Program in 1971. The program was very successful, as evidenced by the grass grown on this test plot.
(26-013 UCM Archive)

 

A herd of Alaskan Dall Sheep grazing on grass at a reclaimed mine site

 

1970's

A herd of Alaskan Dall Sheep is seen here grazing on grass at a reclaimed mine site. This became a regular sighting & UCM led the effort to close the area to hunting.
(17-093 UCM Archive)

Hough front-end loaders loaded International Harvester 45 ton Trucks in a UCM pit in the 1970s

 

1970's

Hough front-end loaders loaded International Harvester (IH) 45 ton Trucks in a UCM pit in the 1970's.
(26-023 UCM Archive)

 

Usibelli Coal Mine Trucks hauled coal from the pit to the tipple at Suntrana

 

1970's

UCM Trucks hauled coal from the pit to the tipple at Suntrana.
(26-025 UCM Archive)

The UCM Tipple being loaded ARR coal trains at Suntrana for delivery to customers in Fairbanks

 

1970's

The UCM Tipple being loaded ARR coal trains at Suntrana for delivery to customers in Fairbanks.
(26-028 UCM Archive)

Joe Usibelli, handed off daily operations to his oldest son, Joe Usibelli Jr., who succeeds him as President in 1987

 

1987

Joe Usibelli, (seen here with the Dragline), handed off daily operations to his oldest son, Joe Usibelli Jr., who succeeds him as President in 1987.
(10-089 UCM Archive, Robert Usibelli Collection)

Joe, UCM Chairman and Joe Jr., UCM President are seen here with a 75 ton Wabco Truck in the background

 

1987

Joe, UCM Chairman & Joe Jr., UCM President are seen here with a 75 ton Wabco Truck in the background.
(0-088 UCM Archive, Robert Usibelli Collection)

 

 

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