Robert Peloli and Wilkeson’s coal mining history

By Washington, Our Home|November 14, 2014|History, Mining, Western Washington|3 comments

My thanks to 91-year-old Robert Peloli – the last living coal miner in Wilkeson, his family, Wilkeson Mayor Bob Walker, Pierce County, and Dave Kellman, my intrepid videographer for this story. I think this is the best video we’ve done, and it’s a story near and dear to my heart. I hope you all enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed making it!

It’s a colorful look at Wilkeson’s coal mining history. See historic photos, meet the last living coal miner from Wilkeson and learn how the County is preserving the historic coke ovens. You can also check out my Wilkeson photo galleries on Flickr or Pinterest.

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About Washington, Our Home

My name is Erich R. Ebel. I was born in Spokane and moved to Colville, Bothell, Tacoma, and back to Spokane again, all before I was 14. I attended Washington State University in Pullman, graduated and moved back to Spokane. In 2000, I enlisted in the United State Army Reserve and spent six months at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Then it was back to Spokane. After six years, it was time to get out and see the world. And what better place to start than Las Vegas, Nevada!

I met my beautiful wife while working at KVBC-TV in Las Vegas, and after three years of suffering in the extreme heat and undeniably long nights, we were called back to Washington State. Landing first in Lakewood, we suffered for a year in an uncomfortably old and small apartment before a shooting and a kidnapping in our complex strongly urged us to leave town. After relocating to Lacey, we have now settled and spend as much time as we can exploring the fine facets of this beautiful state. From Tenino to Tonasket, Brewster to Blaine and Vader to Vancouver, I have enjoyed every moment of this great state.


  1. Very grateful to see this documentary of our beautiful Town of Wilkeson. I so agree with Robert, I too could never live anywhere else than my beloved town. I’ve lived here since 1957, met and married a Wilkeson boy. We had two beautiful children and raised them too is this beautiful town. No better place in the world to raise a family.
    I’m now a council member of this town, enjoying being a part of this community that helps build all of our futures here.
    Thank you for this beautiful documentary, especially recognizing our town icon, Robert Peloli, adorned and idolized by us all. A true living legend.
    Bambi Thawsh
    Wilkeson Resident & Proud of It!

  2. And thank YOU, Bambi, for being so dedicated to your hometown! Robert Peloli is a heck of a nice guy with countless stories to tell, and I’m honored that I had the chance to help him tell a few of them.

  3. I grew up in Wilkeson in the 80s and early 90s. At the time I couldn’t wait to move to the “big city”.
    I have missed Wilkeson ever since. I still drive through every now and again. I love that town!

    Bonnie Magnant (Voock back then)

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