Where would you turn for references and resource materials? To a local library? Negative -- municipal libraries had little or no technical literature. To a government repository? Perhaps, if you were back in Washington, DC, and had access to the Library of Congress, but not locally. To a local university? No way -- the land grant colleges were recently established -- reports, journals and books were just beginning to accumulate on western university library shelves. If you wanted your research to be thorough and pay off, you would have gone to the Spokane, Washington offices of a mining engineer, mining industry newspaper publisher, mining association leader, and mine owner/operator -- my great uncle -- Lyndon King Armstrong.
Northwest Mines Handbook: A Reference Book of the Mining Industry of Idaho, Washington, British Columbia, Western Montana and Oregon, Volume 1, Sidney Norman, 1918.
We had noted briefly that L. V. Armstrong was listed as a druggist in the 1885 North Dakota territorial census.
Here is a brief report of my great uncle Lyndon's entire career, summed up by recent day archivists at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington.
Lyndon King Armstrong was born at Mukwonago, Wisconsin in 1859. From 1877 to 1890 he was a druggist, chemist and miner in the Dakota and Montana Territories. Settling in Spokane, Washington in 1890, he became the publisher of mining trade newspapers. He also established a mining engineering practice and was involved in certain business ventures in mining. Armstrong was a member and officer of many of the trade and professional organizations associated with mining in the Northwest, most notably the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers. Additionally he was active in the Spokane Chamber of Commerce and in various scientific and scholarly organizations, including the Northwest Scientific Association and the Eastern Washington Historical Society. He died in early 1942.Lyndon King Armstrong was namesake and uncle to my uncle Lyndon R. Foster. Lyndon "Red" Foster published a newspaper in Southern California, ran repeatedly for political office, and, in concert with civic and political allies, harangued the mafia right out of town (after his apartment was bombed). Both Lyndons were spirited advocates and promoters in their respective fields. Neither Lyndon Foster nor Lyndon Armstrong feared taking risks, breaking new ground, or going against the grain, if that is what it took.
Harrison, Idaho was close by to my uncle Lyn's office and home base in Spokane. The one-time logging and mining community is located on the shores of Lake Coeur d'Alene, 45 miles east and 15 miles south of Spokane. Its town newspaper, the Harrison Searchlight, published this homage to Lyndon King Armstrong during the twilight of his career.
He Visioned Spokane as the Mining Capitol of the West.
Years of Careful Study had Convinced the Nationally Known Engineer That the Fabulous Mineral Resources of this Inter-mountain Region Far Surpassed All Other Areas In Its Vast Mineral Wealth
This is the story of a Waukesha county Wisconsin boy who, with nothing to start with except a common school education and high courage, left home when only 18 years of age for the newly-discovered Black Hills mining region, and by great energy and close application to the study of the technical as well as the practical phases of the mining industry, finally became one of the country's foremost authorities on the geological, metallurgical and geographic aspects of the mineral areas of the northwest.
It is also the story of a lifetime spent in unselfish service and unprofitable and thankless labor in assisting in the the upbuilding of the mining industry in the Inland Empire region.
Lyndon King Armstrong ("L.K. to his friends) was born at Mukwonago in Waukesha county Wisconsin, in 1859, the son of John Adams and Laura (Hollembeck) Armstrong -- the mother of Holland-Dutch parentage, and the father of English-Scotch lineage.
Both parents were descendants of pre-Revolutionary War stock.
For several years his father served as a member of the Wisconsin state legislature, and also held other public offices.
Lure of the West.
In the early 60's J. A. Armstrong -- "I. K.'s" father -- visited the northwest. For a while he was with Fremont, "The Pathfinder." He traveled to California and then north through the Walla Walla country; to Lewiston and up into the newly-discovered Florence and Warren placer-gold districts, and the tales he told upon his return home, of his adventures into the early-day west during that hectic, gold-crazed period, undoubtedly fired the imagination of his half grown son and resulted in the lad joining the Black Hills gold rush in 1877, when only 18 years of age.
After a four-year sojourn in the Black Hills region, young Armstrong "pulled up stakes" and in 1881, joined in the early-day rush into Montana Territory, where he became a practicing chemist and pharmacist. It was there, in 1884, when he was 25 years of age that he wedded Charlotte Grandy. There his son, Halbert, was born in 1886, and in 1890 his young wife died.
That same year he moved to Spokane, Wash., where he has resided the past 47 years. And it was here, in 1896, that he married Lulu E. Hyatt, sister of D. C. Britt, former editor of the Chelan (Wash.) Leader.
Engages In Mining.
While in Montana, Mr. Armstrong had been engaged in mining and from the time he arrived in Spokane, up to the present, he has been closed identified with the mining industry and all that pertain to the development of the mineral resources of the northwest.
Mr. Armstrong believes that mining is the foundation of all industries and that the unparalleled progress of America is due to the development of its mineral resources. The true source of the nation's wealth lies in the mining industry instead of in agriculture or manufacturing as so many assert. All other pursuits or industries are merely minor parts of the national life, contributing to the national wealth and well being, but relying for their very existence upon mining.
If the World war has proven anything, he says, it has proven that the mines are our only source of wealth. When war was declared in 1914 there were thousands of American citizens in Europe, their pockets bulging with what bankers termed "gilt-edged" securities. But when the crisis came -- when war was declared -- their securities; their letters of credit; traveler's checks and paper currency were worthless -- of no value whatsoever. The had to have the actual gold and silver. And not until "Uncle Sam" sent over a warship with gold to pay their bills, were they able to get out of war-crazy Europe.
There would be no farming industry today if it were not for the miner -- no railroads; no electrical development; no lights; no homes in which to live; but for mining. The paper we read would not be possible if it were not for mining -- for the presses and the type come from mines.
The mining products and by-products represent two-thirds of the commerce of the world. Mining is the foundation of all government and all wealth, Armstrong asserts.
Starts Mining Publication
About two years after his arrival in Spokane, Mr. Armstrong, in 1897, purchased a paper called the Northwest Mining Review and in 1898 bought the Spokane Miner. Later these publications were merged into a paper called Mining, which he published until 1903.
In 1908 he became editor and manager of the Northwest Mining News and later purchased the paper which was then the only mining periodical published in the states of Montana, Idaho and Washington. Mr. Armstrong's practical as well as technical experience had made him particularly well qualified for editing a a paper of this character. His outstanding ability led to his selection to take charge of Washington's mineral exhibits at the Pan-American and Trans-Mississippi expositions and on several occasions he had charge of the mineral exhibits at local expositions.
The first mining exchange ever established in Spokane was organized by Mr. Armstrong and Warren Hussey, of the Spokane National Bank as president and himself as secretary. Each bank held a membership. This organization was for the purpose of exploiting the mineral resources of the region and maintaining a mining library and a reading room. Eventually it became an active stock exchange board, and was taken over by the city to be made a part of the chamber of commerce, which later discontinued it. In fact, the chamber of commerce seems to maintain a tradition of discontinuing worthwhile, forward looking projects.
Over 40 Years Service.
For over 40 years Armstrong has labored unceasingly toward the up-building of the mining industry in the Inland Empire -- spending virtually his entire time, energy and personal funds in that service -- unselfishly and without thought of personal gain. On certain occasions, so it is said, he defrayed most of the expense incident to entertaining nationally known scientists and geologists visiting this city for which the chamber of commerce took credit.
He gave his entire time, from 1912 to 1936 to the affairs of the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical engineers of which he was secretary treasurer for the Columbia sections. His valuable technical services have been given to the chamber of commerce without remuneration, and to the shame of the chamber of commerce and the State of Washington it can be said that no recompense or even acknowledgement of his services has been made.
During his lifetime he has built up and maintained at great personal expense, the largest, most complete and most valuable mining library in the Inland Empire. This valuable library should have been purchased, or at least maintained by Spokane. Its value as a reference for mining and technical purposes is beyond estimate. Thousands of persons have for years used it for information without cost, and without contributing one cent to its upkeep.
In the sunset of a long and useful life this slight-built erect pioneer "carries on" as bravely as in his youth. And he still believes the Inland Empire will, eventually, develop into the nation's greatest mining region, and incidentally into one of the country's most important industrial centers.
Nothing can better describe his standing as a nationally known technical authority than the citation of his membership in the most important scientific societies in the United States.
He belongs to the American Institute of Mining Engineers; the Canadian Mining Institute the American Electro-Chemical Society; the American Mining Congress; the American Society for the Advancement of Science; and the Northwest Mining Association. He also belongs to the National Geographic Society, the Western Conservation League and other societies of lesser importance.Uncle Lyndon's marriage to Lulu Hyatt begat two children not mentioned above -- Helen and Marion Armstrong. They made their home at 2129 S. Grand in Spokane.
Following is a sampling of the numerous contemporaneous reports on Lyndon King Armstrong's professional life.
Lyndon dug mines -- gold, lead, silver, copper and more, including as one example, a copper mine in Chewlah, Washington.
|Spokane Chronicle, October 9, 1916|
WORK PROGRESSING AT SECURITY MINE
Shaft Now Down 495 Feet and Drift Will Be run to Copper Ledge. ___________
Fine progress mas been made on the Security Copper company's property, according to word from Chewlah. The shaft is now down 495 feet and will reach the 500-foot level this week. From this point, L. K. Armstrong, the manager of the property, will run a drift to the ledge, which on the surface is shown to have great width.
Work will be commenced this week making the station and sump from which the drift will be run. With the two shifts now employed it is expected that the ledge will be cut by the end of the year. Mr. Armstrong is spending most of his time at the mine.Here are the coordinates of Lyndon's Security Copper mine on a modern day map, shown just outside of Chewlah, Washington, approximately 50 miles, north northwest of Spokane, Washington.
The town of Chewlah was established originally as an agricultural center, but quickly became known for its mines.
Initially Chewelah was a typical pioneer settlement, being an agricultural center as far back as the early 1870s and having its share of prospectors working the adjacent countryside as early as 1842. The town was platted in 1884 and became known for being a rough and tumble mining town; the first lead and silver mines were established around 1886, and others followed in Embry and surrounding areas.
By 1905 the population had reached 650 souls, and within a few years many prosperous copper, silver, lead, and a few gold mines were flourishing in the area. The most successful ore mined in Chewelah was magnesite. This mineral was used for making bricks and furnace linings that could withstand high temperatures. Magnesite was also an important ingredient for making high-quality steel that was in high demand during World War I. Austria had previously been the main provider of magnesite for the country, but production was interrupted by the War. By 1916 Chewelah's plant was said to be the largest producer of magnesite in the country, and at full production was the largest producer in the world, shipping some 700 tons daily. During the war there were as many as 800 people working at the plant making high temperature-resistant refractory brick.Uncle Lyndon wrote on the geology of the Chewlah district and shared his professional mining insights with all comers (the write-up is a bit dense, feel free to skim or skip).
Lyndon also mined on Chamokane property, near Springdale, 50 miles northwest of Spokane.
CHAMOKANE BEING OPENED
Armstrong and associates at work on Springdale property.
Ore has been disclosed at several places on the Chamokane property, 16 miles west of Springdale, according to L. K. Armstrong, mining engineer, who with associates, is engaged in its development.
"We have several veins," said Mr. Armstrong yesterday. "There is three and one-half feet of ore in a 100-foot vein near the surface, and ore has been opened at two places half a mile apart in a vein. We are drifting on a vein at a depth of 100 feet. The work will give us 50 feet of backs under a point from which several carloads of ore were shipped by predecessors will give us a change to test conditions.Lyndon was active in acquiring, capitalizing and incorporating mines and mining interests.
|Spokane Chronicle, July 22, 1931|
STRONG MINING GROUP READY TO EXPLOIT NEW DISTRICT________
Articles of incorporation for Leadhill Mines Inc. were filed at Olympia today with a capitalization of $625,000.
This is important in the mining world because this is the corporation which is taking over the extensive holdings of the Bunker Hill & Sullivan Mining company and those of L. K. Armstrong and associates in the Slate creek section of the Metaline district in the northeastern corner of the state.
Newest Northwest Camp.
Mining men point out it is import because it means unlimited capital will be in reach to develop the newest mining camp in the northwest. It is important to Spokane because this is a apart of the the Metaline district which is immediately tributary to Spokane and already attracting great attention because of the extensive operation and rich recoveries of the Pend Oreille Mines and Metal company.
Incorporators of the Leadhill company are L.K. Armstrong of Spokane, T.F. McCarthy of Ione, Wash., and W.A. Moss of Pullman.
Bunker Hill and other interests will be represented when the organization is complete.Lyndon Armstrong prospected coal fields as well as precious metal deposits.
|Spokane Chronicle, July 15, 1920|
PLAN TO OPEN UP NEW COAL FIELD
Spokane & Alberta Company to Work Property Near Crows' Nest.
L. K. Armstrong of Armstrong & Semple, mining engineers, reports that the Spokane & Alberta Coal and Coke company will immediately start the work of opening up its property four miles from Crow's Nest station on the Canadian Pacific railroad. Mr. Armstrong recently made an examination of the property and then went to Toronto on the same business.
As a result of these trips the company will commence work at once. Surveys, maps and plats of the property will be made, terminal locations determined upon, and a railroad built four miles long to the property. Railroad construction the company hopes to start this fall. There are several veins of coal, the veins being from four to 60 feet thick.Lyndon Armstrong was a leader and organizer of people and interests in the mining industry -- locally, regionally, nationally and reaching across the border into Canada.
NORTHWEST TO JOIN WITH MINING CANADA
Special to The Tribune.
SPOKANE, Wash., Dec. 19 -- Prominent engineers and representative operators in campus throughout the northwest, including the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta and the Alaska and Yukon territories, will meet in Spokane February 15 to 17 to organize an international mining congress. The Spokane Mining Men's club, the Spokane Chamber of Commerce and the Inland Empire Federation of Commercial clubs will be hosts. Washington and northern Idaho will be accompanied by bands. The sessions are to take place in the state armory, where there also will be exhibits or ores and machinery. The committee in charge is composed of L. K. Armstrong, J. T. Omo, W. W. Gifford, J. C. Haas and J. W. Turner of the local mining club.
The Salt Lake City Tribune, December 20, 1911
"Arrangements are being made to entertain at least 1000 mining men of the western country," said L. K. Armstrong, president of the Spokane Mining Men's club. "and in addition there will be speakers from various parts of the United States and Canada, east of the Rocky mountains. The chief purpose of the meeting is to organize a congress which will be of the most benefit to the entire northwest and the mining industry as a whole."
"We have been assured that the chamber of commerce and the Federation of Commercial clubs of the Inland Empire will assist in every way in making the coming convention a success. Operators and prospectors will be entertained by the first-named organization at its next luncheon, when the convention plans will be discussed in detail. The success of the meeting means much to the northwest."
"I have talked with some of the foremost operators in the northwest in the last two weeks and all are in favor of forming a congress to take in actual mining men on both sides of the line, and it is with that end in view we are planning the convention."Lyndon Armstrong was secretary of the Columbia section of the America Institute of Mining Engineers.
|Spokane Spokesman Review, January 6, 1928|
MINING INSTITUTE TO FEAST, ELECT
Columbia Section Arranges Good Program for Annual Meeting.
The 17th annual meeting of Columbia section, A. I. M. E., will be held tomorrow evening, to be preceded by a dinner and followed by an exposition of scenes in the South American jungles, according to an announcement from L, K. Armstrong, secretary.
There will be an election of officers for 1928 and the reorganization of the executive committee. The dinner will start at 630 in the Elizabethan room, Davenport hotel. Several outside members will be present, some of whom will be accompanied by their ladies. Spokane members will also bring their ladies and such other guests as they may desire.
Membership is scattered over the interior of British Columbia, northern Idaho and eastern Washington as far west as the summit of the Cascades. Columbia section was the first rural section organized, and has averaged a membership of about 100. Only New York and Boston sections preceded Columbia in organization.Uncle Lyn's services were highly sought after by organizations in his field due to his leadership and organizational skills.
|Spokane Spokesman Review, February 7, 1928.|
ARMSTRONG IS SOUGHT______
WANTED FOR MANAGER OF MINING CONVENTION______
Has Secured Several Speakers and Has Done Much for Program_________On his return today from a professional mission, L. K. Armstrong, mining engineer, will be asked to become manager of the Northwest Mining convention, to be held here on February 27 to March 3. The success of Mr. Armstrong in conducting the assemblages of engineering, scientific and other bodies for many years, was spoken of at the luncheon of the Northwest Mining association in the Spokane hotel yesterday when plans were laid to obtain his services. He has passed several days in preparation of the program and has been instrumental in inducing several prominent mining men to state that they will appear.
Due to intense activity in real estate, Ralston McCain reported inability to obtain from building owners a lease of first-floor store space for the mining exhibit at a period so far ahead. The committee will proceed with the search.Lyndon was an organizer and promoter for the Washington state mining industry in exhibitions at home,
|The Leavenworth (Wa.) Echo, August 20, 1909.|
|Adams County News (Ritzville, Wa.), August 10, 1898|
|The Bismarck Tribune,|
March 19, 1912
GOVERNORS WILL TALK FORESTRY
SPOKANE, Wash., March 19 -- Governors of Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota and other states will be invited to deliver addresses and participate in the discussion and public land and utilities question at the annual meeting of the American Mining Congress in Spokane the last week of November. The federal government probably will be represented by Walter L. Fisher, chief of the forestry department and other prominent officials. Arrangements are being made for 5,000 delegates and visitors from various parts of this continent.
****"There are other questions of importance to be discussed," said L. K. Armstrong, president of the Spokane Mining Men's club, "and as now planned every one will have a hearing. We expect to make a congress that will be representative of all interests in the broadest sense of the term and we look for much good to follow."
"One of the movements already under way is to demand payment in gold or silver coin when checks are cashed at banks. We will not accept paper money. The Mining Men's club also will request business house and manufacturing concerns in this city and district to pay their employees in gold or silver. The West is purely hard money country, though the government is attempting to practically demonetize metal by making the banks of the country pay the high express rate on the silver and gold coined in our mints.When Lyndon's business travels took him back east, he was known to take advantage of the opportunity to visit relatives in North Dakota and Minnesota.
|Bismarck Tribune, February 18, 1935|
WESTERN WATER RIGHTS AND THE GOVERNMENT
Special to The Tribune.
SPOKANE, Wash., Sept. 5. -- Manufacturers organizations, commercial clubs, chambers of commerce and the residents of the western states will be invited by the Spokane Mining Men's club to join in a movement to determine what rights the federal government has in the water powers of the commonwealths west of the Mississippi river. It is planned to carry the question to the highest court, if necessary, in an effort to gain control for the states of the water powers withing their boundaries.
L. K. Armstrong, secretary of the Spokane Mining Men's club, who presented the plan at the last meeting of that organization, announced today that the campaign will be launched in a short time with a view to bringing the matter to the attention of the country.
The Salt Lake City Tribune, September 6, 1911
"We believe that in trying to maintain control of the water powers of the western commonwealths the government is violating a specific provision of the constitution of the United States," he said. "Before the constitution was signed the various states zealously guarded their own right to control all waters and water powers, which were not distinctly outside of the domain of any one state, and this right, we think, the states still have.
"The water powers are an inexhaustible source of wealth to the states and communities in which they are found and should be developed for the benefits of those districts. The oil, which is used largely by the railroads in the western country, is a decidedly exhaustible natural resource and so also will the coal supply one day run out: but water power will last forever, and if properly developed it will supply electrical energy to operate the railroads, mills, factories and mines of the entire west.Uncle Lyndon also fought a hard, but ultimately unsuccessful battle, to keep open western assay offices and mints.
OPPOSE THE CLOSING OF ASSAY OFFICES
SPOKANE, Wash., May 5 -- Spokane Mining Men's club, of which L. K. Armstrong is president, adopted the following resolution in reference to the recommendation of the congressional house committee on appropriations, in which it was recommended to abolish the mints at San Francisco, New Orleans and Carson City, and the assay offices at Boise, Charlotte, Deadwood, Helena, Seattle and Salt Lake.
The Salt Lake City Tribune, May 6, 1912
"Whereas, The closing of the mints and assay offices, as recommended by the congressional house committee on appropriations of the present congress, will drive the products of the mines to the east for refining and manufacturer, will reduced the margin of profit to the producer, discourage manufacture in the west, curtail the use of silver as money, prevent the operation of mines where the margin of profit is already small, discourage the prospector and miner, reduce the mineral production thereby and prevent the extraction of much of the low grade ore which will become a total loss to the nation, demoralize western industry and activity, and unfairly discriminate against the west, there be it,
"Resolved, That the member of this club are opposed to the suggested legislation as to mints and assay offices and hereby urge the members of both houses of congress to carefully analyze the proposed measure and oppose it in fairness to those sections of the country to be affected, and upon the broader principle it will prove harmful to the nation."That in later years these assay offices and mints were ultimately closed is a testament to a different era when government actually lived within its means and ceased spending and ended operations that became inefficient or outmoded, or could no longer be afforded.
Lyndon King Armstrong pushed the federal government to open Indian lands to prospecting and mining.
RUSH OF MINERS IS LOOKED FOR SOON
EXPECTED PASSAGE OF MINERAL BILL WILL CAUSE IT
OPENING OF RESERVATION
Permitting entry on mineral claims as is provided in Senator Jones' bill will start stampede -- Syndicates financing prospectors.
Spokane, Wash., Dec. 24 -- Veteran prospectors predict that the most important miners' rush in the history of the Northwest will follow the passage of a bill at this session of congress, opening to entry the mineral lands of the Spokane Indian reservation, northeast of the city. United States Senator Wesley L. Jones of Washington, who introduced the bill, advises the Spokane Chamber of Commerce that its adoption now seems assured.
****Enormous deposits of silver, copper and tungsten have been traced across the boundaries of the reserve, part of which was opened to homesteaders last spring, and at one time development work was underway on 70 claims, when the prospectors were ejected by agents in the employ of the United States government.
As for securities regulation (stock trading primarily) Lyndon and his mining peers supported disclosure requirements but opposed setting up review panels and regulatory hurdles.****L. K. Armstrong of Spokane, secretary of the Western Conservation association, who interested Senator Jones in the new measure, declares that the timber and mineral provisions were purposely left out of the original act opening the reservation, adding that, while the responsibility has not been fixed, he believes it was brought about by some one friendly to the Indian bureau.
Spokane, Wash., Dec. 1 --(AP) -- Delegates to the annual Northwest Mining association convention here today decided that "blue sky laws" and state securities acts do little to help the industry.
After round table discussion featuring the opening session, some 100 miners from the Northwest states and British Columbia agree there are laws enough now on the statue books to punish salesmen who would misrepresent values behind shares they sold.
Without a formal vote, however, it was agreed that legislation should be passed compelling the registration of financial and physical reports when a mining company is incorporated for the purpose of financing through sale of stock, and annual registration after incorporation.
Robert T. Banks, Spokane, was elected preside, succeeding F. Cushing Moore, Spokane. L. K. Armstrong, Spokane, was elected vice president, Leon Starmont, Spokane, secretary, and Charles T. Goodall, Spokane, treasurer.Lyndon lectured his peers on the proper identification of minerals.
|Spokane Spokesman Review, January 19, 1936|
PEGAMITE HAS KICK -- NOT BULL QUARTZ
L. K. Armstrong, addressing mining engineers last week at the Davenport protested the calling of any outcropping as "bull quartz," saying that in 99 out of 100 cases the cropping will be pegmatite.
There is too much of a disposition to carelessly classify a cropping, when it ought to be examined for its worth in economic and scientific minerals, he said. Mr. Armstong referred to pegmatite showings near Wild Rose prairie, eight miles northwest of Spokane and eight miles southeast of the city, near where some years ago, development for tin was undertaken.Bull quartz is quartz with no appreciable economic element. Pegmatite is quartz often containing "rare earth minerals and gemstones, such as aquamarine, tourmaline, topaz, fluorite, apatite and corundum, often along with tin and tungsten minerals, among others. Pegmatites are the primary source of lithium either as spodumene, lithiophyllite or usually from lepidolite. The primary source for caesium is pollucite, a mineral from a zoned pegmatite. The majority of the world's beryllium is sourced from non-gem quality beryl within pegmatite."
Lyndon Armstrong had a bit of spelunker within as well.
The Minneapolis Journal, August 10, 1903
MAMMOTH NEW CAVE
Sensational Discovery North of Spokane Will Be Explored.
Special to The Journal.Spokane, Wash. Aug. 8 -- The discovery of a mammoth cave about eighty miles directly north of this city, in which the walls and ceilings sparkle with crystals of various shades and hues, and where here and there is a stream or pool of water, has created something of a sensation in this vicinity. The cave is in what is known as Box canyon, near the Pend d'Oreille river in Stevens county, Wash.
A movement is on foot to form a company and go to the cave and make a thoro exploration. L. K. Armstrong, a well known mining engineer, and Mr. Bronpy are prime movers.
During much of Lyndon King Foster's career in Spokane he was owner and editor of mining publications, including the Northwest Mining News, published monthly at 1330 Old National Bank Building, Spokane Washington. Here is the first page of the February, 1913 edition.
Each month Uncle Lyn led with opinionated editorials, sometimes complimenting mining operators and government officials for a job well done, but more frequently taking others to task for transgressions, real or imagined, or putting forth poorly thought out policies, products or legislative proposals. Here is an example of three such editorials.
The first editorial chastises the governor of California who purportedly discharged a state official "for preferring competency to politics" and urged the state to appoint as replacement "a competent engineer and geologist" who "shall have no relation to politics."
The second editorial inveighs against setting up bankers as gatekeepers for approving or disapproving the issuance of mining stocks.
With a would-like-to-have-been governor and several banking houses behind it, just as we go to press another bill is about to be introduced into the Washington state legislature which will seek to control investments, by compelling corporations which ask for public assistance in exploiting the resources of the state to secure the O. K. of the bank examiner prior to doing any business. Did anyone ever hear of a bank exploiting anything? .... Is it probable that the bank examiner will be able to see beyond the narrow horizon he is accustomed to cover?Lyndon importuned, "we should kill all such measures and enforce the wholesome laws now on the statue books."
That month's third editorial passage tweaks the Washington governor for failing to mention mining and the state geological survey in his state of the state and budget messages. Lyndon argues that mining and the geological bureau should receive their proper due and thus backhandedly encourages his colleagues to visit Olympia to visit legislative committees to engage in discussions that results in their industry receiving its proper due.
The trade publication was chock full of statistical tables and graphs,
The Northwest Mining News, November 1912.
and technical drawings.
The Northwest Mining News, November 1912.
Late in Lyndon Armstrong's career he was given prime credit for establishing Spokane as a mining center.
|Spokane Spokesman Review, June 24, 1931|
How Spokane Became a Mining Center
This is the record of a life that personifies the mining history of the northwest.
Forty-six years ago, L. K. Armstrong with a background of a decade of practical mining experience in the Black Hills of South Dakota and Montana, became a resident of Spokane. Five years later, in 1895, his was the guiding hand in organization of the Northwest Mining association. As a fitting token of esteem and affection the large attended meeting of the association at the Hotel Spokane Monday, present Mr. Armstrong with an engrossed testimonial to his extraordinary service to the mining industry and honorary life membership in the association.
***Inauguration of the Northwest Mining Association, 41 years ago, was opportune and beneficial. The little city, sorated by the panic of 1893 and resulting depression, had been in the depths of dullness and despair. And then -- presto, change! The treasure vaults of Coeur dAlene and new camps then becoming famous, like Rossland and Slocan, largely under development by Spokane mining men and investors, began pouring their enriching streams into the little city. Under management of Patrick Clark, the War Eagle led off with the first Rossland dividend in the summer of 1895, and by October 1896, had $137,500 to its credit. The Le Rod quickly followed suit and made even a better record, and by the autumn of 1896 Byron White's Slocan Star had distributed dividends of a quarter of a million dollars.
***Spokane was mining-minded, and a thrill with adventure. Early in the summer of 1895 an active group of citizens, under the guiding hand of Mr. Armstrong as executive secretary, made careful plans for the organization of an association that was to embrace the entire Pacific northwest.
When Lyndon King Armstrong died in 1942, his passing was noted as far away as Utah,***Looking backwards over the mining history of 44 years , Mr. Armstrong could fittingly say, as was said by an ancient king of Greece, reviewing his long reign, "All of which I saw, and large part of which I was." His civic service of more than 40 years has been a continuous performance on a large scale. Service not circumscribed by the city limits of Spokane, but embracing an enriching industry of a great region, sweeping from the Black Hills of South Dakota to the Olympic peninsula, and from Mexico to "Onalaska's lonely shores."
|The Ogden (Utah) Standard Examiner, June 22, 1942|
|The Montana Standard, Butte June 23, 1942|
As we publish this post, we have had opportunity only to review part of the documents that are available on the web concerning Lyndon King Armstrong's life. More significant is we had no opportunity to review the treasure trove of thousands of hard copy documents that are available in Pullman, Washington, at the Washington State University Library -- to wit.
- Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries
- Armstrong, Lyndon King
- Lyndon King Armstrong Papers
- Cage 244
- Date [inclusive]
- 2500.0 items.
- General Physical Description note
- 6.5 linear feet of shelf space.
- Correspondence, bulletins, maps, field notes and reports regarding gold and silver mining in the Pacific Northwest; correspondence and minutes of the meetings of the Columbia Section of the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers and of the Washington State Natural Resources Association and manuscripts of papers presented at regional professional meetings.
Lyndon King Armstrong was born at Mukwanago, Wisconsin in 1859. From 1877 to 1890 he was a druggist, chemist and miner in the Dakota and Montana Territories. Settling in Spokane, Washington in 1890, he became the publisher of mining trade newspapers. He also established a mining engineering practice and was involved in certain business ventures in mining. Armstrong was a member and officer of many of the trade and professional organizations associated with mining in the Northwest, most notably the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers. Additionally he was active in the Spokane Chamber of Commerce and in various scientific and scholarly organizations, including the Northwest Scientific Association and the Eastern Washington Historical Society. He died in early 1942.
Scope and Contents note
The papers of L. K. Armstrong include correspondence, bulletins, maps, field notes and mining engineering reports concerning gold and silver mines of Washington, Idaho and British Columbia; and correspondence, minutes, printed materials, and manuscripts of professional articles created or acquired through Armstrong's office in several trade and professional organizations, notably the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers, the International Geological Congress and the Washington State Natural Resources Association.
The papers are arranged chronologically in consecutively numbered folders in five series: Professional and personal papers; American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers papers; Manuscripts of articles submitted to AIMME; Mines and mineral resources reports; Other organizations and special meetings.
Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries © 1970http://www.wsulibs.wsu.edu/masc
P.O. Box 645610
Pullman, WA, 99164-5610
Conditions Governing Access note
This collection is open for research use.
Immediate Source of Acquisition note
The L. K. Armstrong Papers were purchased for the Washington State University Library in 1956 by the Friends of the Library.
Separated Materials note
The Franklin Gold Mining Company records (now located as Cage 283) and the records of the Mining Mens' Club of Spokane (now located as Cage 298) have been separated from this collection and independently processed.
Just as we dug deeper into the Foster family history when we visited the North Dakota State Historical Society last winter, we hope some day to spend a few days in Pullman, Washington learning more about uncle Lyn, including his role in the following.
As its membership transitioned, the Northwest Mining Association languished in the first decade of the twentieth century until one of its founders, Lyndon K. Armstrong, clamored for "an exclusively mining organization, a miner's club." In January 1911 that club emerged after a meeting at the Spokane Hotel. The men who attended agreed to meet each Thursday and called their conclave the Mining Men's Lunch Club and then the Mining Men's Club of Spokane (MMC). In 1911, a smoker and banquet at the Spokane Interstate Fair introduced the group to the city, but the club's hosting the American Mining Congress (AMC) national meeting in November 1912 established an enduring legacy - not for hard-nosed advocacy for mining interests but for sponsoring bawdy entertainment. The "Spokane Diggin' s" offered the AMC delegates an old-fashioned mining camp reconstructed in an ice rink downtown. Complete with a gurgling stream and mountain backdrops for ambience, the camp contained the usual assortment of gamblers, prospectors, bartenders, dance girls, and burros, and notoriously one evening a female "muscle dancer" who took center stage in her tights and flowing gauze, both of which she lost piecemeal during her dance. "Spokane people," chastised the editor of Spokane's Spokesman-Review newspaper, "are not accustomed to such shamelessness." From 1912 on, Spokane's mining men tried to match the "Diggin's" legacy.C'est la mining!