By Dan L. Mosier
The little known coal mining camp of Harrisville, cheapest named for its founder Thomas Harris, sits on the far west end of Tesla Park. Back in the 1870s, the camp had about 100 Welsh miners and their families living on the banks of Arroyo Seco Creek. In addition to the family cabins, the camp had a school, two saloons, two boarding houses, a blacksmith shop, a carpenter’s shop, and livery stables where the Fashion Livery Stables out of Livermore ran a daily stage.
Because the first major coal mine was known as the Livermore coal mine, this part of the coal field was named the “Livermore Coal Mining District” by State Geologist Goodyear after his brief visit here in 1876. But it is really an extension of the Corral Hollow Coal District. Coal was first discovered here by Harris and Jenkin Richards in December 1862. The important mines were called Livermore, Summit, Pen Daren, and Richards. From 1862 to 1907, these mines shipped about 9,000 tons of coal to Livermore and other cities in Northern California.When John Treadwell purchased the Harrisville property in 1890, Harrisville became a suburb of Tesla, where some of the miners continued to live. After the closing of the Tesla mines, Harrisville suffered a similar fate disappearing into history. The building foundations of half of the town of Harrisville, as well as the Summit mine, are situated on the Tesla Park property. The rest are on private land on the north side of Tesla Road. Harrisville is also listed as one of the state’s historic resources.
To learn more about Harrisville, see the book Harrisville and the Livermore Coal Mines by Dan L. Mosier.