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Originally published in the Pacific Coast Bulletin, June 17, 1927

All aboard for home: When the men come off shift at the New Black Diamond mine they find themselves in the same situation as the average city worker—a long way from home. Consequently the company runs a special train for each shift, covering the distance between the mine and the camp in 45 minutes. West Seattle or Ballard residents who journey downtown on the Municipal Railway in many cases require an hour or more to get to their work. The picture shows the train ready to pull out with the shift coming off in the afternoon. (Pacific Coast Bulletin, June 17, 1927)

When the men come off shift at the New Black Diamond Mine they find themselves in the same situation as the average city worker—a long way from home. Consequently, the company runs a special train for each shift, covering the distance between the mine and the camp in 45 minutes. West Seattle or Ballard residents who journey downtown on the Municipal Railway in many cases require an hour or more to get to their work. The picture shows the train ready to pull out with the shift coming off in the afternoon.

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Originally published in the Enumclaw Courier-Herald, June 17, 1938

Fire broke out in Jack Brennan’s garage last Tuesday night and within a few minutes the entire building was ablaze. Mrs. Wesley Lile, Mrs. J.E. McDonald, and son Allen were walking through the ballpark at the time and, as Mrs. Lile reached the gate of her mother-in-law’s home, she noticed the fire and called Allen to run for the siren.

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Originally published in The Seattle Times, June 16, 1968

The Allen Shingle Co.

As bulldozers irrevocably transform yesterday’s pastoral scene into today’s look-alike development, we welcome sentimental journeys back into time by men like W.J. Doucett.

What Doucett lacks in formal education, he makes up in enthusiasm and clear thinking. The 78-year-old Seattle native lives with his bouncy little wife at 646 N.W. 52nd St.

Often the Doucetts flee the city for their “little place” on Camano Island. There, Doucett thinks about things as they were. But always without rancor.

Doucett is button-popping proud of early-day Washington State and the sturdy, undaunted men who roamed its wide-open spaces, chopped down its towering trees, and fished its unpolluted waters.

In 1892, when Doucett was 12½ years old and his world big and wonderful and unexplored, the Doucetts moved to Cow Lake, near Kent. Doucett’s father and uncle, Dan Allen, bought a bankrupt shinglemill and named it Allen Shingle Co. It had three machines, real electric lights, and skilled workers.

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Originally published in Carbon River Heritage, June 1986

The Crocker coke ovens in operation (date unknown). From the Files of Nancy Hall.

On December 14, 1917, Hurley Mason Company Contractors were hired by Carbon Hill Coal Company to build 86 coke-ovens out of stone, concrete, and firebrick. Coal bunkers, storage buildings, and an office at Crocker were also built.

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Originally published in the North Maple Valley Living Magazine, June 2021

By JoAnne Matsumura
Maple Valley Historical Society

1909 Maplevalley postal cancellation

Many of you have noted seeing your fair city spelled as Maple Valley and Maplevalley in previous issues of this column. Let’s take “A step back in time” to some surprising information about the city’s name—as far back as 1885, and the story of the Maple brothers’ trek across the Washington Territory.

When the brothers arrived at a valley full of maple trees, they named the area Maple Valley and registered it at the nearest post office. Their story is interesting and enlightening to the vast beauty of the area.

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, June 9, 1922

Broken live wire cause of death in coal plant

John Singbush, 33 years old, timber packer, instantly killed when he comes in contact with lethal strand

John Singbush, 33 years old, timber packer in the Black Diamond Mine of the Pacific Coast Coal Company, was electrocuted at 10:30 o’clock last night, death coming instantly. The accident occurred on the 800-foot level, while Singbush was repairing a broken trolley wire.

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Originally published in the Valley Daily News, June 8, 1991

When longtime local farmer and civic leader Aaron Neely Jr. died in 1974, it was the end of a long chapter of Valley history.

The history of the Neely family spans most of the history of South King County.

David A. Neely, born in Tennessee in 1823, came west in the 1850s. His family arrived at the fork of the White and Green rivers on Oct. 1, 1854. Nine days later, Saletha Elizabeth Neely was born, the first white child born in the Valley. They were part of the first settlement, called Thomas Station, between Kent and Auburn.

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Originally published in the Kent News Journal, June 8, 1969

Story and photos by Elaine Fleming

A straight seam. Bill Zaputil, left, and Archie Eltz indicate the 14-foot-wide seam of bituminous coal they have mined, working from the mouth of Roger No. 3 on the McKay bed, straight through, 2,900 feet of earth. To date, Palmer Coking Coal Co. has taken about 300,000 tons of coal from three levels of the seam.

Five days a week, rain or shine, Archie Eltz adjusts his miner’s hat and rides 750 feet below the earth’s surface to mine the same vein of coal dug by his father almost 50 years ago.

Eltz, who was born, reared, and educated in Black Diamond, has known nothing but coal for his entire life. Neither has his wife, whose father mined the same area many years ago.

Archie is one of 30 employees at Palmer Coking Coal Co.—the last functioning commercial coal mine in King County. The men he works with are sons of coal miners; they too, for the most part, have laid their roots in the coal fields of Black Diamond and have knowledge of no other way of life.

They are aware that their livelihood may one day cease—and that day is not too far off.

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Originally published in The Seattle Times, June 8, 1969

Text and photos by Barry Anderson

From the brakeman’s window cars brimming with coal could be seen moving along the track during Pacific Coast Railroad’s weekly trip between the Black Diamond mine and Seattle.

Ninety-six years after its founding, Seattle’s pioneer Pacific Coast Railroad Co. continues to thrive and shows every sign of reaching its centennial.

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, June 1986

By Eulalia Tollefson

Richard Stolsig showed crowds at the Black Diamond Day celebration Sunday, June 8, the art of smithing, a common trade at the time the town was founded in 1882. Stolsig, who makes his living as a farrier, shapes a froe—a tool used to split cedar shakes. Photo by Dan Tollefson.

A leather aproned smithy, early century cars, and a calico-clad spinner helped Black Diamond step into the past Sunday, June 8, to the enjoyment of throngs who came to join in celebrating the town’s 104th birthday.

The old coal mine whistle sounded at noon to signal the official start of Black Diamond Days, organized to bring over 100 years of “family” together for an old-fashioned community reunion.

Old-time outdoor pavilion entertainment; tantalizing odors of irresistible home-baked goodies enticingly arranged on tables; decorative handcrafted items—all were nostalgic reminders of a treasured cultural heritage.

Early June was chosen to commemorate the town’s founding because the time of year coincided with the June 6 date that officials of the Black Diamond Mining Company arrived from Nortonville, California, in 1882.

Discovering rich deposits of coal in the area, the company decided to move its California operation to the Washington site.

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