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Originally published in The Seattle Times, May 26, 1957

By Lucile McDonald

Washington has plenty of the black mineral but its production has fallen tremendously

A truck loaded coal at the tipple of the Cougar Mountain mine for hauling to the Newcastle storage bunkers. – Photos by Parker McAllister.

A truck loaded coal at the tipple of the Cougar Mountain mine for hauling to the Newcastle storage bunkers. –Photos by Parker McAllister.

Washington’s coal industry is in a state of suspended animation. Once a heavy contributor to the prosperity of the region, it is represented now by only a few scattered operations. Diesel oil, electricity and, lately, natural gas have cut off the markets.

Coal production in the state declined from a peak in 1918 of 4,128,424 tons to an average of 600,000 tons annually.

In King County, which owes its early economic development largely to its bituminous-coal beds, only five mines are active.

Refuse dumps and sealed tunnels south and east of Lake Washington, south of Lake Sammamish and in the Cedar and upper Green River Valleys attest the once-wide extent of mining within a few miles of Seattle. Continue Reading »

Originally published in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, March 16, 1925

Mary Draghi, reputed “Bootlegging Queen,” was arrested when U.S. prohibition agents raided four places at Black Diamond yesterday. – (Post-Intelligencer Staff Photo.)

Mary Draghi, reputed “Bootlegging Queen,” was arrested when U.S. prohibition agents raided four places at Black Diamond yesterday. – (Post-Intelligencer Staff Photo.)

U.S. Drys wreck four paces at mining village; woman held on liquor charges

Thrusting the strong arm of the law into the hitherto little disturbed mining village of Black Diamond, Division Prohibition Chief F.A. Hazeltine and a squad of federal agents early yesterday morning seized approximately 2,000 gallons of contraband beverages and arrested “Black Mary,” reputed queen of the foothill bootleggers, and five other alleged purveyors of anti-Volstead liquids.

The liquor was destroyed and the six prisoners brought to Seattle and lodged in the United States immigration station at the foot of Union Street. They will be arraigned for hearing today.

Six arrested

The six are Mary Draghi, comely twenty-five-year-old maiden, and reputed queen of Black Diamond rum manufacturers; Pete Draghi, her father; Aniceti Magnan, Nello Merlino and Carlo and Leo Fontana, brothers. All will be charged with possession and sale of liquor, Hazeltine announced last night. Continue Reading »

Originally published in the Pacific Coast Bulletin, May/June 1916

Black Diamond product must be hoisted more than a mile before it sees the light of day—efficient workmen and machinery in every department

“Deepest coal mine in the world.” That’s the way the Black Diamond workings of the Pacific Coast Coal Company generally are described. If there are any deeper coal mines experts have been unable to find them.

Think of traveling three or four miles underground to reach the working places on the lower levels of mine No. 11! That’s the distance the coal must be hauled before it sees the light of the sun.

In a vertical direction the lower workings of the mine are 1,913 feet below the surface. The opening of the slope is 630 feet above sea level and the lower level is 1,283 feet below the surface of the ocean. Continue Reading »

Originally published in the Pacific Coast Bulletin, May 24, 1922

New Pacific Coast Coal Co logo - 1927We are rapidly approaching the point in the progress of the installation of the mine councils when all of the representatives of the employees will be elected men whose authority to speak in the mine councils on behalf of the men they represent will be unquestionable.

Nominations to fill vacancies and complete the representation of the men were held at all the mines on Tuesday the 16th, and final elections were to be held on Tuesday the 23rd. The result of this election will be announced in the Bulletin next week. Continue Reading »

Originally published in the Pacific Coast Bulletin, May 24, 1922

Pacific Coast Coal Co. Logo 1922Games next Sunday, May 28

Issaquah–Newcastle, at Newcastle.
Burnett–Black Diamond, at Black Diamond.
Carbonado–Wilkeson, at Wilkeson.

Result of games; Sunday, May 21

Wilkeson–Carbonado, postponed account of rain.
Issaquah–Burnett, postponed account of rain.
Newcastle–Black Diamond, postponed account of rain.

The Coal Miners’ League of Western Washington, consisting of baseball teams representing the camps of the Pacific Coast Coal Company, Carbonado and Wilkeson, has been officially organized, and a partial schedule of games arranged. Continue Reading »

Originally published in the Tacoma News Tribune, November 15, 1964

By Rod Cardwell

Down the Road a PieceIt was called “Lavender Town,” a Japanese settlement near the great lumber mill that flourished in Selleck … east out of Kent in the King County uplands that swing gradually into the Cascade Range.

And the women would appear outside among the flowers in their colorful kimonos, many in shades of purple … and the children came home from the English-speaking school to receive instruction in Japanese.

Today, Lavender Town, where the men went forth to labor for the Pacific States Lumber Co., is only a memory. … The mill, after fires and labor strife, ceased to operate just before World War II. … And with Pearl Harbor came the removal of the Japanese to camps far inland. Later, although peace prevailed and a mood of hate and suspicion had vanished, most of them never returned. Continue Reading »

Originally published in the Black Diamond Bulletin, Winter 2012/2013

By JoAnne Matsumura

A view of the Japanese Camp at Selleck. Two rows of small wooden houses and what appears to be an office building front on a pathway. In foreground are railroad tracks and a strip of burnt stumps of tree. In background is a stark, logged-over, burnt forest. (Washington State Historical Society, 2002.5.14.)

A view of the Japanese Camp at Selleck. Two rows of small wooden houses and what appears to be an office building front on a pathway. In foreground are railroad tracks and a strip of burnt stumps of tree. In background is a stark, logged-over, burnt forest. (Washington State Historical Society, 2002.5.14.)

Long before the area became known as Selleck, the North Coast Timber Company was logging on land not far from Kangley and selling its logs on the Tacoma market. The company employed a crew of Japanese men—most likely single men living in bunkhouses, eating in the cookhouse, and socializing in the bathhouse.

The owners of the company, however, wanted a mill, so they approached Frank Selleck, then the manager of the Kapowsin mill. He agreed to build a mill and move the company into the manufacturing end of the timber industry. The Pacific States Lumber Company was born as was the town that would bear Selleck’s name.

Selleck, having a Japanese “house boy” at Kapowsin, brought him along with some of his crew to work at the mill, some of whom were probably Japanese. The house boy was trustworthy and hardworking, and Selleck had great respect for him, so he made him the manager of the Japanese crew.

The Japanese workers were housed in an area near Lavender Town called the Japanese Camp or more crudely, “Jap Town.” It was just west of the Northern Pacific tracks and north of the millpond’s outlet creek. Continue Reading »

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