Archive for May 21st, 2010

The following text appears on the historical sign next to the Union Stump.

Sometime in the 1950s, the old stump was encased in concrete to commemorate the historic labor organizing event of 1907.

This monument is situated in Morganville and is directly associated with the Pacific Coast Coal Company Era (1904-1939), the creation of the local miners union, the 1921 UMW strike and creation of new community in Morganville. In 1904, PCCC had acquired the entire Black Diamond Mining operation and townsite. The Pacific Coast Coal Company (PCCC) was a subsidiary of the Pacific Coast Company, which controlled large land holdings and a variety of coal dependent railroad and shipping lines and industrial plants through the American West. PCCC had several coal mines and company towns within the Green River Coal District and initiated much more rigid control over the Black Diamond mining operations and the town.

Gala celebration and dedication of the Union Stump, the site where years earlier, in May 1907, the Black Diamond miners organized and formed a new local of the United Mine Workers Union. (This photo is from the BDHS Calendar Series, 1978.)

Thus, on May 1, 1907, after Black Diamond miners were not allowed to meet on PCCC property so 200-300 miners met at this site (owned by Timothy Morgan) and organized United Mine Workers (UMW, Local 2257). A large fir stump on the site served as a speakers platform. The Union then, without a strike, was able to obtain concessions from PCCC including an eight-hour work day and wage increase. One of the greatest physical changes within the townsite involved the closure of the original No. 14 Mine and the abandonment of the looped spur line that had served it and other abandoned mines in 1917. During 1921-1922, a major labor dispute causing striking miners to be forced to sell their homes to PCCC. The UMW helped striking miners construct 200 temporary houses outside the townsite in nearby Morganville. The labor dispute was never resolved and in conjunction with the national downturn in the coal market and related safety issues lead to the closure of the only remaining and largest Black Diamond mine (No. 11) in 1927. During the mid-1920s, PCCC began to sell off land parcels within the townsite. After 1927, company employees continued to reside in Black Diamond and commuted to other PCCC mines in the district. Sometime in the 1950s, the old stump was encased in concrete to commemorate the historic labor organizing event of 1907.

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