Originally published in the BDHS newsletter, May 1992
By Ann Steiert
Most local members of the Black Diamond Historical Society are delighted to hear that the old saloon building on Railroad Ave. is being made to come alive again. Jared Fors, who owns Alphy’s Pizza Houses, has purchased the building and is going to make it into an eatery. Plans are for a family style restaurant which will serve family type meals at a reasonable price. [Ed. This article was first printed in May 1992; today the building houses Baker Street Books.]
Much history has been reenacted in the space which the saloon occupies. The first building on the site was in 1885. It was a small log building. It served as a store for the settlers. As the population grew, more space was needed for their supplies. It was decided to build another building. The building method was a little unusual. Instead of demolishing the little cabin they built the new building up around it. They used the old cabin for firewood as they needed it.
The area behind the museum was occupied by a large saloon, a livery stable, and several other businesses. Being a company town, Black Diamond was allowed only one saloon. This was jeopardized by a county law that was passed which declared that you had to be an incorporated city before you could have a saloon in town. This was the law that forced Ravensdale to incorporate part of their town creating the section that was known as Georgetown and contained many new saloons. In Black Diamond it caused the closure of the Krause Saloon so Morgan Davies and Paul Medica rented the store building from the coal company. They turned it into a billiard parlor. Morg Davies was the father of Verna Thompson. During prohibition it was a place where people could have a game of cards or play a game of pool. It was closely watched by the then sheriff Matt Starwich.
Later on it became a saloon. It had several owners during the next few years. It was a gathering place for the men where they could relax after a hard days work. They would spend hours leaning on the loafing rail which extended towards the Depot.
The building belonged to the coal company and they paid rent for it. Some of the men who owned it were: Morgan Davies and Paul Medica, Grover Kertis and Jim Chambers, Al Robinson, Art Kelly. He was Eileen Zumek’s father.
Some of the men would consume a goodly amount of liquor and resulted in creating some wild tales of what happened in the “Old Days.”
One was about a man called Toby Legee and a man named Kaiser. They had a real dispute going. Kaiser was not doing too well in the fight so he went outside and got a big rock and came back into the saloon and won the fight.
Another story that is told about Kaiser is that he and another bachelor named Mike were having a dispute. Mike was shaking his finger at Kaiser when Kaiser seized it in his teeth. Unthinkingly Mike grabbed a frying pan and hit Kaiser over the head. The blow was so hard that it caused Kaiser to clench his teeth and he bit off Mike’s finger. THOSE WERE THE DAYS!!!