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Archive for February, 2013

Originally published in the BDHS newsletter, November 1985

By Ann Steiert

Franklin_from_RHSFranklin in the last years of the 1880s represented a typical coal camp: a company town connected to the outside world by a railroad and telegraph line. Two miles east of the larger Black Diamond, it had an estimated 1,000 persons in 1888 composed mostly of Welsh, English and Scotch, with some Irish, Italians, and Belgians.

The year before the territorial census had reported only 167 people in the precinct and perhaps the reporter overestimated the 1888 population, but Franklin did boom that year. Due to an Australian coal strike that sent San Francisco prices soaring, the mine, which had produced only 7,500 tons in 1885, shipped 187,000 tons in 1888, the best year until the twentieth century. (more…)

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Originally published in the Globe News, July 4, 1976

By Nancy Gould

Bushes and crocuses gone wild provide nature’s remembrances to those forgotten decades ago in Black Diamond’s cemetery. The town’s historic site is currently the focus of the town council’s attention to determine how best to preserve and maintain it.

Bushes and crocuses gone wild provide nature’s remembrances to those forgotten decades ago in Black Diamond’s cemetery. The town’s historic site is the focus of the town council’s attention to determine how best to preserve and maintain it.

“Pennacchi, Menechini, Daverio,” read some of the Italian names on tombstones in Black Diamond’s 3.4-acre cemetery off Morgan Drive. Purple heather from James Williams’ Welsh homeland nearly covers his 1890 marker.

Patches of graves bear similar dates in the late 1800s and early 1900s when Welsh, Polish, Austrian and other ethnic miners lost their lives in local mining accidents.

One discolored stone’s name and date are indecipherable but the epitaph is clear: “Gone but not forgotten.”

The old cemetery has become the recent focus of attention from town fathers, hoping to uphold the promise behind that inscription. A small group of volunteer caretakers has requested that the town of Black Diamond take over the care and maintenance of the cemetery.

But for three years, said Dan Farr, town attorney, the issue has been under advisement.

“There has been a movement for the town to pick up the cemetery, but we discovered there was an old lien on the property. The Pacific Coast Coal Company’s predecessor left an unpaid mortgage which clouds the title.” (more…)

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