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Archive for December, 2013

Originally published in the BDHS newsletter, November 1990

By Ann Steiert

As we talk to people who visit the museum, we are often asked the question, “What did people do for entertainment in the early days before the advent of radio and TV?” This provoked some thought and the following are some of the memories that have been revived….

The first church in Black Diamond was the Congregational Church. It was located where the current fire hall now stands. Morgan Morgan is said to have declared that one church was sufficient for all to attend. For many years denominations shared services. Later the Catholics and Presbyterians built separate buildings. Photo courtesy of Verna Thompson. (Mining the Memories, page 27.)

The first church in Black Diamond was the Congregational Church. It was located where Fire Station #99 now stands. Morgan Morgan is said to have declared that one church was sufficient for all to attend. For many years denominations shared services. Later the Catholics and Presbyterians built separate buildings. Photo courtesy of Verna Thompson. (Mining the Memories, page 27.)

One segment of the community were the people with church affiliations. The Congregational Church had many members. David Reed was the minister for many years. He was assisted by his brother, John, and Rev. Bushell. They had many activities for the youth. There was Sunday School and at special times, such as Christmas, they would put on programs.

The Presbyterians had a minister named Robinson. They, too, had things involving children. St. Barbara’s Catholic Church was being led by the priests from St. Martins’ at Lacey, Washington. Christmas was always a special time. They had a portion of the church near the altar made into a hillside depicting the land where Christ was born. It was beautiful. The Bergman family lived in the parish house for many years. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Times, December 24, 1985

By Elizabeth Pullam

museum_snowCarl Steiert remembers Christmas in Black Diamond 70 years ago. There was always a foot of snow on the ground in those days, and a bobsledder who started at the top of Lawson Hill could skid through icy streets, past rows of miners’ houses, defying death and the shaking fists of threatened pedestrians.

“The tricky part was making that right-angle turn up there, where the tracks used to be,” says Steiert, 74, as he points beyond the false-fronted buildings that were once drugstores, saloons and stables. “If you could make that, you could ride clear to the cemetery, over half a mile away.” (more…)

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100+ years of Christmas Seals

By JoAnne Matsumura

1913_sealWhen social worker Emily Bissell set out to sell specially designed red and white Christmas stamps in 1907 for a penny apiece, she had a larger cause in mind than sprucing up the mail. The first stamp’s message was simply “Merry Christmas.” It raised $3,000 and the money was used to keep open a tuberculosis sanitarium. (more…)

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Originally published in the Black Diamond Bulletin, Summer 2013

By JoAnne Matsumura

Carolyn Christopher gave her doll, Dorothy Francis, to the Black Diamond Historical Society in 2006 to be exhibited with the other dolls.

Carolyn Christopher gave her doll, Dorothy Francis, to the historical society in 2006.

For weeks I was among the dolls at the company store, having arrived in the summer of 1920. I was made by the Efanbee Doll Company of fine porcelain, glass eyes, human hair, and specially designed clothes.

The company store applied an amount toward the outstanding balance each payday and eventually I was brought to company house #188, the home of Francis “Frank” Bussey, a Mine 11 coal miner of several decades, and Andrew and Alice Bussey Haag, Jr., Frank’s son-in-law and daughter.

I was to be Santa’s Christmas gift for Dorothy Haag, Frank’s granddaughter.

The tragic events of December 22, 1920, however, intervened.

The rooms were filled with grief, sadness, and tears from family, friends, workers, and mine officials.

The loss took the lives of four miners in an instant. The community gathered at families’ homes, bringing food and gifts. (more…)

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Originally published in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, December 18, 1985

By Ed Penhale

Black Diamond coal carKing County officials are setting the stage for a huge annexation that would add nearly 2,000 acres to the little southeast-county city of Black Diamond, designating more than 900 acres of that now-rural area for urban development.

County Executive Gary Locke, who supports the proposal, sees Black Diamond as a future site for high-tech businesses. (more…)

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Originally published in the Valley Daily News, August 17, 1988

By Mary Swift

Assistants Chris Davis and Steve Weiding (the owner’s son) prepare dough.

Assistants Chris Davis and Steve Weiding (the owner’s son) prepare dough.

Like a fragrant reminder of day’s gone past, the aroma of fresh-baked cinnamon rolls and Crystal Mountain bread lingers in the air outside Doug Weiding’s Black Diamond Bakery. A visit to the 85-year old bakery, a Black Diamond institution since 1902, is an invitation to step back into history.

Back then, Black Diamond was a coal mining town and the bakery turned out bread for the miners, loaves baked brown in the large wood-fired brick oven. (more…)

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Dec. 14, 1906

Mr. H.W. Cannon, PRESIDENT,
No. 10 Wall Street, New York.

Dear Sir:

Did you know you can still walk the old Columbia & Puget Sound Railroad grade from Lake Wilderness to the Palmer Coking Coal Co. property near Mine No. 11?

Did you know you can still walk the old Columbia & Puget Sound Railroad grade from Lake Wilderness to the Palmer Coking Coal Co. property near Mine No. 11?

We had quite a wind storm here on the night of the 10th-11th, which blew down a large number of trees in the vicinity of Lake Wilderness. Three of them fell across our track; the one farthest south being about four feet in diameter.

A coal extra, Conductor Watkins, engine 12, Engineer Major, with thirty-six loaded coal cars coming down the hill from Black Diamond, ran into the large one at 3:30 a.m. on the 11th. The coupler of the engine struck the tree square, breaking a piece the width of the track out and throwing it in to the clear. (more…)

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Originally published in the BDHS newsletter, January 1983

Reminiscing with Jim Vernarelli by Ann Steiert

Black Diamond Jail

Black Diamond Jail

The people of today would not believe that in the early days of the 1900s, the town of Black Diamond had a very typical judge of the law who resembled a character of a judge of the early 1800s as seen on television in old Western movies.

His name was Judge Davis. He would hold court in a small shed or building, the size about 12 x 20, which was located behind his home on the now Baker St. and First Ave. (more…)

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