Archive for March, 2014

By JoAnne Matsumura

This unidentified youngster is standing on one of the three “frogs,” or switches, that make up the Franklin Wye.

This unidentified youngster is standing on one of the three “frogs,” or switches, that make up the Franklin Wye.

Jack Willan (Brady) spent two of his high school years at Black Diamond High, 1920-1921. “Most of it was hiking back and forth from Franklin,” he said.

“We did have tickets on the train. Missed the train and you were late. They punched your ticket. They were good for 30 rides or something like that,” Jack said. “Ten cents a ride.”

There was always something going on at the high school, and he’d often walk back to Black Diamond again. “Oh, we had all kinds of activities,” he said.

Jack and his friends would get together in Black Diamond and “sometimes some kids had to go home to Claymine or to Kummer. Walk them kids all the way over there.”

Jack once talked about the railroad track stating, “there was a track that went over to what we called the ‘Y.’ That was half way between Black Diamond and Franklin. We’d follow the track all the way up to Franklin and we’d let the girls off at their homes and just keep on going having fun and singing.”

Jack Newton Willan (Brady) was born in Franklin on September 19, 1903, and passed away on April 19, 1990. He is interned in the Black Diamond Cemetery.

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Originally published in the Pacific Coast Bulletin, March 1914

[Editor’s note: Read the first message to employees from Pacific Coast Coal Co. President J.C. Ford here and his second message here.]

Pacific Coast Coal Co. Logo 1922From time to time agitators have endeavored to stir up prejudice against the company stores. It is, undoubtedly, well understood among the employees of the Pacific Coast Coal Company that none of them are expected to trade at the company stores unless they consider it in their interest to do so.

If this fact has not been well understood, the Bulletin makes the announcement now, in order that all may understand. (more…)

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Mrs. Alma Rivett Floberg Northern Pacific's only woman agent

Mrs. Alma Rivett Floberg
Northern Pacific’s only woman agent

No matter what the current craze in feminine bonnets, Mrs. Alma Rivett Floberg of Ravensdale always puts on the same hat at 9:52 a.m. seven days a week.

And, between us girls, she simply loathes it. But wearing the hat at 9:52 a.m. seven days a week is part of Mrs. Alma Rivett Floberg’s unique job at Ravensdale.

It’s a man’s hat—a uniform cap—and it bears the legend: “AGENT — NORTHERN PACIFIC R.R.” Rule J of the Northern Pacific’s regulations specifies that “employees on duty must wear the prescribed badge and uniform and be neat in appearance.”

Mrs. Floberg is station agent at Ravensdale, the only woman station agent on the entire Northern Pacific system, and she must wear the hat whenever she meets a passenger train. Fortunately, during her eight-hour shift there is only one, eastbound No. 4.

Besides meeting passenger trains, rustling luggage and selling tickets, Mrs. Floberg keeps the station stove going, works the telephone and telegraph circuits, writes up train orders, handles billing, sets hand signals and flags trains. (more…)

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Originally published in Old Stuff, June/July 1996

Sticking tommy

A pricket light, otherwise known as a “sticking tommy,” didn’t give much light but it was easy to use.

Of vital importance to the early Western miners were lighting devices. Once a miner left the daylight of the placer mines and descended under the ground to dig for buried gold, he frequently found himself thousands of feet from any natural light source.

One of the light sources was a pricket light, otherwise known as a “sticking tommy.” It didn’t give much light but it was easy to use. It was a wrought-iron or brass rod, pointed at one end and curved in upon itself at the other, and held a tallow candle. The curved portion could be hooked over a beam; the pointed end allowed the miner to wedge it into a hole or crack in the wall or beam. These simple devices were used for many decades and were both factory produced or made by local blacksmiths when necessary. The very best pricket lights had built-in matchboxes. (more…)

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