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Archive for April, 2014

Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, April 30, 1980

Maple Valley RR station
Maple Valley’s first railroad station, built in 1887 for the Columbia and Puget Sound Railroad Company. The Milwaukee Road did not come through Maple Valley until 1907. Hence the station was evidently in a considerable different location than the two which replaced it.

At the time this photograph was taken, the track was narrow gauge, probably three feet between the rails, as compared to the standard gauge of 4 feet, 8 ½ inches in use on American railroads today. The Columbia and Puget Sound was purchased by the Pacific Coast Coal Company about 1897 and renamed the Pacific Coast Railroad.

It remained as such until the Burlington Northern merger in 1970, despite the face that in 1952 the Great Northern purchased the railroad and operated it as a separate company. (Photo courtest Maple Valley Historical Society.)

(Editor’s note: The Milwaukee Railroad ran its last train through Maple Valley on March 15 and a significant historical era ended. In this series of articles, beginning below, Dave Sprau, Burlington Northern train dispatcher, recalls the often turbulent past and, to many valleyites, the sad present.)

By Dave Sprau
Installment I

At 4 p.m., Friday, April 4, 1980, Burlington Northern Agent Ralph Ozura locked the door on the Maple Valley station and went home for the last time.

Unlike other days, no “night man“ showed up to relieve Ralph and keep the station operating on its previous 24-hour, seven-day-per-week basis. An era had ended. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Times, June 4, 1967

The children peeking through the opening are Phillip and Thomas Fisk, children of the photographer, Al Fisk. They are watching Frank Dawson set new brick to make the four layers of the oven lining.

The children peeking through the opening are Phillip and Thomas Fisk, children of the photographer, Al Fisk. They are watching Frank Dawson set new brick to make the four layers of the oven lining.

Black Diamond’s distinctive bakery is busy turning out its tasty bread again, after a shutdown earlier this year for repair of its earthquake-damaged 65-year-old brick oven.

The reconditioned wood-burning oven should be good for another 60 to 100 years, Frank Dawson, co-owner of the bakery, says.

The Black Diamond Bakery is believed to be the only on in this state still using a wood-fired oven.

Dawson and his son-in-law, Gene Rutledge, rebuilt the oven in January. About 6,000 bricks were replaced or reset. The oven had to be allowed to cool a full two weeks before the bricks were cool enough to handle. (more…)

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Originally published in the Daily News Journal, April 28, 1980

By Wini Carter

Steiert and Frank Guidetti have devoted many hours to project.

Steiert and Frank Guidetti have devoted many hours to project.

Paintin’ the town red was once a favored occupation in the rough and tumble mining town of Black Diamond. But it is taking on a new meaning as Black Diamond Historical Society members wield paint brushes in earnest to lay a coat of traditional red on the 100-year-old railroad station.

There aren’t any rails running in front of the old station any more—but historical society members hope there may be one of these days—at least for show.

For the past four or five years, the organization has been working at cleaning up the old station, restoring it to some semblance of its old self.

It will serve as a museum and an attraction to the town whose main attractions presently are the famed Black Diamond Bakery, art and ceramic galleries, old coal mine tailings, and scenery.

(more…)

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Originally published in the Pacific Coast Bulletin, April 1914

safety lamp with locking device

This safety lamp, with a locking device, was made in England by Thomas & Williams Makers, Aberdare, a Cambrian No. 5. This lamp was used by Wm. T. Thomas, a Pacific Coast Coal Co. employee.

In Bulletin No. 2 it was mentioned that the matter of an alleged irregularity in the handling of safety lamps in Mine No. 14 was being investigated and the result would be published in the Bulletin, later. The company, as well as the employees at Black Diamond, requested the State Mine Inspector to make a thorough investigation, and no doubt, most of the employees are aware of his findings; hence, it will be unnecessary to repeat the details here.

The complaint arose, principally, through the unfamiliarity of some of the miners with the lamps. Upon investigation it developed that the supposed defects had no bearing whatever on the safety of the lamps, and the lamps exchanged for the men at the time, were exchanged simply that the miners might feel entirely satisfied.

There was no occasion for any fuss about the matter, and nothing further would have been, said about it, had it not been for the activity of some of the agitators, who were bent upon bringing about trouble between the company and its employees.

The State Mine Inspector made a good suggestion to the committee of employees, when he advised them to try to work in harmony with the mine officials in the future, stating he was satisfied any just complaint would be given due consideration, if presented to the proper officials.

The business of coal mining is difficult and more or less dangerous at best, and it is highly desirable, from the standpoint of the employees, as well as from that of the company, that there should be harmony and co-operation between the mine officials and the men. They should work together to obtain the best results as to safety and efficient operation of the mines. (more…)

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Originally published in the Black Diamond Bulletin, Summer 2011

By JoAnne Matsumura

The photograph of Rees T. Reese and eulogy were loaned to the society in 2001 by his granddaughter, Rachael Frederickson Fagnan, now deceased.

The photograph of Rees T. Reese was loaned to the society by his granddaughter, Rachael Frederickson Fagnan, now deceased.

It was Friday, April 26, 1907, at 6:50 a.m., when an explosion occurred at the sixth level at the Morgan Slope of Mine 11. The explosion took the lives of seven miners—one of them Rees Reese.

Reese was the son of Thomas and Mary Reese, who resided near Castell Craig Y Nos Braconshire, South Wales. He came to America in April 1884 at about the age of 25. He soon married Rachel Walters, the daughter of William and Ann Walters of Hirwaun, Aberdare, South Wales, on December 6, 1885, in Cleveland, Iowa. The two settled there and began their family.

Reese, along with his wife and 2-year-old daughter, Mary Ann, relocated to Franklin, W.T., in 1888. Entertainment options in the early days were sparse. The Welsh, however, are well known for their singing, poetry, and storytelling. He began singing for choirs, gatherings, and parties, and was soon included in the Franklin choir. His ability to recite poetic verse in the Cambrian tongue was another one of his many talents. (more…)

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Originally published in the Pacific Coast Bulletin, Month/day unknown, 1922

Play ball 1922The Bulletin regrets very much that the Miners’ Baseball League seems, for the time, to be in temporary eclipse, but hopes things will work themselves out soon so that there will be a revival of inter-camp playing, with the teams competing on a more equal basis than was possible in the past. (more…)

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Originally published in the Pacific Coast Bulletin, May 3, 1922

BLACK DIAMOND’S TEAM AND EXTRA PLAYERS. Reading from left to right: First row, Norton, Frink, Hydorn, Blair, Shears, Mulberger, Wicks; Second row, Curtis, Simmons, Hunton, Beeman, Supt. Cartwright, Lowman, Manager McDonough, Grantier, Watson. The boy in front is Billy Nicholson, mascot.

BLACK DIAMOND’S TEAM AND EXTRA PLAYERS.
Reading from left to right: First row, Norton, Frink, Hydorn, Blair, Shears, Mulberger, Wicks; Second row, Curtis, Simmons, Hunton, Beeman, Supt. Cartwright, Lowman, Manager McDonough, Grantier, Watson. The boy in front is Billy Nicholson, mascot.

THE LINE UP

Black Diamond Issaquah
Mulberger s. Anderson s.
Curtis 1b. Hales rf.
Blair lf. McDonald 2b.
Norton rf. O’Reilley c.
Hunton cf. Hardie 1b.
Chambers 3b. Doucett cf.
Shears 2b. Noel lf.
Wicks c. Potter 3b.
Hydorn p. Hoadley p.

The baseball season is on—at least so far as the camps of the Pacific Coast Coal Company, and the others in the recently organized Miners’ League, are concerned.

It was formally opened at Black Diamond on Sunday afternoon, April 30, when the players of that camp, and a team from Issaquah, faced each other on the diamond.

N.D. Moore, vice president, tossed the first ball (incidentally almost whacking himself on the shin, being sadly out of practice) and launched the hostilities. Supt. Cartwright made a speech from the field in which he announced the beginning of the season. (more…)

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