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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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Originally published in the Pacific Coast Bulletin, Month/date unknown, 1923

Newcastle BB Club Team 1923With the distinction of having won every game played so far this season, the Newcastle Baseball Club also holds the unique honor of including among its players eight men who work underground, every man on the team, however, being a full-fledged mine employee. Four of the men are contract miners. What is more, these baseball champs are just as efficient with a jack-hammer or miner’s pick as they are with a ball and bat.

In the group above in the front row, left to right, you see: “Cannon-ball” Roy Woolsey, contract miner and pitcher; Syd Evans, fireboss and team manager; E.R. Mullen, haulage man and center field; Ray Knoblauch, pay roll clerk and 3rd base; back row. Left to right: “Chick” Cowling, timberman and shortstop, also captain of the team; Jimmy O’Reilly, contract miner and 1st base; H.C. Lovelace, loader and right field; L. Kunkle, contract miner and left field; Harry Ober, contract miner and catcher. Unfortunately Geo. Cowling, pipeman’s helper and 2nd base player, was detained in the mine when the boys came off shift and consequently does not appear in the picture.

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Originally published in the Pacific Coast Bulletin, June 1, 1930

Part of Black Diamond’s baseball park. The scene depicts the Royal Colored Giants of Seattle caught in a barrage of baseballs.

Part of Black Diamond’s baseball park. The scene depicts the Royal Colored Giants of Seattle caught in a barrage of baseballs.

Phrenologists tell us that the “bumps,” “ridges,” and “corrugations” on the old bean, to a more or less extent, indicate the calling for which we are best fitted. Until a few years ago we were skeptical. Now we’re sold.

We believe that if Fred Bianco would take the time and trouble to prepare a topographical sketch of the skull of Bill Cushing, of Black Diamond, that the bumps, ridges, and corrugations found thereon would resemble those on the noble “pate” of “Jawn” McGraw of the New York Giants.

Of course “Jawn” has a little edge but “Jawn’s” drawing-account has something to do with that. At any rate Bill has again turned loose on the unsuspecting neighbors another clean-cut, smooth-running, hard socking, and sure-fielding aggregation. Six teams have met the Diamond so far this season and an even half dozen have “bit the dust.”

The loss column still resembles the fruit of a well-known fowl. Just a row of goose eggs. They haven’t lost anything this year but pitched balls.

It’s an accepted fact that “all the world loves a winner.” We dropped out to the Diamond last Sunday, May 25th, for the purpose of taking a few snapshots and to note whether or not Black Diamond was giving their team the support they are meriting.

And the answer is YES in boxcar letters. (more…)

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Originally published in the Pacific Coast Bulletin, May 17, 1922

NEWCASTLE TEAM AND OTHERS Lower row, reading left to right: Manager Orr, High. Whipple, Marberry, Gilbert, Howard. Middle row, Kunkle, Pintar, McCoy, Knoblauch, John. Top row, Gilbert, Walmsley (Bulletin correspondent), Evans, secretary of the team. The boy in front is E. Veighmann, mascot. The above team was the one that appeared to play Black Diamond on Sunday, May 7, when the game had to be postponed on account of rain. Coker was added on last Sunday.

NEWCASTLE TEAM AND OTHERS
Lower row, reading left to right: Manager Orr, High. Whipple, Marberry, Gilbert, Howard. Middle row, Kunkle, Pintar, McCoy, Knoblauch, John. Top row, Gilbert, Walmsley (Bulletin correspondent), Evans, secretary of the team. The boy in front is E. Veighmann, mascot. The above team was the one that appeared to play Black Diamond on Sunday, May 7, when the game had to be postponed on account of rain. Coker was added on last Sunday.

THE LINE UP

Black Diamond Newcastle
Mulberger ss Pintar ss
Curtis 1b High 1b
Blair lf John lf
Hunton cf Kunkle rf
Chambers 3b McCoy 2b
Hydorn p Barrett c
Shears 2b Knoblauch 3b
Bowen c Coker cf
McDonald rf Whipple p

It seemed for a little while, during Sunday’s baseball game between Black Diamond and Newcastle as though the latter were about to humble the Diamond’s laurels in the dust.

Newcastle waded into the contest by smacking out a run in the very first inning, causing the Black Diamonders to glance at each other and wonder what was coming next.

Whipple, pitcher for Newcastle—and he is a real pitcher—handled himself like a conqueror, when his turn came to go into the box, and smiles of delight spread among his rooters as the balls whizzed over the plate, untouched by the batters of the opposition. (more…)

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