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Archive for December, 2014

Originally published in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, January 3, 1891

The Black Diamond Cornet Band of 1888.

The Black Diamond Cornet Band of 1888.

The New Year’s ball given under the auspices of the Knights of Labor, of Black Diamond, was one of the grandest affairs of the kind that has ever occurred there.

The Black Diamond band played a few fine selections prior to opening. The hall was beautifully decorated with evergreens and flowers. An excellent supper was served at 11:30 to nearly 300 people. (more…)

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Originally published in the Black Diamond Bulletin, Spring 2011

By Ken Jensen

Top: The Lake Sawyer Grocery today. Bottom: This June 1948 photo shows the building shortly after it was built when it was a Mobilgas filling station.

Top: The Lake Sawyer Grocery today. Bottom: This June 1948 photo shows the building shortly after it was built when it was a Mobilgas filling station.

The history of Lake Sawyer just wouldn’t be complete without a story on the Lake Sawyer Grocery, a fixture on the north shore since 1946.

It’s one of those Mom & Pop stores from yesteryear where you can grab a six-pack and a bag of chips as well as connect with other residents from the lakeside community and the grocery’s owner, Ted Strand.

Pulling in to the lot one morning I only see a couple of cars. Good.

Shouldn’t be too hard to figure out who’s who. Once inside, I see I shouldn’t have bothered—the “TED” name tag giving Strand away. (more…)

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Franklin wins monetary prizes and the coveted gold medal

By JoAnne Matsumura

1890 Eisteddfod

The Eisteddfod bardic chair was not awarded and, since 1965, is housed at the Bryn Seion Welsh Church in Oregon.

They came from miles around, even out of state, arriving days before the event. They filled up hotels in Seattle—even hotels as far away as Snoqualmie. They came to see and hear their countrymen compete in the First Washington State Welsh Eisteddfod.

The first known Eisteddfod in Washington was held in Franklin in 1886. The character of the Eisteddfod is purely Welsh, comprised of literary, music, and singing competitions.

The Seattle Armory was decorated for this grand affair, which took several weeks. As the doors swung open for the three performances—morning, afternoon, and evening—it was standing-room only, overflowing to the outer areas. “The rafters rang and it was excellent,” stated Inez Calhoun in her memoirs.

The competitors of verse, music, and song had practiced for months up until Christmas Eve day in preparation for their performances. Prizes ranged from $5 to $150 and included the coveted bardic chair for poetry and a specially carved gold medallion for the wining choir conductor and $150 to the choir. (more…)

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Originally published in the News Journal, December 16, 1976

Confectionery Art Gallery

By Taffy Jacaway

Modern-day plastic surgery can’t hold a candle to the face-lifting that artists Les and Elaine Griffin have given to Black Diamond’s old confectionery building to turn it into a spacious display and sales spot for area artists and craftsmen.

The two-story structure, built in the early 1890s, at the corner of Baker and Railroad streets, is the largest remaining historical building in Black Diamond and boasts a colorful past. (more…)

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Originally published in the BDHS newsletter, February 2001

By Dorothy Franz Corlett

GenerosityThe people of Black Diamond were generous people. They looked after their own in time of need. There was no welfare for them. If a man was killed in the mines, his wife and kids survived as best they could with the help of their neighbors.

The company gave the family free rent and one ton of coal each month. The mother took in a boarder or two, did laundry for others, or did sewing or mending for others. I don’t know how they survived, but they did. (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, January 1, 2003

By Barbara Nilson

Johnny LazorJohnny Lazor, of Taylor, the only local boy to make it to major league baseball, died December 9, 2002 at the age of 90. A memorial service was held December 13 at St. Anthony’s Church in Renton.

In a 1994 interview, Lazor said, “I’m the only boy from the Valley that made it to the Big Leagues and I’m proud of it.” He played for the Boston Red Sox from 1942 to 1946 and earned a World Series ring in 1946, but the road to the big league was not an easy one.

Lazor was born in Taylor in 1912 to Veronica and Michael Lazor who had emigrated from Czechoslovakia. He was the second of four children who grew up on a 20-acre farm in Hobart, on S.E. 208th. (more…)

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Originally published in the Tacoma News Tribune, December 9, 1999

Cindy Calton looks at the headstone of Howell Meredith, killed when he went into the mine to look for his son. In foreground is a photograph of her great-grandfather Alfonso Anzelini, who called in sick on Dec. 9, 1899, and lived to work another day.

Cindy Calton looks at the headstone of Howell Meredith, killed when he went into the mine to look for his son. In foreground is a photograph of her great-grandfather Alfonso Anzelini, who called in sick on Dec. 9, 1899, and lived to work another day.

By Bart Ripp

On a dark, dank December Saturday in a coal mine town above the Carbon River, a steam whistle, shrill and loud, pierced the mist.

Some 2,500 people lived in Carbonado. They knew the whistle meant something had happened down below. But they never felt a rumble. And the men and boys working in Carbon Hill Coal Corporation mine No. 7 never had a chance.

Thirty-three died that day when the mine exploded in fire and fumes. Welsh and Finns, Belgians and French, husbands, fathers, sons and brothers. It was 100 years ago today [1999].

Pierce County’s worst mining disaster happened Dec. 9, 1899 in a town with the smudged but symphonic name of Carbonado. Call it “Car-bun-AAA-doe.” (more…)

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Originally published in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, December 7, 1980

Johnny Pritchard with an ore car at the Denny-Renton Clay Company pit on the banks of the Green River about 1900.

Johnny Pritchard with an ore car at the Denny-Renton Clay Company pit on the banks of the Green River about 1900.

By James Warren

At one time, King County was the world’s largest producer of paving brick. In fact, clay products from King County have long been world-famous.

It all began in 1889 when Arthur Denny, one of Seattle’s founders, incorporated the Denny Clay Company and began using shale clay from the banks of the Duwamish River. His timing was fortuitous for that was the year Seattle’s business district burned to the ground. The city fathers promptly decreed that henceforth all downtown buildings must be built of non-combustible materials.

Denny’s factory was located at Van Asselt, then a southern suburb named for Henry Van Asselt, another famous Seattle pioneer. Business boomed and in 1893 the Denny Company expanded by absorbing the Puget Sound Fire Clay Company and building a new plant in the town of Taylor about 10 miles east of Maple Valley. (more…)

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By JoAnne Matsumura

1980 raffleThe society’s second raffle fundraiser was held during its Christmas Open House, Sunday, December 7, 1980. “We wish you could all be winners, but in a sense we are all winners as our cause is a good one,” stated Ann Steiert, in the society’s November 1980 newsletter.

“Inflation has made money what it is all about and there is never enough to go around,” she added. (more…)

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Green River Hot Springs - 1908Originally published in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, December 4, 1904

The only perfectly appointed Health and Pleasure Resort in the Northwest. Steam heated and electric lighted throughout. Dining room unexcelled anywhere. These famous natural hot waters flow from 17 springs at 132 degrees F., within 100 feet of the Hotel, where the waters can be taken at the springs at all seasons. (more…)

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