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Archive for May, 2019

Originally published in Y Ddolen Mai/Mehefin, May/June 2007

By JoAnne Matsumura

The Black Diamond Historical Society has recently photographed the grave markers in the Black Diamond Cemetery, which is now over 125 years old. The oldest grave marker found is dated 1880 of one Rachel Williams. The cemetery is listed on the Washington Heritage Register, The National Register of Historic Places, and the City of Black Diamond Landmarks Register.

This photographic preservation project has captured a moment in time, to be preserved in perpetuity. The wood markers in those early days have long ago given way to the Pacific Northwest’s inclement weather, and those made of the early stone have deteriorated as well. Now, preserved in form that marker can be viewed for that moment in time, for we know that as time marches on so does the evolving deterioration. This project was partially funded by 4Culture, King County Lodging Tax.

The rich Welsh heritage of this once thriving company coal town is well represented by the names on the grave markers. There may be many more of Welsh decent at rest in the cemetery that we may never know, due to the lack of a marker, a name on a marker, or other reason. (more…)

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Originally published in the King County Journal, June 2001

Workers harvesting leeks at the Mosby Brothers Farm near Black Diamond on a sunny winter day.

Workers harvesting leeks at the Mosby Brothers Farm near Black Diamond on a sunny winter day.

Black Diamond is a small town located 35 miles southeast of Seattle, east of Auburn, and south of Maple Valley. It was established more than 100 years ago when a wealth of coal was discovered. The town’s name came from the Black Diamond Coal Company of California, which began mining in the area in the 1880s. (more…)

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Originally published in the Pacific Coast Bulletin, May 28, 1925

Black Diamond justly feels proud of its splendid baseball park and athletic field, with its commodious grandstand and band pavilion. Both the infield and the outfield are grass sod, making it a very fast diamond. Within the park enclosure is a large grove of trees providing facilities for picnic parties, and back of the grandstand tennis courts are being constructed.

All of the work in the park was performed by volunteers, making it in the fullest sense a community enterprise. This picture was taken on the day of the opening game, when Black Diamond and the Seattle Briquets played 16 innings before the contest ended with a score of 2 to 1 in favor of the Seattle nine. (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, May 28, 1977

By George and Dianne Wilson

Planning has begun to offer Black Diamond, and especially its children and young people, a traditional Labor Days celebration. At a well-attended first meeting last week, eighteen interested persons began to draw the plans that will make the celebration possible.

Sid Bergestrom and Steve (Home Smith) Gustin are acting as temporary co-chairmen. Sue Capponi will be in charge of the Finance Committee which involves soliciting donations for prizes, etc. Chuck Capponi will handle the Soap Box Derby, George and Dianne Wilson will do the promotions.

There was a general consensus among those attending that the event was mainly intended to be for Black Diamond and the smaller Valley cities rather than for large numbers of Seattle area people who unfortunately have viewed it as opportunity to come into this area to drink and “tear up the town.” (more…)

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Originally published in the Orting Oracle, May 26, 1916

Friday, May 26, 1916—Superior Judge Easterday last Tuesday sentenced Mayor Joseph McCaskey of Wilkeson $100 and costs of the trial and ten days in the county jail, he having been convicted of selling intoxicating liquors at his drug store in Wilkeson.

The total costs of the prosecution was $386.75, and the law provides that druggist convicted of violating the statutes cannot sell intoxicating liquors for any purpose for a period of two years unless they post a heavy bond to observe the law in making sales.

The $486.75 McCaskey was ordered to pay may be a small matter when compared with what he may have to yield up to the county. It is admitted that there is a strong grounds for the suspicion that A.A. Battiste, McCaskey’s pharmacist, who is out of jail on heavy bail for his alleged part in the selling of booze, has skipped the country. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Star, May 26,1902

Franklin coal mines

Franklin coal mines

W.G. Hartanft, county superintendent of schools, has made arrangements for the teachers to spend a day at the Franklin and Black Diamond coal mines. These mines are situated just at the entrance of Green River Canyon, among delightfully interesting scenes of the Cascades.

The excursion train will leave from the Ocean dock at the foot of Washington Street, Saturday at 8:30 a.m., and all the teachers and their friends are invited. The fare is $1 a round trip. This is one-half the regular fare. Mr. Hartanft suggests that rubbers and a mackintosh will be necessary in going through the mines.

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Originally published in the MVHS Bugle, May 2000

By Barbara Nilson

Photos by Sherrie Acker

The “action” in the 1920s to 1950s, from Seattle south, was at the lake resorts in the Valley. Memories of those glory days were shared at the March program with Dolores Gaffney and Janet Bertagni talking about Gaffney’s Lake Wilderness resort, and Gloria Foss remembering the family’s resort on Shadow Lake.

Lake Wilderness resorts

Attending the historical society program on resorts were, from left, Janet Bertagni, Dolores Gaffney Judge, and Bernadine Gaffney Gebenini.

Dolores Gaffney, daughter of Tom Gaffney, reported her father and his brother Kain purchased the property on Lake Wilderness in 1926 from Abraham and Sam Cohen. The family moved to the lake and the resort opened in the spring of 1927 as Gaffney’s Lake Wilderness.

At that time there were three small family resorts on the lake. Dieckman with his two sons, Jeff and Don, had just started one, and across the lake was McKinney’s. McKinney’s also had a dance hall that was two stories high that they eventually turned into a skating rink. In April 1939 McKinneys sold their place to Gaffneys.

One of the older buildings was used for a dance hall, said Dolores, and they used kerosene lamps. In 1936 they built a new dance hall after the old one burned down. They had a 30-foot-high diving board as well as cabins, tennis courts, picnic areas, ball fields, and playgrounds.

In 1949 Diekmans and Gaffneys were combined and the Gaffneys decided to build a lodge. The design was developed by Young, Richardson and Carlson and won the grand prize from the Washington Chapter of Architects in 1951 and the top award from the American Institute in New York in 1952. The center column totem pole was carved by the famous Doug McCarter. It is 35 feet tall and weighs ten tons. (more…)

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