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Archive for January 23rd, 2020

Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, January 23, 2007

By Barbara Nilson

The town of Fairfax, declared the “prettiest mining town around,” showing the turn-table at the extreme right above center. Mine buildings are in front and the school is on the left. Carbon River runs through the trees at the top or the photo. (Original copy from Mr. and Mrs. Tony Basselli.) Photo courtesy of Steve Meitzler, Heritage Quest Press, Orting, WA., publisher of the book, Carbon River Coal Country.

Riding the Northern Pacific Railroad to the upper end of the Carbon River Canyon or tooling along to Mount Rainier in a Model T, tourists would pass close to three mining towns: Melmont, Fairfax, and Montezuma.

First, beyond Carbonado, was Melmont, situated between the Carbon River and the NPR line. A bridge spanning the Carbon River ran between the company hotel and the saloon with the depot and school on the hillside above. On the left end of the bridge was the road connecting to Fairfax. This bridge was nearly a little beyond the high bridge which spans the canyon today. (more…)

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Originally published in the News Journal, January 23, 1980

Story and photos by Bruce Rommel

Black Diamond sits nestled in the western foothills of the Cascades.

Once hundreds of men worked the strip mines, producing coal, the “black diamond” which powered the railroads, fueled industry, and heated our homes.

Walking the quiet streets of Black Diamond today, one finds only the reminders of those days when this community was a booming company town.

Nestled in the western foothills of the Cascades, Black Diamond and nearby Franklin once boasted a population of more than 5,000. All that remains of Franklin today are a few house foundations scattered along hillsides. And in 1979 Black Diamond is a town with about 1,100 residents, about 50 less citizens than a decade ago. (more…)

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