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Archive for the ‘Railroads’ Category

Originally published in the Pacific Coast Bulletin, April 8, 1926

Orchardists throughout the fruit districts of Eastern Washington depend upon Diamond Briquets to protect their blossoming trees from damage by frost. Consequently, this spring the Pacific Coast Coal Company conducted an extensive advertising campaign in the Yakima, Walla Walla, and Wenatchee districts, featuring Diamond Briquets as the ideal fuel for orchard heating.

This picture shows a window display arranged in Yakima, through the courtesy of the Yakima Daily Republic and the Yakima Morning Herald. (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, April 3, 2007

By Barbara Nilson

Kummer coal/clay bunkers (November 13, 1951 #262106-9022) This coal/clay bunker or storage/ processing facility is believed to have been built in 1944 by the Kummer Coal Company and was later operated by the Johnson Coal Company and Palmer Coking Coal Co., Inc. Its capacity was listed as 150 tons. It was originally built as a coal bunker, but later used for clay. The Kummer mine was unique in that both coal and fire clay were mined. Following mining, slabs of mill end wood were laid on the ground and covered first with coal and then with freshly mined clay. The wood/coal base was set on fire and the clay was burned to rid it of carbon contaminants. The resulting clay was sold to Gladding McBean in Renton for the production of bricks. The Kummer clay beds were founded by Jacob Sants on August 15, 1888, and named for George Kummer, ceramist for the Denny Clay Company. This site is located south of the Green River and west of SR-169 on property now owned by Washington State Parks and Recreation in Section 26-21-6. (Note: King County Assessor photo.) From “When Coal Was King,” April 7, 2009, by Bill Kombol.

Though the clay and coal mining town of Kummer no longer exists, motorists traveling out of Black Diamond today may turn right on to S.E. 352th from the Maple Valley highway and cross the Green River on what the locals still refer to as the “Kummer bridge.”

William Kombol, Palmer Coking Coal Co. explains some of the history, “In addition to their appetite for coal, the growing cities of the Puget Sound also needed deposits of clay, one of the prime ingredients in paving and building bricks. Clay was first discovered in this area near Kummer (an area now occupied by Flaming Geyser State Park) by Jacob Sant in 1888.

The deposit and the town were named for George Kummer, a ceramist and engineer for the Denny Clay Company. In 1905, two local companies joined to form the Denny-Renton Clay & Coal Company which by 1917 was producing 58 million bricks per year. (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, March 20, 2007

By Barbara Nilson

Pacific Coast Coal Co. morning shift poses sitting on electric engines and empty coal cars outside the boarding house in Rainbow Town. The coal bunkers are in the background with the small hose-coal bunker to the right of the rear of the line of coal cars. A track straightener is in the foreground. — 1909 Asahel Curtis photo, courtesy of the Washington State Historical Society, Tacoma, and Bill Kombol, Palmer Coking Coal Co.

Milt Swanson is a historical treasure. He is a walking, talking encyclopedia with fascinating tales of his home town Newcastle/Coal Creek. He’s lived on the same piece of property for 84 years in a company house, on top of a mine shaft and next to the former company hotel and saloon. Across the street was Finn Town and the up the hill was Red Town.

He said when he was a kid, his pals and him named the various areas of the mining camp. The houses on the hill were red, so that was “Red Town”; closer to him the houses were white so naturally that was “White Town” and the area with all different colors was “Rainbow Village.” (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, March 15, 2000

By Cecilia Nguyen

For years Black Diamond has struggled to develop a plan that would make the city economically self-sufficient while maintaining the small town character.

A strong local economy with a healthy tax base would provide Black Diamond the much-needed funds to improve its capital facilities.

Financial relief for the small, former mining town may soon be a reality. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, March 7, 1913

Delay in the opening of bids by the Board of Public Works for standing timber in the Cedar River watershed, insisted upon by The Times, today resulted in a bid of 51 cents a thousand above the bid of a week ago for fir timber, 60,000,000 feet of which is to be sold. The bid was submitted by the Northwestern Lumber Company, operating a large mill at Kerriston, on the Northern Pacific. (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, March 6, 2007

By Barbara Nilson

The original depot at Kanaskat built in 1912 and destroyed by fire in 1943. — From the Museum of History and Industry and loaned by Ruth Eckes.

The old railroad towns of Palmer and Kanaskat once thrived across the Green River from each other, Palmer on the north and Kanaskat on the south; eight miles southeast of Enumclaw. Somewhere along the line the two lost their identities. Apparently, the post office located in Palmer burned and the authorities moved it to Kanaskat but left the name of Palmer. (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, February 20, 2007

The former railroad depot, built in 1886, in Black Diamond now houses the Historical Society Museum. Down Railroad Avenue the current book store is visible. It has also been King’s Tavern. — Photo by Barbara Nilson.

Featured speaker at the Maple Valley Reunion, Sunday, Feb. 25th, will be Mayor Howard Botts of Black Diamond. The 1 p.m. program at the Grange Hall on Highway 169 at 216th is sponsored by the Maple Valley Historical Society.

Mayor Botts, who was born and raised in Black Diamond, will relate the histories of the two towns and how they have been connected over the years by the highway, the railroad, once upon a time, as well as other similarities. He’ll also discuss, “what is coming down the road; hopefully, new homes and new businesses.”

He said, “It is always interesting to talk about my home town.” Botts has served as mayor for 24 years and before that served several terms on the City Council in the 1960s and then during the 1970s, he was a member of the Planning Community. (more…)

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