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Originally published in the Enumclaw Courier-Herald, July 2, 1997

By Paul Gottlieb
The Courier-Herald

Black Diamond playground took new shape last week as new playground equipment was installed. (Photo by Paul Gottlieb)

Like weekend warriors, a squad of 20 to 30 Black Diamond residents armed with rakes and shovels descend upon the town’s elementary school playground every Saturday to upgrade the only play area for children—and adults—for miles around.

By July 12, the volunteers and the heavy equipment operators they trail expect to complete a project that will double the size of the existing playground by expanding it into a field owned by Enumclaw School District. (more…)

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Originally published in the Maple Valley Reporter, July 1, 2011

By TJ Martinell

Black Diamond baseball field, circa 1915.

The Black Diamond baseball field during a game.

Coal mining towns have always been a point of fascination to me.

There were two things which prompted my interest as a kid. The first was when my family took a trip to Knott’s Berry Farm. The Calico Mine Ride, a train tour into an animatronic coal mine, had a way sparking the imagination of a precocious 3-year-old whose head was already in the clouds.

The second reason was both historical and personal. My ancestor, John Bush, was one of the first white people born in the Issaquah Valley where there was a very active coal mining industry. When I was around 9 years old, my grandfather gave me a special coin commemorating the formation of the Royal Arch Mason Chapter 39 in Issaquah—dated September 22, 1914, with John Bush’s name engraved on the back.

So, when I first went to Black Diamond in search of a story, I was already interested in what the town had to offer in terms of history. While I was writing articles about Franklin and Welsh heritage, however, I became more interested in their prolific sports history.

At the front desk of the museum is a glass exhibit of their sports legacy; old baseball uniforms, basketball trophies, soccer team portraits, and autographed baseballs. It wasn’t hard for me to perceive the kind of significance sports had there. (more…)

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Family recalls his career and life on the farm

Originally published in the MVHS Bugle, June 2005

Story by Barbara Nilson
Photos by Sherrie Acker and Nilson

Warren Iverson greets Johnny Lazor’s children: Barbara Donckers, David Lazor, and Raymond Lazor at the dedication of the “Johnny Lazor Hobart Ball Field.” — Photo by Barbara Nilson

The Hobart ball field now bears the name “Johnny Lazor Hobart Ball Field.” A crowd of nearly 100 arrived on Saturday, May 14, to hear Warren Iverson recognize the people who were responsible for the restoration and renaming of the field.

A new flag pole was donated by Terry Seaman, a huge sign graces the back stop, and a plaque honoring Lazor’s baseball career has been placed on a stone at the entrance to the field.

On Sunday more than 150 people were on hand at the Hobart Community Church to hear the three Lazor children, David, Raymond, and Barbara, recall their Dad and life on the farm on SE 208th Street. (more…)

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Originally published in the Maple Valley Reporter, June 3, 2011

Gomer Evans’ Welsh family heritage and the story of a father’s years in the mines

By TJ Martinell

Gomer Evans Sr. left, holding a lunch pail, stands with his arm on the cart outside a mine in the Black Diamond area. The photo is undated. Photo courtesy Sherrie Evans

Walking through the Black Diamond Historical Museum is like strolling through the family room for Gomer Evans, Jr.

A framed picture of his parents’ wedding sits on top of a glass display of family Bibles.

A photograph of his older brother, Dave, hangs on the wall in the main room.

As he flips through a collection of historical pictures, he finds his father, Gomer Evans Sr., sitting among a row of Welsh engineers. (more…)

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Originally published in the News Journal, May 29, 1998

Building survey finds rich history lurking in old structures

By Mike Archbold
Journal Reporter

Mike and Linda Deicher stand on the porch of one of Black Diamond’s refurbished historic buildings. The couple own the structure, which most recently housed an antique shop but was built as a post office in 1893 and was home to Koerner’s Drug & Confectionery store in the 1920s. (Joe Brockert/Journal)

BLACK DIAMOND — History spoke to Michael and Linda Deicher when they first saw the two-story building on Railroad Avenue in Black Diamond’s Old Town.

They liked the prominent false front facade of a turn-of-the-century commercial building and the covered porch that wrapped around two sides. Linda Deicher’s favorite architectural detail was the front wall of beveled glass windows that captures the light and frames a spectacular view of Mount Rainier. (more…)

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Originally published in the Pacific Coast Bulletin, May 27, 1926

Miss Velma Hull demonstrates the Simpson Signaling Life Line, invented by Homer Blair and used for the first time at the Mine Rescue and First Aid Meet in Burnett last Saturday. (more…)

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Originally published in the Pacific Coast Bulletin, May 20, 1926

One of Black Diamond’s finest assets is its splendid high school with the fine student body pictured in the group shown above. In athletics, dramatics, and all school activities, there is a wonderful school spirit which largely accounts for the creditable showing made by Black Diamond High.

In addition, the high school is interested in First Aid training and has two teams which will compete in the annual Mine Rescue and First Aid Meet at Burnett next Saturday. Prof. Albert Weatherbee is the principal of the school. (more…)

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Originally published in the Pacific Coast Bulletin, May 13, 1926

Scenes in the Garden of Eden could not have been more attractive than are the orchards of Wenatchee and Eastern Washington each spring when the apple trees are in full blossom. Against a background of jagged, snow-capped peaks, and nestled in the soft green of verdant clover and alfalfa, the exquisite beauty of the pale pink and white blossoms is beyond compare.

Until recently the orchardist was helpless against the blighting touch of late spring frosts, but thanks to the introduction of Diamond Briquets he is now able to protect his blossoming trees by heating his orchard. The picture shows a typical scene in the Wenatchee Valley. (Photo copyright by J.D. Wheeler.) (more…)

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Originally published in the Maple Valley Reporter, May 13, 2011

By Timothy Martinell

An old coal cart sits where the town of Franklin once stood by the Green River. The cart was donated by the Palmer Coking Coal Company. TJ Martinell, The Reporter

I have to admit, when I first went to Black Diamond, I didn’t think I’d be introduced to the mayor of a ghost town.

When I first spoke to Keith Watson, director of the Black Diamond Historical Society, I expressed my interest in Franklin, the nearby ghost town. After discussing how to get there, he looked at me with a subtle grin and asked, “Do you want to meet the mayor?”

At first, I wasn’t sure if he was being funny or not, but then he walked into another room. A few moments later, he reappeared with another man: Don Mason, the “mayor” of Franklin. (more…)

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Originally published in the Pacific Coast Bulletin, May 6, 1926

Thirteen years ago, in the year 1913, Black Diamond boasted a juvenile First Aid Team of which Al McBlaine, now master mechanic at Burnett, was the coach. The halftone shown herewith was made from a rather faded photograph in the possession of Supt. Paul Gallagher, of Black Diamond. But one member of this team, Paul J. Gallagher, is now in the employ of the company. Edwin Swanson, another member of the team, is a brother of Mrs. Elsie Upton, of the Accounting Department.

These First Aid boys, in Boy Scout uniforms, are still remembered for their participation in the famous Preparedness Day parade in Seattle before this country entered the World War. Those in the picture, from left to right, are; Jack Mitchell, Laurence Plano, Edwin Swanson, Donald Weston, Paul J. Gallagher, and Wm. Morgan. (more…)

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