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Posts Tagged ‘Black Diamond Historical Society’

Originally published in the Enumclaw Courier-Herald, July 10, 2013

By Dennis Box
Editor

After years of planning and hard work the Black Diamond Coal Miners Memorial was unveiled Saturday during the city’s Miners Day celebration.

The honor garden memorial includes a 13-foot bronze statue sculpted by Ellensburg artist Paul Crites and a 28-foot granite wall, engraved with the names of miners who have died in mines throughout Washington state. Engraved bricks are at the base of the statue and wall. Surrounding the memorial and historical museum is a landscaped garden.

According to Black Diamond Historical Society President Keith Watson, the idea for the memorial began years ago, but started in earnest about two years ago when he and former Black Diamond Mayor Howard Botts, and their wives made a trip to Roslyn, Wash. They saw a Roslyn coal miners memorial and that was the inspiration. (more…)

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Originally published in the Maple Valley Reporter, July 6, 2012

By TJ Martinell

Black Diamond miners ride the car down into the mine. The car was lowered by a cable from the surface. The car was designed to stop if the cable was severed to prevent it from crashing.

A typical “day at the office” for the 820 or so men who worked in Mine 11 in Black Diamond at the turn of the century involved darkness, potential disasters and long hours of hard work thousands of feet beneath the surface.

The morning shifts started at 7:30 a.m. Work shifts ranged from eight to 10 hours, six days a week.

As Miners Day—which is set for this weekend—approached Don Mason and Don Malgarini of the Black Diamond Historical Society reflected on what the average day was like for a coal miner.

“There wasn’t a lot of office jobs,” Mason said. “They worked their butts off.” (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, June 11, 2003

By Kathleen E. Kear

Left to right: Conrad “Coke” Roberts (Class of ’41) and Joe Zumek (Class of ’43) look forward to meeting up with classmates they have not seen in many years as well as meeting other Black Diamond High School graduates for the first time.

Little did they know that when 36 students entered first grade in September 1931, the graduating class of 1943 would be the last class to graduate from Black Diamond High School. In honor of the Class of 1943 as well as commemorating the closing of the high school, over 70 Black Diamond graduates from its various graduating classes will be gathering once again to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the last class to graduate from Black Diamond High School.

Schoolmates from as far away as Las Vegas, California, Idaho, and Oregon will be making the trip to reminisce of days gone by. Two of those in attendance (both from the class of 1926) will include Ruby (Favro) Keeney, 96, of Enumclaw, and Ernesta (Franchini) Van der Heyden, 96, from a rest home in Lake Forest. (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, June 4, 2003

By Kathleen E. Kear

Welsh descendant Joseph J. Thomas, 9, was laid to rest in the Black Diamond Cemetery in 1890 after being killed by a coal train.

Steeped in a rich heritage of life centered on coal mining, Black Diamond, which was the third largest city in the state of Washington at one time, could also boast of the many European immigrants settling in and around the bustling town.

One of the countries represented in the area was Wales. Between 1882 and 1885 a whole town of Welsh families from California moved to Washington bringing with them not only their rich Welsh inheritance, but also the name of their town—Black Diamond (known at times in California during that time period as Nortonville and today as Pittsburgh).

Along with their rich heritage, the families brought with them their mining tools and equipment in addition to their furnishings. Many of these items will be on view at the Black Diamond Museum during their 5th annual Welsh Heritage Day celebration on Saturday, June 7. (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 Maple Valley Reporter, May 20, 2011

By TJ Martinell

The grave of Alice Gertrude Johnson in the Franklin Cemetery. The date of birth and death read: January 1, 1902 – January 7, 1902. TJ Martinell, The Reporter

When I think of a ghost town, a tableau of the iconic “High Noon” spaghetti-western comes into mind. It is a row of ramshackle wooden buildings that form two lines like opposing armies in a battle. There is the requisite saloon door dangling on one hinge, while a ball of tumbleweed sweeps through the dry and barren street. Aside from a gust of wind, bringing in dust devils and a hot dry breeze, the environment has an eerie silence to it.

As I explored the area near Green River with Dan Hutson, a member of the Black Diamond Historical Society, where the town of Franklin once was, I perceived that, as a ghost town, it has none of these qualities. (more…)

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Originally published in the Enumclaw Courier-Herald, May 14, 1997

By Paul Gottlieb
The Courier-Herald

Settling into his new role as King County Executive, Ron Sims visited Black Diamond May 7 as his 120-day “Community Outreach” tour of cities and communities draws to a close.

Sims met with city administrator Rick Luther and city councilman Mario Sorci in the city council chambers, promising to look into making it easier for Black Diamond to obtain more water as the city grows. (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 South County Journal, April 25, 2002

Concrete block now encases meeting spot of coal miners’ union

By Mike Archbold
Journal Reporter

Paul Botts, left, 87, one of the last underground miners from Black Diamond, and Don Mason, president of the Black Diamond Historical Society, stand at the Union Stump. Now enclosed in concrete, the old fir stump was used in 1907 in Black Diamond to rally miners and start a union. (Gary Kissel/JournaI)

BLACK DIAMOND — Paul Botts remembers seeing the Union Stump as a youngster.

Now 87, he is among the last of the underground coal miners still living in the area. And Botts still is a member of United Mine Workers Local 6481.

“Dues are $6 a month. And I still get benefits,” Botts said last week, leaning against the large, square block of concrete encasing the old fir stump—where union history was made nearly a century ago, debates were argued, rallies were held, and strikes were called.

Like mining itself, Local 6481 left Black Diamond years ago. Now the local is located in Ogden, Utah, Botts said. (more…)

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Originally published in the Maple Valley Reporter, April 20, 2012

By TJ Martinell

A World War II memorial wall, which uses a cascading granite design. The Black Diamond Historical Society intends to use this design for its miner’s memorial wall.

The Black Diamond Historical Society is working on plans to erect a memorial statue and wall outside of its building.

According to President Keith Watson, the historical society started the project about two months ago after members visited the coal mining town of Roslyn near Cle Elum. (more…)

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