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Posts Tagged ‘Black Diamond Museum’

Originally published in the Maple Valley Reporter, July 22, 2011

By TJ Martinell

The Black Diamond baseball team, circa 1915. Behind the squad is the grandstand filled with enthusiastic spectators as the sport was a passion for many in town.

The Black Diamond baseball team, circa 1915. Behind the squad is the grandstand filled with enthusiastic spectators as the sport was a passion for many in town.

Compared to the other sports in Black Diamond, baseball truly was in a league of its own.

It was America’s pastime, but for the town, it was a matter of pride.

Black Diamond was a part of the Valley League, which included towns such as Franklin, Renton, Kent, Auburn, Sumner, and Issaquah. (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, July 19, 2011

By Kathleen Kear

The Black Diamond Historical Depot Museum’s restored locomotive and caboose are on display in the background while in the foreground, the Coal Miners’ Honor Garden memorializes the men who died in Washington mines. (Photo by Robert Dobson.)

The Black Diamond Historical Depot Museum’s restored locomotive and caboose are on display in the background while in the foreground, the Coal Miners’ Honor Garden memorializes the men who died in Washington mines. (Photo by Robert Dobson.)

Working hard to provide their community with a first-rate museum that gives visitors a look into the past, Black Diamond Historical Society (BDHS) volunteer workers have been blessed in return over the years with a community of cooks ready, willing, and honored to provide sustenance to the workers in order for them to carry on with their weekly Thursday Crew work days. (more…)

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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 8, 2011

By TJ Martinell

Gomer Evans, Sr. spars with an opponent in a match held at the town’s baseball field. The referee is George Avers, who also played on the Black Diamond baseball team.

At the turn of the century in Black Diamond the sport of boxing was a popular form of entertainment.

As a coal mining town, where all of the men worked long hours performing manual labor, it was capable of producing more than a few big, muscular men who could knock someone out with a single punch.

“We were all tough little buggers,” said Jack Thompson, who grew up on Baker Street.

Carl Steiert said as a boy he’d be shining shoes in the barbershop when boxers would put on their trunks in the back end room and warm up. His recollections were published in the book Black Diamond: Mining the Memories. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Times, July 5, 1988

By Scott Peterson

Peter Johnston puts up a sign for Maple Valley Medical at Four Corners Square near Black Diamond. The Four Corners area may attract Black Diamond businesses wishing to escape business and occupation taxes.

Black Diamond — After 18 years of doing business in Black Diamond, Ken Shigaya closed his pharmacy last year on Third Street. He said he didn’t have a choice.

“It was a matter of survival,” he said.

Shigaya recently moved four miles away into a building in direct competition with a nearby Safeway pharmacy.

Despite the drawbacks, he is happy he moved to Four Corners, a growing business center north of Black Diamond in unincorporated King County, at the intersection of state highways 169 and 516.

“There is potential for growth here,” Shigaya says of Four Corners. “Business is dying on the vine in Black Diamond.”

Shigaya is not the only one to recognize the economic problems facing Black Diamond. Because other businesses are threatening to leave the town of 1,200, city leaders are thinking about cutting business and occupation taxes, starting their own chamber of commerce and forming a central business 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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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 Valley Daily News, June 8, 1993

Gary Platt, who owns the Black Diamond Saloon, shown behind him, calls the planned road to funnel traffic off Washington 169 into downtown Black Diamond a positive step. Opponents of the project worry about increased traffic. (AP Laserphoto)

BLACK DIAMOND (AP) — This community in the shadow of Mount Rainier is at a crossroads, considering a “tourist loop” that would capitalize on its glory days as a booming turn-of-the-century coal town.

But the idea is anathema to some folks who like life just the way it is in this quiet community of 1,400 people just off Washington 169.

Downtown Black Diamond is a small cluster of nearly century-old buildings that hasn’t changed significantly in decades.

Tourists passing through, especially on weekends, may visit the Black Diamond Bakery, whose reputation goes beyond the city limits. And they may stroll down Baker Street and check out the town’s arts and crafts gallery, saloon, museum, and barber shop. (more…)

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Originally published in the News Tribune, June 6, 1997

By Bart Ripp

This restaurant verifies its first name.

It is famous.

Famous Black Diamond Bakery & Restaurant has been famous in the cozy South King County mining town as a bakery since 1902 and as an eating destination since 1983, when Doug Weiding bought the place.

I cannot think of a Western Washington town so synonymous with a place to eat. Say Black Diamond, and you think of dynamite bread. (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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