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Posts Tagged ‘brick plant’

Originally published in the Valley Daily News, August 26, 1991

By Tina Hilding

Brick works at Denny Renton Clay and Coal Company, 1909. (Photos courtesy Renton Historical Museum.)

Brick works at Denny Renton Clay and Coal Company, 1909. (Photos courtesy Renton Historical Museum.)

RENTON — North America Refractories, hidden away on a small road east of Interstate 405, seems like an ordinary small industry.

The 60-acre property off Houser Way has been for sale for a number of years and is being considered as a site for a county regional justice center.

In its heyday in the early 1900s, the factory, located on the south side of the Cedar River, was the largest paving brick plant in Washington—some say in the United States or in the world. (more…)

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Originally published in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, February 22, 1889

Several more claims filed, a find of galena ore

fire-clayMr. James W. Bird, engineer of the Columbia & Puget Sound Railroad, and four others have located mining claims in township 21, range 6 east, between Black Diamond and Franklin, in which are situated four veins of fire clay, which have recently been discovered there. (more…)

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Originally published in Seattle Daily Times, January 7, 1906

Former manager of Denny-Renton Clay & Coal Co. decides to take long rest after many years in business

George W. Kummer

George W. Kummer

George W. Kummer, who recently resigned the general managership of the Denny-Renton Clay & Coal Company, was the pioneer, organizer, and manager of the first developed factory for the manufacture of clay products in Seattle. To this work he gave sixteen years of unremitting effort, with the result that this industry is now one of the largest and most prosperous in this part of the country.

In 1890 Mr. Kummer took charge of the Puget Sound Fire Clay Company, which, under his management, made the first pressed brick and the first fire brick manufactured in Seattle. This company was reorganized in 1892 under the name of the Denny Clay Company, and during the past year a further reorganization was effected by the absorption of the Renton Clay and Coal Company, the new corporation becoming the Denny-Renton Clay and Coal Company. (more…)

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Originally published in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, December 7, 1980

Johnny Pritchard with an ore car at the Denny-Renton Clay Company pit on the banks of the Green River about 1900.

Johnny Pritchard with an ore car at the Denny-Renton Clay Company pit on the banks of the Green River about 1900.

By James Warren

At one time, King County was the world’s largest producer of paving brick. In fact, clay products from King County have long been world-famous.

It all began in 1889 when Arthur Denny, one of Seattle’s founders, incorporated the Denny Clay Company and began using shale clay from the banks of the Duwamish River. His timing was fortuitous for that was the year Seattle’s business district burned to the ground. The city fathers promptly decreed that henceforth all downtown buildings must be built of non-combustible materials.

Denny’s factory was located at Van Asselt, then a southern suburb named for Henry Van Asselt, another famous Seattle pioneer. Business boomed and in 1893 the Denny Company expanded by absorbing the Puget Sound Fire Clay Company and building a new plant in the town of Taylor about 10 miles east of Maple Valley. (more…)

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By Irving Petite

Originally published in The News Mill [Issaquah], September 22, 1976

Before Bill McCauley and I bought land on Tiger Mountain in 1941, we had explored Western Washington’s unimproved land-for-sale from Darrington, north, to Randle, south, and from Twin Lakes in the Cascade Mountains to Shine, across Hood Canal from Seabeck on the Olympic Peninsula.

In the process, 35 years ago, we surveyed acreage for sale at Kerriston. Weekends (days when Bill was not doing jackhammer work at Mud Mountain Dam and I was not attending the university) during the summer and fall of 1940, we sometimes drove Bill’s 1936 Nash to logged-off land a timber company’s map showed to be for sale at Kerriston. It was reached by going south to Renton (the first floating bridge was not complete), southeast to Hobart, then east into the Cascade foothills.

A few miles east of Hobart the road V’d. Straight ahead, on the crest of Taylor Mountain, stood the town of Taylor with is Gladding McBean kilns for the firing of bricks and tile. (In later years, fire bricks for our own hearths were to come from Taylor … and giant tiles for our chimney flues.) When we drove up there once in 1940, a cow with a bell was ringleading several other cows down the main street.

Now there is a gate across that road’s mouth and Taylor (whose kiln stacks—once air hazards—have been removed) is in Cedar River Watershed.

But a gravel road still leads right. In 1940 and for years following it was purely a one-way road between the fences and “no trespassing” signs of Cedar River Watershed. Where, at the far end it opened into the land for sale, we found it to be jumbled hillsides folding into ravines and pothole-like depressions on both sides of a disused logging grade. (more…)

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Originally published in the Globe News, July 4, 1976

By Bill Smull

Torn photograph shows train, workers at old Durham Mine

Torn photograph shows train, workers at old Durham Mine

Steve Gustin sort of gets a kick out of people asking him where he’s from.

“I always say, ‘Elkcoal.’ And they always ask, ‘Where’s that?’ And I tell them, ‘Right across the road from Durham.’”

The confusion of those unfortunate newcomers who run into Steve Gustin can be excused; there are not a few long-time King County residents who aren’t even aware of the existence of Elkcoal, much less the long-abandoned mining community of Durham which once perched precariously on a hillside a few hundred yards from the ancient filling station and grocery owned by Steve and his wife, Vernalee.

The Elk and Durham mines both are long abandoned, leaving a few piles of rotting planks and beams and a huge pile of brush-choked slag as their only visible memorials. Most of the people—and even some of the houses—have scattered throughout the county. But even though all traces of mining activity have disappeared beneath second-growth forest, some old miners remain to remember the years of sweat and toil—and occasional terror—beneath the Cascade foothills. (more…)

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