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Originally published in The Seattle Times, January 30, 1983

By Eric Pryne
Times staff reporter

Coal drew hundreds of immigrants to Black Diamond in the early 1900s—three young Italians, victims of a 1910 mine explosion, are buried in the town cemetery. The mining industry might make a comeback in the area after decades of dormancy. (Barry Wong/Seattle Times)

Coal drew hundreds of immigrants to Black Diamond in the early 1900s—three young Italians, victims of a 1910 mine explosion, are buried in the town cemetery. The mining industry might make a comeback in the area after decades of dormancy. (Barry Wong/Seattle Times)

BLACK DIAMOND — Their addresses may be the same, but they really are two communities—one old, one new—in and around this historic Southeast King County town.

The coal industry built Black Diamond a century ago. It was a bustling mining town with colonies of Welshmen, Italians, Slavs, and Finns—and a population three times larger than today.

But oil replaced coal in most of America’s furnaces, and Black Diamond already had begun fading by the 1930s. Today its best known export is bread from the bakery. The hills around town produce only a pittance of coal.

Even so, the mineral’s imprint on Black Diamond is everywhere. A mountain of slag and a coal car by the highway mark the entrance to town.

A stone in the cemetery tells, in Italian, of three men who died in a 1910 mine explosion. Many of Black Diamond’s homes are old coal-company houses, built before World War I.

And, among Black Diamond’s 1,200 residents, a good number of miners still fondly remember the old days. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, August 6, 1922

Beautiful silver cup which is held by Burnett Mine is object of competition

L.S. Campbell, captain of the Carbonado team, holding the Mine Rescue Cup won by his team in 1922.

L.S. Campbell, captain of the Carbonado team, holding the Mine Rescue Cup won by his team in 1922.

Acting in cooperation with the Federal Bureau of Mines and the State Mining Department, coal operators in Western Washington have arranged for a mine rescue and first-aid meet to be held at Burnett on Labor Day, September 4.

State Mine Inspector Abe Morris is chairman of the arrangements committee. John G. Schoning, representative of the Federal Bureau of Mines, is in charge of the program.

The meet, which is perhaps the most important held in years, is intended to include all the important coal operators in Western Washington, and invitations to participate have been sent to the following: Carbon Hill Coal Company, Carbonado; Carbon Coal & Clay Company, Bayne; Wilkeson Coal & Coke Company, Wilkeson; Fairfax Coal Company. Fairfax; Durham Coal Company, Durham; Ozark Coal Company, Cumberland; Bellingham Coal Company, Bellingham; Victory Coal Company, Centralia; Olympic Coal Company, Centralia; Ford Prairie Coal Company, Centralia; Pacific Coast Coal Company, which has mines now operating at Black Diamond, Newcastle, Issaquah, and Burnett. (more…)

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