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Posts Tagged ‘clay mining’

Originally published in The Seattle Times, December 17, 1986

By Jim Simon

You load sixteen tons and what do you get,
Another day older and deeper in debt,
Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’’t go,
I owe my soul to the company store.

“Sixteen Tons,” by Merle Travis

It has become part of our folklore: the brutal, indentured existence of miners and millworkers eking out a living in sooty company towns. We all know it was a life of oppression.

But don’t tell that to Edna Crews. (more…)

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Originally published in the Tacoma News Tribune, November 20, 1966

By Rod Cardwell

Picturesque Maple Valley viewed from Echo Lake Cutoff to Snoqualmie Pass Highway; Boeing expansion spells rapid growth for Cedar River area. – Photos by TNT’s Bob Rudsit.

Picturesque Maple Valley viewed from Echo Lake Cutoff to Snoqualmie Pass Highway; Boeing expansion spells rapid growth for Cedar River area. – Photos by TNT’s Bob Rudsit.

MAPLE VALLEY, King County — Born 70 years ago in Italy, an ex-barber named Joe Mezzavilla still makes wine for his own table and is quite particular and uses only the best grapes from California.

And it is obviously a good medicine because he is a fine figure of a man, tall and erect … and with a full head of Latin-dark hair streaked with distinguished gray.

He has no use for most store-bought wines. In the accent of his native Venice, he explains, “I’m a make mine with a no sugar, no fortified stuff.” (more…)

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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 Renton News Record, July 17, 1947

On July 7 the Seattle Water Department took possession of the property of the Gladding McBean and Co. at Taylor and there ended some 50 years of the industrial development of the Puget Sound area.

It was interesting to watch the number of people and the kinds of vehicles which have been hauling material from Taylor which the company sold at a bargain price provided the purchaser did the wrecking and hauling.

That material is appearing in the improvement of existing homes or the beginning of construction of new homes. So the Maple Valley community continues to improve and grow.


Some indication of the growth of the community may be gleaned from reliable reports that there are now 70 families with permanent residences on Lake Sawyer with three times that many summer homes.

The Lake Sawyer area now has electric power, rural mail delivery, school buses, and telephone connection through the Black Diamond exchange. Now Lake Sawyer is trying to establish daily to connections to Seattle. The community continues to grow.

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, August 16, 2016

By Bill Kombol

This photo of the Maple Valley railway depot was taken in 1948 as viewed looking northbound along the Maple Valley highway (aka SR-169). The depot was also used as the dispatcher’s office.

It was the second railroad station in Maple Valley, replacing the first constructed in 1885, when the original rail line was built to access coal from the newly developed town of Black Diamond. (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, July 19, 2016

By Bill Kombol

This January 20, 1948 photo shows a PCRR engine pulling loaded coal cars as they cross over the Cedar River near Maplewood Golf Course in Renton.

This January 20, 1948, photo shows a PCRR engine pulling loaded coal cars as they cross over the Cedar River near Maplewood Golf Course in Renton.

This column’s focus over the next several weeks will be the Pacific Coast Railroad (PCRR), previously known as the Columbia & Puget Sound (C&PS). Perhaps no other single venture was more important to the development of the Maple Valley–Black Diamond area than the railroad. (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, October 4, 2016

By Bill Kombol

Proprietors Paul and Hannah Knoernschild, standing to the left of the horse and buggy, in the coal and clay mining town of Taylor.

Proprietors Paul and Hannah Knoernschild, standing to the left of the horse and buggy, in the coal and clay mining town of Taylor.

Taylor was a mining town located about 4 miles east of Hobart on a branch line of the Columbia & Puget Sound Railroad. The area was first homesteaded by Sam Galloway, who discovered both coal and clay deposits in 1892.

Three years later the property was sold to Arthur Denny, who’d founded Seattle in 1852. He formed the Denny Clay Company, which opened the mines with the coal used to fire the clay manufactured into bricks, shingles, and sewer pipe. Over 633,000 tons of coal were mined and millions of clay products shipped. (more…)

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