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Posts Tagged ‘coal mining’

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 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 23, 2015

By Kathleen Kear

Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) presented long-time Black Diamond resident Gomer Evans with a national Distinguished Citizen Medal.

Making his way to the Black Diamond Library with his daughter Sherrie Evans, who wanted to pick up a library book, Gomer Evans, long-time Black Diamond community member, was quite surprised to see a room full of friends shouting, “Surprise!”—when he entered.

Evans was doubly surprised when he learned during a short ceremony presented by Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) local Chapter Regent Jeannette Carroll, on Saturday, April 25, that he had been chosen for a national Distinguished Citizen Medal from DAR Nominations for the medal begin at the organization’s chapter level and make their way to the national level where they are scrutinized by the DAR National Society in Washington D.C. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Sunday Times, June 11, 1916

Lake trip ideal for motorists

Magnificent scenery found on tour to White Sulphur Spring—road passes along Cedar River Gorge

Abundant sport waits fishermen’s coming

Beauty spots on scenic drive. Two river canyons, each leading back into the Cascades, are followed on the tour presented by The Times today, terminating at Lake Wilderness, twenty-nine miles distant from the city. The colored illustration shows The Times pathfinder car, the Hupmobile, as it arrived at the lake shore. Below, in the accompanying photograph, is a view of the Green River canyon, shortly after the car had crossed the hill from Black Diamond.

Less than thirty miles from Seattle, at the end of a pathway which leads through ever-changing scenery, along the magnificent Cedar River gorge and up into the mining section of King County, lies Lake Wilderness, towards which The Times pathfinder car, a Hupmobile, blazed the trail for the second of the 1916 series of tours and the twenty-sixth in the grand total thus far logged by this newspaper.

The car, kindly furnished by Mr. Louis P. Schaeffer of the William T. Patten Motor Company, and driven by D.P. Dean, left The Times Building at Second Avenue and Union Street shortly after 9 o’clock and was at Lake Wilderness in ample time to permit an hour’s fishing in the lake before noon as an appetizer.

During the afternoon, the return was made by way of Black Diamond and Auburn, a slightly longer route but well worth the extra effort. In addition to providing variety to the trip, the alternate highway descended into a country of splendid roads and fascinating scenery, joining the Pacific Highway thence into Seattle. (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 Maple Valley Reporter, June 3, 2011

Gomer Evans’ Welsh family heritage and the story of a father’s years in the mines

By TJ Martinell

Gomer Evans Sr. left, holding a lunch pail, stands with his arm on the cart outside a mine in the Black Diamond area. The photo is undated. Photo courtesy Sherrie Evans

Walking through the Black Diamond Historical Museum is like strolling through the family room for Gomer Evans, Jr.

A framed picture of his parents’ wedding sits on top of a glass display of family Bibles.

A photograph of his older brother, Dave, hangs on the wall in the main room.

As he flips through a collection of historical pictures, he finds his father, Gomer Evans Sr., sitting among a row of Welsh engineers. (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 Pacific Coast Bulletin, May 20, 1926

One of Black Diamond’s finest assets is its splendid high school with the fine student body pictured in the group shown above. In athletics, dramatics, and all school activities, there is a wonderful school spirit which largely accounts for the creditable showing made by Black Diamond High.

In addition, the high school is interested in First Aid training and has two teams which will compete in the annual Mine Rescue and First Aid Meet at Burnett next Saturday. Prof. Albert Weatherbee is the principal of the school. (more…)

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Originally published in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, May 19, 1977

By Don Coughlin
Business Editor

As most of you already know, coal is the nation’s most plentiful energy resource. With some 434 billion tons of reserves, we have the same relationship to coal as the Persian Gulf does to oil.

The problem, though, is that despite a lot of talk, coal actually plays less and less of a role. Seventy-five years ago, the stuff provided 90 percent of our energy; today, 17 percent or so.

What went wrong? (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, May 19, 1935

“Coal Week,” May 19 to 25, inclusive, will be observed in Seattle and suburban towns at the request of employees of the Pacific Coast Coal Company, sponsors of “More days per week—more employment” movement, it was announced today.

Seattle merchants will be furnished by the Coal Week Committee with material for educational window displays, according to George D. Allen of Black Diamond, chairman. (more…)

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