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Posts Tagged ‘company town’

Originally published in the Pacific Coast Bulletin, April 28, 1924

This photo is from the 1925 P.T.A. visit to Briquetville, near today's Gene Coulon Park.

This photo is from the 1925 P.T.A. visit to Briquetville, near today’s Gene Coulon Park.

Briquet Plant data of interest to you

This plant was opened in 1914 and has run continuously since that time. It operates two shifts of eight hours each and produces five hundred tons of briquets a day. That means that over one and one-half million briquets are made each day.

Camp welcomes you

Through Mrs. Julius Johnson, president Newcastle Circle of the Parent-Teacher Association, its membership numbering 51, joins with the entire camp and the company officials in welcoming the visiting P.T.A. members of King County today. We want you to see the mine and the camp of which we are so proud, and when you leave us, above all, we want you to remember your trip to Newcastle and that your return will be welcomed.

The briquets are made from a combination of Black Diamond and South Prairie coals. The first of these give it its free burning quality and low ash and the last, a coking coal, gives it its strength and fire holding power. The binder used is a specially prepared form of asphalt from which the stickiness has been removed.

The trip through the plant will be in the direction in which the coal is run, beginning at the point where the raw coal is received and ending at the point where the finished briquet goes into the railroad cars.

First, will be seen the unloading hoppers through which the fresh coal will be flowing from the railroad cars. From here the coal goes to the top of the high timber structure known as the “Raw coal bunker.” Through this it is fed down by gravity and in the exact proportion required into the two steel box conveyors which run from this bunker into the steel building ahead, known as the “Dryer Building.”

Before leaving the raw coal bunker, by stepping up the first flight of steps may be seen the “measuring” conveyors which portion out the two grades of coal as the housewife measures the ingredients of a cake. (more…)

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Originally published in the Washington State Historical Society’s quarterly journal, Columbia, Spring 1994

By John Hanscom

Drawing of Franklin, circa 1887.

Bird’s-eye-view map of Franklin Mine and its environs, c. 1890. (Courtesy of Don Mason and the Black Diamond Historical Society.)

Henry Villard launched the Oregon Improvement Company in October 1880 as part of his grand scheme to dominate the development of the Pacific Northwest. By 1883 he had tied the area to the national economy with the completion of the Northern Pacific Railroad. Expansive development of the Pacific Northwest seemed assured.

To fuel Villard’s steamships and locomotives, a dependable coal supply was a high priority. By February 1881 the Oregon Improvement Company had acquired the Seattle Coal and Transportation Company, including the Newcastle Mine east of Lake Washington, at a cost of one million dollars. The Seattle and Walla Walla Railroad (renamed the Columbia and Puget Sound) was also purchased for over half a million dollars to transport coal from mine to Seattle bunkers. Villard hired John L. Howard under a five-year contract at $10,000 per year as general manager of the coal business. (more…)

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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 Pacific Coast Bulletin, October 4, 1923

Indication of the wide-spreading use of Diamond Briquets is seen in the growing demand for this fuel for consumption in the smudge pots of Yakima Valley orchards. Each spring, during the budding and blossoming season, Yakima orchardists strive to save their crops from the ravages of late frosts by the use of smudge pots placed beneath the flower-laden trees. (more…)

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Originally published in the Pacific Coast Bulletin, June 14, 1923

If working a shift in Black Diamond Mine was no harder for the four men shown above than it was for them to pose for this picture, there would always be a mad scramble among the men to see who could get the first man-trip down.

At the left we introduce to you, George Belt, and next to him, Fred Cunningham, a former Issaquah miner. The man next in line is R.E. “Curly” Campbell and the young Hercules at the extreme right is Darwin Walton. (more…)

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Originally published in the Pacific Coast Bulletin, May 17, 1923

Toonerville trolley

Toonerville trolley

Guided by the accommodating hand of Supt. J.J. Jones, the editor of the Bulletin was conducted through Black Diamond Mine last Friday, May 11, and initiated into the mysteries of digging coal.

Down on the 12th Level, in Chute No. 1, on the South Side, J.D. Walton gave a demonstration of how a pick is used in digging, while up at the face in the gangway some of the boys were busy with a jack hammer, driving the gangway still further along the seam.

At the 11th Level Pete Kurth, cager, was found on the job, busy with the constant string of trips coming and going. Going on up to the 9th, the trip was made on the “Toonerville Trolley”—the auxiliary hoist between the 12th and 7th Levels used until the 12th Level is developed extensively enough to permit the switching of the main trip. (more…)

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Originally published in the Pacific Coast Bulletin, May 3, 1923

Around the top works of a mine the greatest noticeable activity is when the shifts are going on and coming off. During the rest of the time the trips come shooting up the shaft with machine-like regularity, discharge their coal cargoes, and drop back down again with little of the human element in evidence.

That those who stay on top might see who’s responsible below for the daily hoist the Bulletin herewith shows one group of the men ready to go underground for the graveyard shift.

Reading from left to right they are: Elmer Landis, Earl Cooper, L.A. Broulette, Tony Pinter (just peeking over Broulette’s shoulder), Ray Ellis, Wm. Holzhauser, Robt. Wallace, Ed. Sawyer, Joe Zeman, Phil Werle, Eli Celich, I.C. Thompson, and Wm. Kelly. (more…)

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