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Posts Tagged ‘Flaming Geyser Park’

Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, April 3, 2007

By Barbara Nilson

Kummer coal/clay bunkers (November 13, 1951 #262106-9022) This coal/clay bunker or storage/ processing facility is believed to have been built in 1944 by the Kummer Coal Company and was later operated by the Johnson Coal Company and Palmer Coking Coal Co., Inc. Its capacity was listed as 150 tons. It was originally built as a coal bunker, but later used for clay. The Kummer mine was unique in that both coal and fire clay were mined. Following mining, slabs of mill end wood were laid on the ground and covered first with coal and then with freshly mined clay. The wood/coal base was set on fire and the clay was burned to rid it of carbon contaminants. The resulting clay was sold to Gladding McBean in Renton for the production of bricks. The Kummer clay beds were founded by Jacob Sants on August 15, 1888, and named for George Kummer, ceramist for the Denny Clay Company. This site is located south of the Green River and west of SR-169 on property now owned by Washington State Parks and Recreation in Section 26-21-6. (Note: King County Assessor photo.) From “When Coal Was King,” April 7, 2009, by Bill Kombol.

Though the clay and coal mining town of Kummer no longer exists, motorists traveling out of Black Diamond today may turn right on to S.E. 352th from the Maple Valley highway and cross the Green River on what the locals still refer to as the “Kummer bridge.”

William Kombol, Palmer Coking Coal Co. explains some of the history, “In addition to their appetite for coal, the growing cities of the Puget Sound also needed deposits of clay, one of the prime ingredients in paving and building bricks. Clay was first discovered in this area near Kummer (an area now occupied by Flaming Geyser State Park) by Jacob Sant in 1888.

The deposit and the town were named for George Kummer, a ceramist and engineer for the Denny Clay Company. In 1905, two local companies joined to form the Denny-Renton Clay & Coal Company which by 1917 was producing 58 million bricks per year. (more…)

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Originally published in The Tacoma News Tribune, February 19, 1998

Bill would give Black Diamond permit it has been denied 3 times

By Leslie Brown
The News Tribune

Black Diamond development: Black Diamond Associates’ 1,600-home development would sit on 750 acres recently annexed by the city. The project is on hold because the city doesn’t have enough water. (Ronnie Ashlock/The News Tribune)

After failing at every level to obtain a water permit for 1,600 new homes in Black Diamond, developers finally have found a sympathetic and powerful ear in the Legislature.

A bill that would give the City of Black Diamond a “temporary” water permit—the very one the state Ecology Department denied developers three years ago passed the House 55-42 last week. It is now pending before the Senate.

Critics are decrying House Bill 2800, sponsored by Rep. Jack Cairnes (R-Covington) as special-interest legislation, bad water policy, and an end-run around a three-tiered administrative process that gave the developers ample review.

“This bill is not really intended to secure a (water) supply for the existing population of the area,” Ecology Department water resources manager Keith Phillips wrote to the House Agriculture and Ecology Committee. “Rather, it is intended to secure a supply for a large, new land development nearby.” (more…)

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Originally published in the Enumclaw Courier-Herald, January 25, 1989

Fire Chief John Bukoskey provided the Black Diamond City Council with a blueprint peek at Fire District 17’s planned support fire station in the Lake Sawyer area at its regular council meeting Thursday.

The 3,700-square-foot support station, which will be built with a $500,000 bond issue voters approved in September, is scheduled for ground breaking in February and completion sometime in the fall.

The 22-man joint volunteer fire department—Black Diamond and King County District 17—covers an 18-square-mile radius and responds to the Black Diamond, Green River Gorge, Flaming Geyser, and Lake Sawyer areas. The planned low-maintenance, brick building will provide facilities for firefighters the current small station in Black Diamond cannot supply, like a classroom, kitchen, hose tower, and living space for a resident firefighter. (more…)

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Originally published in the South County Journal, January 14, 2001

By Mike Archbold
Journal Reporter

Dan O’Brien/Journal

BLACK DIAMOND — There is a dancing light in the woods that offers a respite from the deep damp of winter.

Nestled beneath a snag forest of trunks and branches covered with moss, a rock pit glimmers in the late afternoon at the state park south of here. Not far away, the Green River rushes; Christy Creek gurgles closer.

The flaming geyser of Flaming Geyser State Park is a sprightly flame of methane gas 8 to 12 inches high that undulates atop a concrete pad. The wind sometimes blows it out, but the methane keeps on coming from deep underground, where fractured rivers of coal millions of years old still lie. (more…)

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Originally published in the King County Journal, June 2001

Workers harvesting leeks at the Mosby Brothers Farm near Black Diamond on a sunny winter day.

Workers harvesting leeks at the Mosby Brothers Farm near Black Diamond on a sunny winter day.

Black Diamond is a small town located 35 miles southeast of Seattle, east of Auburn, and south of Maple Valley. It was established more than 100 years ago when a wealth of coal was discovered. The town’s name came from the Black Diamond Coal Company of California, which began mining in the area in the 1880s. (more…)

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Originally published in the BDHS newsletter, Summer 2018

By William Kombol

“Rusty Rails” photo by Robert Dobson, April 2018

“Rusty Rails” photo by Robert Dobson, April 2018

This spring photographer Bob Dobson stumbled upon a short section of railroad hidden amongst a dense forest near Lake Sawyer. He took a photo that inspired a question: “Who laid these rusty rails?”

Little did he know the answer is the story behind the men who founded Black Diamond. (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, October 11, 2016

By Bill Kombol

With the Major League Baseball [season] ready to begin, it’s fun to look back over 100 years to a women’s baseball team which played for Ravensdale.

Though baseball and soccer were big sports for coal miners representing their respective mining towns, the ladies also took up bat and glove. According to Barbara Nilson’s Ravensdale Reflections, baseball games were played every Sunday at a rough field on the Landsburg Road just across from the Markus store, now known as the Ravensdale Market. (more…)

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