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Posts Tagged ‘Franklin’

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 Seattle Daily Times, June 16, 1911

With price of $50 to murder fellowman, Italian’s hand flutters and he temporizes with intended victim

Above are shown the Vella brothers and below is a picture of Cosenza, whom the brothers hired Arena to kill.

Two agree to split purse to be paid

Four men now in jail while sheriff’s deputies have narrow escape from engaging in death duel

Fifty dollars is the price of a human life, disposed with Camorra-like methods, in the county of King, according to the remarkable disclosures of Joe Cosenza, a coal miner whose life was spared by the weakening of the hired assassin.

In the arrest of the alleged plotters, in a mining hamlet shack at Franklin, Deputy Sheriff Scott Malone and City Detective Joe Bianchi had the closest calls of their lives early this morning, for Thomas Vella, Italian, and the two officers stood with revolvers leveled at one another for a minute, each trying to force the other to back down. The Italian’s nerve finally failed. (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 News Tribune, May 18, 1994

Coal town energizes student imagination

By Jami Leabow Farkas
The News Tribune

Not much sits now on the land off Southeast Green River Gorge Road near Black Diamond. It’s barren, save for huge trees and a few headstones that give clues to the people who inhabited the once-thriving coal mining settlement of Franklin.

But with the ongoing efforts of eighth-grade students at Cedar Heights Junior High School in Kent, that all could change by the turn of the century. (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of Valley, May 16, 2006

By Barbara Nilson

In 1920 Fred Habenicht, holding a hand saw, supervised the unloading of the new hydraulic mine motor vehicle or pulling loaded mine cars from water level tunnel to the Continental Coal Co. bunker (in the background). It replaced mules in the mine. Miners are: 18-year-old Vern Habenicht; Bob Kingen Sr., Frenchy Ferdinand Maigre; Evor Morgan, holding the chain; and onlooker Bill Baldwin. (Photo—Habenicht collection from Ravensdale Reflections book)

Before the turn of the 20th century, coal seams ran from the shores of Lake Washington to the foot of the Cascade mountains leading to the establishment of towns at the mine sites, some of which are still in existence, i.e., Renton, Black Diamond, Cumberland, Issaquah, Wilkeson, and Ravensdale. Some linger in memory only, i.e., Franklin, Elk, Bayne, Durham, Danville, Eddyville, Taylor, and Landsburg.

From the year 1888 through 1967, there were an amazing 232 coal seams being tapped in King County and operated by 157 different companies. (more…)

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Originally published in the Pacific Coast Bulletin, May 13, 1926

Scenes in the Garden of Eden could not have been more attractive than are the orchards of Wenatchee and Eastern Washington each spring when the apple trees are in full blossom. Against a background of jagged, snow-capped peaks, and nestled in the soft green of verdant clover and alfalfa, the exquisite beauty of the pale pink and white blossoms is beyond compare.

Until recently the orchardist was helpless against the blighting touch of late spring frosts, but thanks to the introduction of Diamond Briquets he is now able to protect his blossoming trees by heating his orchard. The picture shows a typical scene in the Wenatchee Valley. (Photo copyright by J.D. Wheeler.) (more…)

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Originally published in the Maple Valley Reporter, May 13, 2011

By Timothy Martinell

An old coal cart sits where the town of Franklin once stood by the Green River. The cart was donated by the Palmer Coking Coal Company. TJ Martinell, The Reporter

I have to admit, when I first went to Black Diamond, I didn’t think I’d be introduced to the mayor of a ghost town.

When I first spoke to Keith Watson, director of the Black Diamond Historical Society, I expressed my interest in Franklin, the nearby ghost town. After discussing how to get there, he looked at me with a subtle grin and asked, “Do you want to meet the mayor?”

At first, I wasn’t sure if he was being funny or not, but then he walked into another room. A few moments later, he reappeared with another man: Don Mason, the “mayor” of Franklin. (more…)

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Originally published in the News-Journal, May 4, 1980

Photos and text by Jennifer Werner

Carl Falk weighs in a truck at the Palmer Coking Coal Co.

Gas prices climb steadily, up to more than $1.20 a gallon. Fuel bills are rising to all-time highs, and the terms “conservation,” “TMI,” “China syndrome,” and “oil embargo” are the buzzwords of our generation.

As the alternatives to our dwindling energy resources become apparent, so does the attractiveness of one of the oldest fuels used by man. Coal.

Underneath the hills of Black Diamond there is an estimated 200 million tons of that black gold. So says Carl Falk, one of the co-owners of the
Palmer Coking Coal Co. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, May 3, 1961

By Frank Lynch

Richard H. Parry and son Elvede with account of mine disaster (Post-Intelligencer photo).

Found (and at long, long last)—

A regional folk song and a regional hero.

Richard H. Parry lives at 4429 Rainier Ave. He was born in Wales, and he is a retired coal miner.

Some several weeks ago one of his sons, Arthur, found a Welsh language Bible at Goodwill. He bought same, presented it to his dad, and the elder Parry was delighted with it—and for several reasons.

The Bible is a handsome one—and well-illustrated. It is certainly very old.

There were several bits of Americana hidden in the pages—a Blue Ribbon Army (Temperance) pledge card, some Christmas cards, and scraps of Welsh verse and copy of a song sung over our own land by one W.D. Reese and entitled—

“The disaster at Franklin.” (more…)

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