Posts Tagged ‘Green River’

Originally published in the Covington Reporter, May 25, 2018

The Department of the Interior has granted a permit to resume mining at the Black Diamond location

By Aaron Kunkler

Pacific Coast Coal Company geologist Mike Conaboy shows off a small seam of coal on the surface close to Pit 2, where the company will be mining coal. Photo by Ray Still

After seven years of working with federal regulators, the Pacific Coast Coal Company is gearing up to re-open the only operating coal mine in Washington just outside Black Diamond.

The approval is the latest development for the dormant mine, which made headlines last fall when federal regulators found the mine would have no significant environmental impacts. Environmentalists and local leaders have expressed opposition to the mine reopening, but the Pacific Coast Coal Company (PCCC) appears to be moving ahead nonetheless and is planning to restart mining by this fall at the earliest.


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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, January 30, 1923

Howard Plass’ body found below precipice he scaled in quest of tracks

Howard Plass, circa 1911

Howard Plass, son of B.T. Plass, farmer who lives near Black Diamond, was found dead at the foot of a two-hundred-foot cliff in Green River Gorge yesterday by neighbors who had searched for him since Sunday night.

Yesterday would have been his twenty-second birthday. Fondness for roaming through the woods, seeking bear and deer trails, is believed to have led the young man to climb the cliff beside the river.

Plass left his father’s home about 10:30 o’clock Sunday morning. Previously he had arranged with another youth to spear fish in the Green River, but because of the heavy snow the other youth declined.

When his son had not returned after he had finished milking the cows in the evening, Mr. Plass started a search. He followed his son’s trail down to the river bank. Neighbors joined Mr. Plass later in the night. Young Plass was unmarried. The body was taken to Scott’s Undertaking Company in Auburn.

[Ed. note: For more about the Plass family, go to “When Coal Was King.”]

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, January 29, 1923

Friends, who had been searching since Sunday for Howard Plass, 20 years old, son of B. Plass, a rancher of Black Diamond, found his body at noon today three miles south of Black Diamond, where he had fallen to his death over a 200-foot precipice.

Plass left his home Sunday morning at 10 o’clock for a walk along Green River and met his death near Green River Gorge. Deputy Sheriff Lee Morgan reported the youth’s disappearance to Sheriff Matt Starwich, who acting under meager details, started with bloodhounds for Black Diamond before news of the finding of the body came.

[Ed. note: For more about the Plass family, go to “When Coal Was King.”]

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Originally published in The Record-Chronical, January 14, 1973

Story by Mary Lehto; photo feature by Larry Abele

Down in the pit. Tony Manowski probes the blackness of the Palmer Coking Coal Co. mining pit near Ravensdale on a typical workday. The company, the last mining operation active in King County, faces closure in two or three years, even though the vast underground resources of the “black diamond” have barely been tapped. Reason: more modern fuel supplies and ever-stricter safety standards. For details of the end of an era, turn the page.

Coal mining in King County—one of the area’s most colorful, if not always most profitable, industries—is nearing an end.

After more than 100 years of production, only 18.6 percent of the county’s estimated “black diamond” wealth has been mined. Yet, more modern methods of obtaining energy, and new safety regulations for the mines themselves, are gradually forcing the industry into oblivion.

“We have about two to three years yet to run,” said Carl (Charlie) Falk, office manager of the Palmer Coking Coal Co. which operates the Landsburg Mine in Black Diamond.

The mine, located near Ravensdale, is the last actively operating coal mine in King County.

Twenty-six years of Falk’s life have been devoted to coal mining and it is with more than a touch of regret that he talks about “the end.”


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Originally published in The Seattle Times, December 9, 1973

By Andy Fuller

Have you been on a suds safari lately?

The safari is out to such remote places as Buckley, Black Diamond, or North Bend in quest of schooners and pitchers brim full of beer.

But a suds safari is more than a trip to the sticks for a beer. Just any old beer joint won’t do.

Taverns included on a suds safari should not only be rustic and out of the way, but also have something extra in the way of color or background or plain honky-tonkiness.

Most of the taverns worth visiting have basic similarities. There’s a certain weathered and ancient dignity in the heavy carved backbar and battered but comfortable wooden tables and chairs. There is always at least one pool table and perhaps a shuffleboard and piano. There usually is a dance area. The country tavern’s interior is more roomy and airy than its counterpart in the city. Often there’s a horseshoe pit out back.

Country taverns of any pretensions have country and Western music Friday and Saturday nights. You can stomp and jostle on a dance floor jammed with loggers and construction hands and their wives and girlfriends and also with a surprising number of city types who go out for the weekends.


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Originally published in The Seattle Sunday Times, October 15, 1911

Seattle owes much of her growth to pioneers in this industry—Consumers amply provided for by local dealers

Ages and ages ago the world was practically a vast swamp, which produced a very luxuriant vegetable growth. Ferns grew to gigantic statue; large reeds grew thirty to forty feet high and were a large diameter. When this vegetable growth fell it would fall into the water and be covered, which would prevent a decay of the matter.

This happened season after season; then the sea overflowed the swamp, depositing sand, clay, and limestone, which exerted a pressure on this bed of vegetable matter. This pressure and the ensuing heat transformed this vegetable matter into a bed of coal.

Peat is the lowest form of coal, lignite next higher, bituminous still higher, and anthracite is our highest grade of coal. Anthracite coal is merely peat that has been subjected to a greater pressure and to intense heat.


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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, October 5, 1896

Manager Smith appointed

Fails to meet interest on consolidated bonds—no changes intended—how the property grew

The Oregon Improvement Company through an order made by United States Judge Hanford early yesterday afternoon is now in the hands of C.J. Smith as receiver, who has furnished a bond for $100,000. The proceeding was brought by the Farmers’ Loan and Trust Company, in consequence of the Oregon Improvement Company’s defaulting in interest on its consolidated mortgage bonds.


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Originally published in the Valley Daily News, June 20, 1989

By Mike Archbold

Bob Eaton at work restoring the Black Diamond Museum’s caboose.

Nearly four years as city editor at the Valley Daily News has meant living the immediate world around me mostly through the telephone and staff reporters. Such a vicarious existence wears thin and when the chance came to jump back into the real world, I took it eagerly.

So with reporter notebook back in hand and a tank full of gas, I headed out on the roads and highways of Valley Daily News country for a perimeter run, just to get the feel and the look of the place, to talk to people, perhaps to find a good cup of coffee.

I almost didn’t make it off the Valley floor in Kent—not for any mechanical problem, but because Frager Road along the west side of the Green River steals resolve on a warm spring afternoon. Off the West Valley Highway near Willis Street, this two-lane blacktop slow weaves north, past six-foot-high weeds marking the river’s course. The Valley’s pace slows here along Al Duris’ strawberry field, where the rich soil yields food rather than concrete and warehouses.


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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, April 20, 1988

The Black Diamond Day celebration initiated in June 1985 will not be observed this year, announced the Black Diamond Historical Society, sponsors of the popular event.

In its place will be an all-family Black Diamond picnic Sunday, July 17, at the Palmer Coking Coal recreation site on the Green River.


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Originally published in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, April 9, 1922

Up in the foothills of the Cascades, the early weekend motorists are already flocking to Green River, natural wonder, and the route to which runs through the historic White River Valley, battleground of early days. Hard-surfaced roads are excellent, although most of the way is paved, the Post-Intelligencer’s Motorlogue car, a Cadillac Imperial limousine, from the Sunset Motor Company, found last week. April showers are bringing April flowers, and never is the wild spectacle of the rock-imprisoned river more impressive than when the water is high, as is at the present.

By Kenneth Gilbert

Historic ground, drenched with the blood of settlers; somber, evergreen glades; foaming torrents that thunder past walls of mottled granite; mystic caves and pools, and overall, an atmosphere of the weird legendry of long-vanished red men—this is to be found on a trip to Green River Gorge, a two hours’ drive from Seattle.


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