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Posts Tagged ‘Irish’

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 Seattle Daily Times, November 10, 1910

One of the rescuers, Vitalis Marckx—fourth from the left—was supposed to work that fateful Sunday.

One of the rescuers at the Lawson Mine, Vitalis Marckx—fourth from the left—was supposed to work that fateful Sunday on November 6, 1910.

It usually requires a tragedy to bring the majority to a realization of the seriousness of any trivial affair—to a proper appreciation of the monotonous services which are daily rendered by brave and faithful servants of our everyday system of life.

Such a tragedy as that which occurred at Black Diamond on Sunday morning has, we trust, brought such a realization of the bravery and devotion of the men who go down into the earth day by day to mine the coal which warms our bodies, cooks our food, supplies our light, and speeds us on our way homeward.

In these days most of these men are foreigners—members of an alien race—but that does not diminish their due of praise or their credit in the way of our gratitude.

The open mouth of a coal mine has swallowed up many a young and promising life. Even if the youthful miner be spared a violent death in some such explosion as that which occurred in the Lawson mine on Sunday morning, the chances are that he will succumb in the end to “miners’ consumption,” pneumonia, or the terrors of the dark, underground chambers in which he works. (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, August 22, 2006

By Barbara Nilson

The rebuilt Selleck School, completed in 1930, now serves as the Pacific States Condominiums. This April 10, 1940, photo is courtesy King County Assessor Property Card collection, Washington State Archives, Puget Sound Branch.

The rebuilt Selleck School, completed in 1930. This April 10, 1940, photo is courtesy King County Assessor Property Card collection, Washington State Archives, Puget Sound Branch.

At the end the Kent-Kangley Road east of Maple Valley is the mill town of Selleck, which still exists today; next door was the town of Lavender, or “Jap Town.” The mill is gone, but the school is still there and about 16 of the original houses. (more…)

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Originally published in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, August 12, 1888

A community where constables and officers of the law are not needed—Remarkable progress and substantial prosperity

Drawing of Franklin, circa 1887.

Drawing of Franklin, circa 1887.

Probably the majority of the readers of the Post-Intelligencer have never inspected a coal mine or visited a town where coal mining was the exclusive industry. They have, therefore, necessarily but an imperfect knowledge of a large and very excellent class of the working population of this territory, and especially of King County.

A representative of this paper visited Franklin, in this county, a day or two ago and made some observations which may be of general interest. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Times, February 2, 1972

By Don Duncan

Matthew McTurk (left) and Richard H. Parry

Matthew McTurk (left) and Richard H. Parry

Richard H. Parry, stocky Welshman, turned 90 the other day. Parry and Matthew McTurk, 85, a wiry Scot, recalled the days when they almost really owed their souls to the company store.

Not in Appalachia, mind you. But right here in Washington State, where human moles burrowed into the ground at Roslyn, Black Diamond, Ravensdale, Wilkeson and Carbonado and the basement coal bin was as much a part the home as the kitchen icebox.

At times Parry and McTurk disagreed loudly on historical points—“Now you shut up and let me tell it”—but it was all noise and no heat; the disagreement of old, old friends. Afterward they embraced warmly. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Times, December 13, 1988

By Louis T. Corsaletti
Seattle Times Eastside bureau

One of the Newcastle coal-mine rescue teams in 1924 included, from left, B.F. Snook (the captain), George Hasku, Walter Clark, Joe Ansberger and George Munson.

One of the Newcastle coal-mine rescue teams in 1924 included, from left, B.F. Snook (the captain), George Hasku, Walter Clark, Joe Ansberger and George Munson.

It was an economic boom that lasted for more than 50 years—one that helped put Seattle and the Eastside on the map.

And it was a force that almost overnight turned this part of the Pacific Northwest into an ethnic melting pot.

Described in newspapers of the day, it was called “coal rush” and “coal fever.”

Coal. Black diamonds. Black gold. (more…)

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Originally published in the Black Diamond Bulletin, Winter 2012/2013

By Ken Jensen

Frank Selleck’s home is in the foreground while the Selleck School is in the background. (Photo courtesy of Lloyd Qually.)

Frank Selleck’s home is in the foreground while the Selleck School is in the background. (Photo courtesy of Lloyd Qually.)

September 1, 1923—11:58 A.M. The Great Kanto Earthquake struck Japan, immediately followed by a 40-foot tsunami. And if that wasn’t enough, firestorms roared through what was left of the mostly wooden homes of Yokohama and Tokyo. In all, 140,000 dead; nearly 500,000 homes destroyed. Devastation unseen—that is, until an eerily-similar scene unfolded in Japan in March 2011.

As one of the largest inland mills in the Northwest, the Pacific States Lumber Company in Selleck landed a contract to produce the lumber required to help rebuild the shattered remains of the Japanese capital.

It was the roaring ‘20s and Selleck was booming. The town had two hotels, a hospital, a school, company houses, a dance hall, several saloons, a number of stores, and of course all manner of mill buildings. About 900 folks called Selleck home—600 to 700 working in the mill at its peak. Three shifts produced 150,000 board feet every eight hours.

Each day two passenger and four freight trains served the burgeoning population and the mill.

But prosperity didn’t last. (more…)

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