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Posts Tagged ‘Italians’

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 News Journal, May 29, 1998

Building survey finds rich history lurking in old structures

By Mike Archbold
Journal Reporter

Mike and Linda Deicher stand on the porch of one of Black Diamond’s refurbished historic buildings. The couple own the structure, which most recently housed an antique shop but was built as a post office in 1893 and was home to Koerner’s Drug & Confectionery store in the 1920s. (Joe Brockert/Journal)

BLACK DIAMOND — History spoke to Michael and Linda Deicher when they first saw the two-story building on Railroad Avenue in Black Diamond’s Old Town.

They liked the prominent false front facade of a turn-of-the-century commercial building and the covered porch that wrapped around two sides. Linda Deicher’s favorite architectural detail was the front wall of beveled glass windows that captures the light and frames a spectacular view of Mount Rainier. (more…)

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Originally published in the Valley Daily News, April 21, 1995

By George Erb
Valley Daily News

Front-end loader, above, shovels dirt and rock into a truck to expose coal. (Valley Daily News photo by Marcus R. Donner.)

BLACK DIAMOND — In the earliest days, miners would tromp out of the tent city that was Black Diamond and go underground to pry coal from the earth with hand tools and explosives.

More than a century later, most work takes place in broad daylight at the John Henry Mine on the outskirts of town. The John Henry is an open pit, and even when the sun sets behind the debris piles, the work goes on under the glare of floodlights mounted on diesel generators.

Today’s miners are more likely to wrestle a steering wheel than swing a pick. For the most part, they are heavy equipment operators who drive oversized bulldozers, trucks, and front-end loaders. (more…)

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Originally published in the Kent News Journal, April 16, 1987

By Bruce Rommel
Staff Reporter

Black Diamond city employee Larry Marks, on ground, Carl Steiert and Ted Barner inspect one of damaged monuments. Staff photo by Bruce Rommel.

Julia Gallagher was only 15 when she died on April 18, 1889. Somebody remembers. They regularly clean the ornate marble marker over her grave at the Black Diamond Cemetery.

Brushed and scrubbed to a dull white, Julia’s monument stood out amidst dozens of aged and graying monuments, making it a tempting target two nights ago.

It was one of nearly 40 historic monuments toppled or broken by vandals in the cemetery, where early residents of the coal-mining community were first laid to rest in wood coffins in the 1880s. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, April 12, 1913

Justice Davis, of Black Diamond, explains reasons for assessing Italian $100

That he has no objection to the Italian pastime of cheese rolling, but that he does seriously and strenuously object to the running of a “blind pig” in his vicinity, is the statement in a letter to The Times of W.W. Davis, justice of the peace at Black Diamond.

He would no more attempt to stop the Italians from playing their national game, he says, than he would try to stop American youth from playing baseball; but when they try to sell liquor without a license they will get into trouble, he declares. (more…)

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Originally published in The Tacoma News Tribune, April 5, 1995

By Lisa Kremer
The News Tribune

Bob Eaton, president of the Black Diamond Historical Society, and his granddaughter Kelley Sauskojus are trying to get a miners’ cabin built in 1910 near Black Diamond designated a local historic landmark. (Peter Haley/The News Tribune.)

In 1910, two Italian men built a tiny house—barely big enough for beds, a stove, and a sink—to live in as they worked in the nearby mines of Black Diamond.

There’s not much to distinguish the house from hundreds of other small miner’s cabins that dotted the hillsides. Except that this house is still there, almost in its original condition.

Bob Eaton, president of the Black Diamond Historical Society, wants to preserve the house and designate it a local historic landmark. That would mean his granddaughter Kelley Sauskojus, who owns the cabin, could apply for state grants to repair and restore it.

But like all other South King County cities, Black Diamond doesn’t have a process to officially designate its local landmarks.

It’s so difficult to designate city landmarks that only two cities in King County—Seattle and Bothell—have done so, said Charlie Sundberg, a preservation planner with the King County Historic Preservation program. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, April 5, 1911

Giuseppe Piztorasi assessed $100 and $6.50 costs for conducting sporty nuisance at Black Diamond

Deputies on trail of explosion suspects

Racket made by several hundred Italians at Black Diamond at one of their national sports, cheese rolling, led to the arrest early Sunday morning of Giuseppe Piztorasi, who yesterday paid a fine of $100 and $6.50 costs for conducting a nuisance. Piztorasi was fined Monday by Justice of the Peace William W. Davis, and said that he would not pay the fine. But he concluded to do so yesterday morning just as Deputy Sheriff Joseph C. Hill was about to step upon the train with him to come to the county jail.

Hill and Deputy Sheriff Scott Malone have been staying at Black Diamond investigating the explosion of giant powder that wrecked the little home of Rasmus Christiansen, assistant superintendent of the Pacific Coast Coal Company. Blowing the ceiling from over the bed in which Christiansen, his wife, and baby were asleep. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, March 31, 1911

Confident that among the seven Italians now in the county jail under sentence of vagrancy are two guilty of exploding the dynamite that Tuesday morning at 3:30 wrecked the home of Rasmus Christiansen, assistant superintendent of the Pacific Coast Coal Company at Black Diamond, Sheriff Robert T. Hodge is keeping four deputies at Black Diamond gathering evidence.

The sheriff also thinks that the presence of the deputies in Black Diamond will doubly insure peace in the present state of high feeling between the American miners and the Italians. It is not anticipated that this will break out in the absence of a known miscreant upon which to vent itself. No further arrests have been made.

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, March 30, 1911

Deputy sheriffs forced to beat back ominous mob which surrounds shack used as jail

Dynamiting outrage followed by demonstration in which citizens take part as peace officers

1—The wrecked Christiansen home. 2—Where dynamite was exploded. 3—Interior of home after explosion. 4—Rasmus Christiansen. 5—Deputy Hill, at left, jailing a suspect at Black Diamond.

One hundred and fifty Italians, displaying all the voluble excitability of their race when in a dangerous mood, formed an ominous cordon about the little wooden shack that serves as a jail at Black Diamond yesterday afternoon when deputy sheriffs, after scouring the mining town all day, took into custody seven of their countrymen among whose number the authorities believe will be found one or more responsible for the dynamite outrage perpetrated on the home of Rasmus Christiansen early yesterday morning. (more…)

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