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Posts Tagged ‘John Henry Mine’

Originally published in the MVHS Bugle, March 2007

Howard Botts

Howard Botts

Black Diamond is my favorite subject since I’ve lived there all my life. I think these two towns, Maple Valley and Black Diamond, have some things in common; a couple of them are Highway 169 and railroads.

People in Seattle heard that the Northern Pacific was coming to this area and going to Tacoma.

They felt if they couldn’t have that they were going to build their own railroad from Seattle to Walla Walla over the pass. So they started in 1873, got as far as Renton in 1876; then extended it to Newcastle. In 1880 Henry Villard, of the Northern Pacific, bought it from the Black Diamond Coal Company and renamed it the Columbia & Puget Sound Railroad. (more…)

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Originally published in the Enumclaw Courier-Herald, October 26, 1988

By Brenda Berube
The Courier-Herald

After months of debate, Black Diamond City Council members denied developer Steve Metcalf a rezone on just under one acre of land near the John Henry No. 1 mine, where Metcalf was planning to build multifamily housing units. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Times, January 30, 1983

By Eric Pryne
Times staff reporter

Coal drew hundreds of immigrants to Black Diamond in the early 1900s—three young Italians, victims of a 1910 mine explosion, are buried in the town cemetery. The mining industry might make a comeback in the area after decades of dormancy. (Barry Wong/Seattle Times)

Coal drew hundreds of immigrants to Black Diamond in the early 1900s—three young Italians, victims of a 1910 mine explosion, are buried in the town cemetery. The mining industry might make a comeback in the area after decades of dormancy. (Barry Wong/Seattle Times)

BLACK DIAMOND — Their addresses may be the same, but they really are two communities—one old, one new—in and around this historic Southeast King County town.

The coal industry built Black Diamond a century ago. It was a bustling mining town with colonies of Welshmen, Italians, Slavs, and Finns—and a population three times larger than today.

But oil replaced coal in most of America’s furnaces, and Black Diamond already had begun fading by the 1930s. Today its best known export is bread from the bakery. The hills around town produce only a pittance of coal.

Even so, the mineral’s imprint on Black Diamond is everywhere. A mountain of slag and a coal car by the highway mark the entrance to town.

A stone in the cemetery tells, in Italian, of three men who died in a 1910 mine explosion. Many of Black Diamond’s homes are old coal-company houses, built before World War I.

And, among Black Diamond’s 1,200 residents, a good number of miners still fondly remember the old days. (more…)

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Originally published in the Enumclaw Eagle, August 31, 1988

Annual picnic source of stories of coal, men

By Gordon Koestler

Retired miners John Streepy (left) and George Savicke shared a tale or two. (Eagle photo by Gordon Koestler.)

Retired miners John Streepy (left) and George Savicke shared a tale or two. (Eagle photo by Gordon Koestler.)

Deep within the spine of the Cascade Mountains, on either side of the summit, lie still-large coal reserves. Over the past 100 or so years, men like John Costanich, John Streepy, and George Savicke, supported by women like Mary Mihelich, have pulled the black diamonds out of mines near places like Wilkeson, Palmer, Roslyn, Carbonado, Cle Elum and, yes, Black Diamond.

Saturday, such men and women met to celebrate and remember that lifestyle at the annual Miners’ Picnic, conducted at a private park at the base of the Green River Gorge. Such luminaries as former U.S. Sen. Slade Gordon, now campaigning to return to the Senate, and Renton area state Rep. Mike Patrick thought enough of the Miners’ Picnic to attend the afternoon gathering, and King County Executive Tim Hill, 8th District Congressman Rod Chandler, and 31st District Rep. Ernie Crane were scheduled to put in appearances as well. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Times, June 1, 1983

The King County Housing Authority tract in the center of this 1946 photo has disappeared and the configurations of many streets have since changed. But Black Diamond remains a rural town surrounded by wooded terrain which attracts many people as a place to live.

The King County Housing Authority tract in the center of this 1946 photo has disappeared and the configurations of many streets have since changed. But Black Diamond remains a rural town surrounded by wooded terrain which attracts many people as a place to live.

By Herb Belanger

“This city has to have businesses, industry or something,” says Black Diamond’s Vivian Bainton. “We can’t have just residences.”

That’s why she and members of the city’s small business community and owners of commercial property were scheduled to meet today on “what they have in mind and where they want to go,” she said. (more…)

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Originally published in The News Tribune, April 7, 1988

By Jonathan Feste

Carter stands in front of his 100-year-old resort, which may be about to grow.

Carter stands in front of his 100-year-old resort, which may be about to grow.

Seattlites and Tacomans for the last 100 years have escaped to the Green River Gorge east of Auburn to experience solitude, broken only by the echo of falling water.

One of the many destinations near the gorge is the Green River Gorge resort, where each week Jim and Linda Carter, who have welcomed guests to the old recreation area for the last 11 years, regularly get cabin requests even though they have no cabins. The Carters only have a campground, snack bar, and trail system that winds down into the gorge.

But that may change before long. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Times, December 24, 1985

By Elizabeth Pullam

museum_snowCarl Steiert remembers Christmas in Black Diamond 70 years ago. There was always a foot of snow on the ground in those days, and a bobsledder who started at the top of Lawson Hill could skid through icy streets, past rows of miners’ houses, defying death and the shaking fists of threatened pedestrians.

“The tricky part was making that right-angle turn up there, where the tracks used to be,” says Steiert, 74, as he points beyond the false-fronted buildings that were once drugstores, saloons and stables. “If you could make that, you could ride clear to the cemetery, over half a mile away.” (more…)

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