Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘labor strikes’

Originally published in the Washington State Historical Society’s quarterly journal, Columbia, Spring 1994

By John Hanscom

Drawing of Franklin, circa 1887.

Bird’s-eye-view map of Franklin Mine and its environs, c. 1890. (Courtesy of Don Mason and the Black Diamond Historical Society.)

Henry Villard launched the Oregon Improvement Company in October 1880 as part of his grand scheme to dominate the development of the Pacific Northwest. By 1883 he had tied the area to the national economy with the completion of the Northern Pacific Railroad. Expansive development of the Pacific Northwest seemed assured.

To fuel Villard’s steamships and locomotives, a dependable coal supply was a high priority. By February 1881 the Oregon Improvement Company had acquired the Seattle Coal and Transportation Company, including the Newcastle Mine east of Lake Washington, at a cost of one million dollars. The Seattle and Walla Walla Railroad (renamed the Columbia and Puget Sound) was also purchased for over half a million dollars to transport coal from mine to Seattle bunkers. Villard hired John L. Howard under a five-year contract at $10,000 per year as general manager of the coal business. (more…)

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

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…)

Read Full Post »

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…)

Read Full Post »

Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, December 23, 2014

By Bill Kombol

This May 1968 photo of the Morganville Tavern comes courtesy of the King County Assessor’s archived collection.

This May 1968 photo of the Morganville Tavern comes courtesy of the King County Assessor’s archived collection.

Morganville is a section of Black Diamond founded by striking coal miners in the early 1920s. The building shown here was operated for several decades as the Morganville Tavern with its famous silver dollar bar.

It became a raucous gathering place for bikers, farmers, and politicians after Rick King acquired it, added musical entertainment, and ramped up sales to over 350 kegs of beer per month. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, August 18, 1974

Edited by Dorothy Church

(From the Maplevalley Messenger, September 22, 1921)

A gravity water system, to run from a spring on Olaf Olson’s place to the Maplevalley school, is being considered by the school board. This would eliminate the cost of running the electric pump being used at present which does not give satisfaction. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Originally published in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, September 9, 1900

Want ten cents per car more

Outside or common laborers asked for a raise from S2.25 to $2.50 a day—coal mine owners declare that the property will lie idle if they cannot find men willing to work for the old wages

As a result of the denial of their demand for an increase of wages 150 miners in the employ of the Seattle-San Francisco Railway & Navigation Company, at Leary, this county, went out on a strike Friday. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, August 11, 1913

Men employed in collieries of Pacific Coast Company quit in sympathy with discharged committeeman

Organization growing about Black Diamond

Seven hundred miners employed in the three collieries of the Pacific Coast Company at Black Diamond walked out this morning because the company had refused to reinstate George Ayers, a member of the “pit committee,” reputed to be an I.W.W. organizer in the Black Diamond district.

Ayers was discharged following a quarrel with a subforman named Mitchell, with whom he had taken up a grievance of a miner who had not been supplied with a “bucker.” Ayers is said to have become abusive when Mitchell told him that he had no authority to regulate employment. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »