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Posts Tagged ‘labor strikes’

Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, July 3, 2007

By Kathleen Kear

Ivan Gingrich, left, shares a laugh with Bill VanRuff, Bob Schuler, Bill Woodcock, and Jeff Snelling in celebration of the completion of refurbishment of the Black Diamond gymnasium. Gingrich and Schuler, who work for Tahoma School District’s maintenance department, volunteered to refinish the gym floor on their own time. VanRuff, Woodcock, and Snelling are members of Maple Valley Rotary, which donated labor and money to refurbish the gym.

Kids in the City of Black Diamond were so excited about their gym’s reopening, which had been a work in progress since being moved from the Black Diamond Elementary School in 1992, that they hopped on their bikes and made their way to the gym long before the celebration was set to begin on Saturday, June 23. (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 Maple Valley Reporter, May 13, 2011

By Timothy Martinell

An old coal cart sits where the town of Franklin once stood by the Green River. The cart was donated by the Palmer Coking Coal Company. TJ Martinell, The Reporter

I have to admit, when I first went to Black Diamond, I didn’t think I’d be introduced to the mayor of a ghost town.

When I first spoke to Keith Watson, director of the Black Diamond Historical Society, I expressed my interest in Franklin, the nearby ghost town. After discussing how to get there, he looked at me with a subtle grin and asked, “Do you want to meet the mayor?”

At first, I wasn’t sure if he was being funny or not, but then he walked into another room. A few moments later, he reappeared with another man: Don Mason, the “mayor” of Franklin. (more…)

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Originally published in the South County Journal, April 25, 2002

Concrete block now encases meeting spot of coal miners’ union

By Mike Archbold
Journal Reporter

Paul Botts, left, 87, one of the last underground miners from Black Diamond, and Don Mason, president of the Black Diamond Historical Society, stand at the Union Stump. Now enclosed in concrete, the old fir stump was used in 1907 in Black Diamond to rally miners and start a union. (Gary Kissel/JournaI)

BLACK DIAMOND — Paul Botts remembers seeing the Union Stump as a youngster.

Now 87, he is among the last of the underground coal miners still living in the area. And Botts still is a member of United Mine Workers Local 6481.

“Dues are $6 a month. And I still get benefits,” Botts said last week, leaning against the large, square block of concrete encasing the old fir stump—where union history was made nearly a century ago, debates were argued, rallies were held, and strikes were called.

Like mining itself, Local 6481 left Black Diamond years ago. Now the local is located in Ogden, Utah, Botts said. (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, March 20, 2007

By Barbara Nilson

Pacific Coast Coal Co. morning shift poses sitting on electric engines and empty coal cars outside the boarding house in Rainbow Town. The coal bunkers are in the background with the small hose-coal bunker to the right of the rear of the line of coal cars. A track straightener is in the foreground. — 1909 Asahel Curtis photo, courtesy of the Washington State Historical Society, Tacoma, and Bill Kombol, Palmer Coking Coal Co.

Milt Swanson is a historical treasure. He is a walking, talking encyclopedia with fascinating tales of his home town Newcastle/Coal Creek. He’s lived on the same piece of property for 84 years in a company house, on top of a mine shaft and next to the former company hotel and saloon. Across the street was Finn Town and the up the hill was Red Town.

He said when he was a kid, his pals and him named the various areas of the mining camp. The houses on the hill were red, so that was “Red Town”; closer to him the houses were white so naturally that was “White Town” and the area with all different colors was “Rainbow Village.” (more…)

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5-year project to put life back into Franklin

Originally published in The Seattle Times, February 11, 1994

By Keith Ervin
Seattle Times South bureau

Lindsay Larson leads a group of students through the old cemetery they are cleaning up. Many of the deaths were caused by mining accidents. (Jimi Lott, Seattle Times)

HISTORIC FRANKLIN—Hidden beneath the maples and cottonwoods of the Green River Gorge are secrets unseen by the casual visitor.

Some of those secrets are a little more visible today than they were yesterday, thanks to eighth-graders from Cedar Heights Junior High School in Covington. (more…)

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Originally published in the News Journal, January 23, 1980

Story and photos by Bruce Rommel

Black Diamond sits nestled in the western foothills of the Cascades.

Once hundreds of men worked the strip mines, producing coal, the “black diamond” which powered the railroads, fueled industry, and heated our homes.

Walking the quiet streets of Black Diamond today, one finds only the reminders of those days when this community was a booming company town.

Nestled in the western foothills of the Cascades, Black Diamond and nearby Franklin once boasted a population of more than 5,000. All that remains of Franklin today are a few house foundations scattered along hillsides. And in 1979 Black Diamond is a town with about 1,100 residents, about 50 less citizens than a decade ago. (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, January 9, 2007

By Barbara Nilson

The remodeled company store for the Pacific Coast Coal Co. built around 1890 in Burnett now houses the "Pinch Plum" gift shop.

The remodeled company store for the Pacific Coast Coal Co. built around 1890 in Burnett now houses the “Pinch Plum” gift shop. — Photo by Barbara Nilson.

In 1891 the former mining town of Burnett, located about two and a half miles from Wilkeson and 6 miles from Enumclaw, estimated its population at 400 people. Today possibly less than 100 people live in the 32 homes with water hookups. Some of the homes are still the miner’s cottages from the turn of the century when it was an important coal-mining center.

It was situated on the Burnett branch of the Northern Pacific railroad and was sustained by the mines of Pacific Coast Coal Co. that employed around 300 men. There were several business places in upper Burnett, including the company store, which has been remodeled into The Pinch Plum gift shop by Jay and Dailene Argo. Argo, who bought the building in 1977, said he tried to keep the building as authentic as possible. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, December 30, 1913

Principal is coming meeting of International at Indianapolis, other that of State Federation of Labor

Delegates selected by referendum vote

Nine of ten or more to go East January 15 already known—smaller unions combine to reduce expenses

By C.J. Stratton

Two big labor conventions in progress at the same time will divide the attention and interest of the union coal miners of the state of Washington next month, and three score or more of the diggers of black diamonds will have the honor of sitting in them as delegates representing the United Mine Workers of America, of which this state forms District No. 10. (more…)

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Originally published in the North Kittitas County Tribune, September 26, 2019

By Sue Litchfield

General Mine Manager John Kangley was a self-made man, an Irish orphan who made his way to the United States In the mid-1800s. At 45 years old, he was appointed general mine manager of the Northern Pacific Coal Company in Roslyn and served from 1888 to 1896. During that same time he also managed the Star Coal Company in Streator, Illinois, and owned the Kangley Mine near Ravensdale, Washington. Photo courtesy of Streator Times Press.

ROSLYN—This marks the fourth in the series of articles about early Roslyn history based on research at Northern Pacific archives in St. Paul, Minnesota. In the early years, Roslyn’s coal mining company was the Northern Pacific Coal Company (NPCC), owned and operated by the railroad. Following a major restructuring of the company in 1896, NPCC became the Northwestern Improvement Company (NWI), a subsidiary of the railroad.

John Kangley, who simultaneously served as general manager of two different coal companies, had two company towns named for him, owned coal mines in Western Washington, and invented one of the first ever coal mining machines.

Mob rule in Roslyn

The Dec. 30, 1888, telegram sent from Tacoma had a note of urgency to it.

“In taking the new drivers to Roslyn this afternoon [No. 3 Mine Superintendent] Ronald and Williamson were surrounded and knocked senseless by strikers…”

Roslyn had been a hotbed of contention since the Knights of Labor had gone on strike August 11, 1888. Ten days later, the Northern Pacific Railroad had brought in African American coal miners to finish development of their No. 3 Mine in Ronald.

Then on Christmas Day, 100 mule drivers went on strike, which effectively shut down their Roslyn operations, In response, Superintendent Ronald brought 10 African American mule drivers from Ronald to Roslyn, and all hell broke loose.

“…several new men badly used up,” continued the telegram addressed to Kangley, “and mob rule reigns in Roslyn tonight.” (more…)

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