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Posts Tagged ‘Lawson Mine’

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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This is a story told by Henry Walters of some of the events of his life.

He was born in England and his Father, Richard Walters, was a railroad contractor. They lived in various parts of England, moving as often as the railroad construction jobs required.

At the age of 11 he went to work as a blacksmith’s helper. He worked for three years and saved enough money to emigrate to Hamilton, Ontario, Canada in 1882. (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 Seattle Daily Times, October 13, 1904

While adjusting brushes in a high-power dynamo, W.S. MacDonald, electrician at the coal mines at Lawson, near Black Diamond, was electrocuted last evening at 6:30 o’clock. Death was probably instantaneous. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, October 2, 1902

One man, supposed to have been lost, turns up safe and well

Inquest being held by Coroner Hoye this afternoon

BLACK DIAMOND, Friday, Oct. 2 — The number of victims of the explosion in the Lawson mine Wednesday night at present numbers eleven, with the possibility that two of the injured will die as a result of their hurts.

Until a late hour last night all but one of the bodies has been recovered. (more…)

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Originally published in the Valley Daily News, September 4, 1987

By Debra Nelson

Les Van Hoof is one of the new breed of coal miners who operate the levers of heavy equipment rather than picks and shovels. (Staff photo by Gary Kissel.)

Les Van Hoof is one of the new breed of coal miners who operate the levers of heavy equipment rather than picks and shovels. (Staff photo by Gary Kissel.)

Coal mining… the words evoke images of dark mine shafts, dynamite, and hardy men, exhausted from the hazards of blasting the mineral from deep within the earth, ravaged by black lung disease.

The old folk song “Sixteen Tons” tells that story—of men who rarely saw the sun and whose blood and sweat made coal the major industry in the Black Diamond region until the 1920s.

But those were the “good old days” of coal mining and, fortunately, the industry has undergone radical changes. For one thing, today’s miners work above ground, in the hot summer sun and the cold winter rain.

This Labor Day weekend, Black Diamond looks back at the old days, remembering those pioneers and miners who settled the town. The festivities include the kind of fun and games many pioneer kids enjoyed. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, June 27, 1902

Luoma, born in Finland in 1870, was a laborer at the Lawson Mine. Date of the photograph at the Black Diamond cemetery is unknown.

Luoma, born in Finland in 1870, was a laborer at the Lawson Mine. Date of the photograph at Black Diamond cemetery unknown.

Erik Luoma, a laborer, about 30 years of age, was run over and fatally injured in the Columbia & Puget Sound railroad yards at Black Diamond at 10 o’clock last night.

The engine and train crew of passenger train No. 1 which had finished the passenger run was making up a special freight in the yards, when the accident occurred. The engine was backing with a string of cars when Luoma was seen sitting on the track a few yards ahead of the engine. He was apparently asleep and the engine struck him before it could be stopped. He died a short while afterwards as a result of the injuries.

The body is held at Black Diamond awaiting instructions from the coroner, who was notified this morning. Deputy Coroner Wiltsie went to the scene of the accident this afternoon.

Luoma was a Finlander, who lived with his wife and child at Osceola. He is supposed to have been drinking yesterday and not knowing what he was doing sat down on the track and went to sleep. (more…)

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