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Posts Tagged ‘Lawson Mine’

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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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, May 13, 1904

General Manager Ford ends negotiations in southern city

J.C. Ford

J.C. Ford

Rich coal deposits on C. & P. S. Ry. transferred for $1,000,000

SAN FRANCISCO, Friday, May 13 — J.C. Ford, general manager of the Pacific Coast Company, has been in this city for some days negotiating with President H.H. Taylor for the purchase of the Black Diamond coal mines on Puget Sound.

This afternoon at the office of the Black Diamond Company a representative of The Times was told that the deal had been closed. The price named was $1,000,000. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, May 1, 1904

Deal the largest ever consummated in the State of Washington

Million dollars to be paid by purchasers for the fuel fields

The Black Diamond coal mines are to be sold to the Pacific Coast Company, $1,000,000 being paid for the properties. Negotiations for the acquirement of the coal lands and workings, which have been in progress for nearly four months, are practically completed and the formal transfer will be made within a few days.

This is the largest deal ever made in this state involving coal lands, and will give the Pacific Coast Company a total production of 2,500 tons daily. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, November 14, 1910

Entire town of Black Diamond attends funeral of men who lost lives in Lawson slope one week ago

Bodies of fire boss and companion found; identification made with great difficulty—water prevents recovery of five corpses remaining in mine

The Seattle Star reported that 1,500 people turned out for one funeral following the November 6, 1910, Lawson Mine disaster. Last rites were conducted at the St. Barbara Catholic Church. The procession stretched from the church on Lawson Hill to the Black Diamond Cemetery as eight of the miners were buried in one grave.

The Seattle Star reported that 1,500 people turned out for one funeral following the November 6, 1910, Lawson Mine disaster. Last rites were conducted at the St. Barbara Catholic Church. The procession stretched from the church on Lawson Hill to the Black Diamond Cemetery as eight of the miners were buried in one grave.

Eight of the ten bodies of the men who lost their lives on the Lawson slope of the Pacific Coast Coal Company’s mine at Black Diamond, were buried yesterday at the mining town. Eight caskets were lowered into one grave while almost the entire population of the town looked on. The recovery of the other two bodies today will be followed by an early burial because of their condition.

An inquest to determine the responsibility for the explosion which killed fifteen men on Sunday, November 6, will be conducted by Coroner James C. Snyder next Sunday. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, November 12, 1910

Wrecked mine car located under mass of wreckage and falls at Black Diamond and bodies recovered

Search party works under great handicap; remains of Foreman Lunden only one to be identified—others may be laid away in common grave

Tombstone for Dave Lunden, Lawson Mine fire boss.

Tombstone for Dave Lunden, Lawson Mine fire boss.

Located under the mass of wreckage and falls where it had lain since the explosion of dust and black damp last Sunday morning, the mine car containing the bodies of the ten repair men caught on the Lawson slope was uncovered last evening and all the bodies were found. The removal to the surface has since been conducted with dispatch but only after greatest hardships on the part of the rescuing party.

All the bodies are in such a state of decomposition that only the body of Dave Lunden, fire boss, in charge of the crew, has been identified. A common grave may be the lot of the others. The bodies of the five men caught at the bottom of the slope, on the No. 6 level, may not be recovered for days, if at all. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, November 8, 1910

Experts to decide rescue operations

With representatives of miners’ local, they will determine whether work shall be continued—Company prepared to adopt recommendation

One of the rescuers, Vitalis Marckx—fourth from the left—was supposed to work that fateful Sunday.

One of the rescuers, Vitalis Marckx—fourth from the left—was supposed to work that fateful Sunday.

BLACK DIAMOND, Tuesday, Nov. 8—The question of proceeding with the work of endeavoring to rescue bodies of the fifteen men caught in the Lawson slope explosion on Sunday morning, is finally to be settled tonight at a meeting of state mining experts and leaders of the Black Diamond local of United Mine Workers, according to G.W. Mertens, superintendent of the Columbia & Puget Sound Railroad, and secretary to J.C. Ford, president of the Pacific Coast Coal Company. (more…)

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