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Posts Tagged ‘Lawson 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 Seattle Daily Times, December 24, 1913

Blast in Black Diamond Mine, of unknown origin, kills workman—his fellows in serious condition

Violation of rules suspected as cause: Required precautions observed by Pacific Coast Co., exposed lamp or match thought to blame

The superintendent’s office and the workings of Mine No. 14, circa 1905. This coal mine was located just east of Highway 169 as it starts downhill toward Jones Lake. Lawson Hill and Mine No. 2 are in the background. Photo courtesy of Frank Guidetti.

The superintendent’s office and the workings of Mine No. 14, circa 1905. This coal mine was located just east of Highway 169 as it starts downhill toward Jones Lake. Lawson Hill and Mine No. 2 are in the background. Photo courtesy of Frank Guidetti.

Jack Jackson was killed and Ned Rossi and Eugene Pelline, miners, were seriously burned in an explosion this morning on the tenth level of No. 14 mine at Black Diamond. (more…)

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Originally published in the BDHS newsletter, Summer 2018

By William Kombol

“Rusty Rails” photo by Robert Dobson, April 2018

“Rusty Rails” photo by Robert Dobson, April 2018

This spring photographer Bob Dobson stumbled upon a short section of railroad hidden amongst a dense forest near Lake Sawyer. He took a photo that inspired a question: “Who laid these rusty rails?”

Little did he know the answer is the story behind the men who founded Black Diamond. (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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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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