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Posts Tagged ‘Maple Valley Historical Society’

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

By Barbara Nilson

Kummer coal/clay bunkers (November 13, 1951 #262106-9022) This coal/clay bunker or storage/ processing facility is believed to have been built in 1944 by the Kummer Coal Company and was later operated by the Johnson Coal Company and Palmer Coking Coal Co., Inc. Its capacity was listed as 150 tons. It was originally built as a coal bunker, but later used for clay. The Kummer mine was unique in that both coal and fire clay were mined. Following mining, slabs of mill end wood were laid on the ground and covered first with coal and then with freshly mined clay. The wood/coal base was set on fire and the clay was burned to rid it of carbon contaminants. The resulting clay was sold to Gladding McBean in Renton for the production of bricks. The Kummer clay beds were founded by Jacob Sants on August 15, 1888, and named for George Kummer, ceramist for the Denny Clay Company. This site is located south of the Green River and west of SR-169 on property now owned by Washington State Parks and Recreation in Section 26-21-6. (Note: King County Assessor photo.) From “When Coal Was King,” April 7, 2009, by Bill Kombol.

Though the clay and coal mining town of Kummer no longer exists, motorists traveling out of Black Diamond today may turn right on to S.E. 352th from the Maple Valley highway and cross the Green River on what the locals still refer to as the “Kummer bridge.”

William Kombol, Palmer Coking Coal Co. explains some of the history, “In addition to their appetite for coal, the growing cities of the Puget Sound also needed deposits of clay, one of the prime ingredients in paving and building bricks. Clay was first discovered in this area near Kummer (an area now occupied by Flaming Geyser State Park) by Jacob Sant in 1888.

The deposit and the town were named for George Kummer, a ceramist and engineer for the Denny Clay Company. In 1905, two local companies joined to form the Denny-Renton Clay & Coal Company which by 1917 was producing 58 million bricks per year. (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, March 27, 2007

By Barbara Nilson

The families of Hobart pioneers, Rudolph and Julie (Gradishnick) Grady and Olga (Grady) and Rudy Petchnick, will be featured at the Sunday, April 15th reunion at the Hobart Community Church, at 1:30 p.m. The program is sponsored by the Maple Valley Historical Society. (more…)

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

The former railroad depot, built in 1886, in Black Diamond now houses the Historical Society Museum. Down Railroad Avenue the current book store is visible. It has also been King’s Tavern. — Photo by Barbara Nilson.

Featured speaker at the Maple Valley Reunion, Sunday, Feb. 25th, will be Mayor Howard Botts of Black Diamond. The 1 p.m. program at the Grange Hall on Highway 169 at 216th is sponsored by the Maple Valley Historical Society.

Mayor Botts, who was born and raised in Black Diamond, will relate the histories of the two towns and how they have been connected over the years by the highway, the railroad, once upon a time, as well as other similarities. He’ll also discuss, “what is coming down the road; hopefully, new homes and new businesses.”

He said, “It is always interesting to talk about my home town.” Botts has served as mayor for 24 years and before that served several terms on the City Council in the 1960s and then during the 1970s, he was a member of the Planning Community. (more…)

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Originally published in the Maple Valley Neighbors, February 2020

By JoAnne Matsumura, Maple Valley Historical Society

This special valentine was not your usual cutout style or a postcard of the day. It wasn’t cupids with angel wings bringing bouquets of flowers, nor those little candy hearts with fun and silly messages.

To Mr. and Mrs. Lapinski, the valentine from Uncle Sam that week regarding their son Ben, who was somewhere in France, was a heartfelt welcome greeting.

So grateful and thankful were they that the “Letter from France” was published in the Enumclaw Courier newspaper on February 14, 1919, as follows. (more…)

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Originally published in the Maple Valley Bugle, February 2000

Story and photos by Barb Nilson

William D. Gibbon descendants attend historical society program January 17: grandsons Gary and Ronald Gibbon; great-grandson Lance Gibbon, great-great grandson Noah, granddaughter Dorothy Church and great granddaughter Carol Church.

The pot belly stove was missing but the memories were warm as pioneers gathered in a circle January 17 to recall swapping gossip around the stove at the Gibbon/Mezzavilla store, buying penny candy, selling cascara bark, etc.

Six descendants of W.D. “Billy” Gibbon, including his three grandchildren, brought old-time photos, the actual glass jars that held the coveted penny candy, and a metal carrying box that held cookies.

Present were the offspring of Chester Gibbon, W.D.’s only child: two sons, Ronald of Seattle, and Gareth (Gary) of Edmonds; daughter, Dorothy Church, Renton, and her daughter Carol Church, Arlington; great grandson Lance Gibbon of Maple Valley and his son, Noah. (more…)

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Originally published in the Maple Valley Bugle, December 2015

By D’Ann Tedford

Built in 1891 on Renton-Maple Valley road, the restored W.D. Gibbon General Merchandise store and post office is now located on Witte Road. It is open to the public on the 1st Saturday of each month, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. See also http://www.maplevalleyhistorical.com.

Visiting history at Maple Valley Historical Society’s site on Witte Road, one sees the name “Gibbon” prominently displayed on the 124-year-old restored building, “W.D. Gibbon General Merchandise.” In its years, the store also served as Maple Valley’s post office and it held a barbershop, remnants of which are visible during tours.

Gibbon had studied to be an educator but acquired the store that had been built in 1891 on Renton-Maple Valley road. His wife Lizzie had attended Washington Territorial University (now U of W) and became the first school-teacher in Black Diamond, seven miles south of the general store. (more…)

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Originally published in the MVHS Bugle, September and December 2006

By Barbara Nilson

JoAnn (Weibling) Klacson and Lois (Kelley) Bartholomew on a July visit to the MVHS museum. —Photo by Sherrie Acker

In July, JoAnn Weibling Klacsan visited the historical society’s Third Floor Museum, accompanied by her niece, Diane Lee Weibling, and chatted with Dick Peacock and Sherrie Acker about Kerriston. Neighbors of them were the Kelley girls, so Lois (Kelley) Bartholomew joined them at the museum to share memories.

The conversation was taped and part of it follows. In addition, Lois graciously, with a little arm twisting, allowed me to use part of the story she has written about growing up in Kerriston.

Klacsan recalled that all the houses in Kerriston in 1923 had underpinnings, and were all built on a side hill. “We had a porch with a lot of stairs and a nice view. The houses were shacks, all the same about 16′ x 18′. Close to the school there was a set of wooden steps that went down to the level below and us kids used to run down those steps.” (more…)

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