Posts Tagged ‘Mine #7’

Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, December 27, 1906

Takes two deputy sheriffs and six citizens to quell a disturbance at Bruce, near Black Diamond

Too much holiday liquor the cause. Officials are roughly handled until they get reinforcements, when belligerents submit quietly enough

The town of Bruce was located at the end of the Bruce Branch of the Columbia & Puget Sound RR. The branch paralleled the Green River Gorge Road and ended just south of Lake Twelve.

It took Deputy Sheriff Bob Hodge and a posse of seven men to suppress a riot at Bruce, three miles from Black Diamond, Tuesday night, in which a band of Italians were the participants. Too much Christmas liquid cheer was the inciting cause of the row. Three of the ring leaders, Marona Gibatta, Tony Biozo, and Valantini Areo, will celebrate New Year’s Day in the county jail. (more…)

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Originally published in the Washington State Historical Society’s quarterly journal, Columbia, Spring 1994

By John Hanscom

Drawing of Franklin, circa 1887.

Bird’s-eye-view map of Franklin Mine and its environs, c. 1890. (Courtesy of Don Mason and the Black Diamond Historical Society.)

Henry Villard launched the Oregon Improvement Company in October 1880 as part of his grand scheme to dominate the development of the Pacific Northwest. By 1883 he had tied the area to the national economy with the completion of the Northern Pacific Railroad. Expansive development of the Pacific Northwest seemed assured.

To fuel Villard’s steamships and locomotives, a dependable coal supply was a high priority. By February 1881 the Oregon Improvement Company had acquired the Seattle Coal and Transportation Company, including the Newcastle Mine east of Lake Washington, at a cost of one million dollars. The Seattle and Walla Walla Railroad (renamed the Columbia and Puget Sound) was also purchased for over half a million dollars to transport coal from mine to Seattle bunkers. Villard hired John L. Howard under a five-year contract at $10,000 per year as general manager of the coal business. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, December 12, 1895

Since the bodies of the four miners, who lost their lives in the mine fire at Franklin October 17 last, have been recovered, the strain on the nerves of the workmen of the mine has been relieved and the miners have now but one object in view—the reopening of the mine.

It is believed that coal will be coming up the main slope by January 10. (more…)

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Originally published in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, December 7, 1895

No trace of the dead bodies. Coal will be shipped from No. 7 this month—Railroad Avenue death-trap closed

The main slope of the Oregon Improvement Company’s mine at Franklin, which has been closed since the recent disaster, has been opened to the sixth level, and before the end of the present month will be again in condition for the taking out of coal. (more…)

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Originally published in the Pacific Coast Bulletin, March 8, 1922

JJ JonesTo reinforce the efforts of the operating forces in maintaining the highest standard of quality in coals produced at the company’s mines, the position of coal inspector has been created.

It is to be filled by J.J. Jones, one of the most prominent coal mining men in the Northwest.

Mr. Jones began his coal mining career more than twenty-five years ago in old No. 7 Mine on the McKay seam near Black Diamond, going afterward to Franklin, Issaquah, and Newcastle. He was superintendent at Newcastle for fifteen years. (more…)

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By Ken Jensen

Garbage canFriday in Black Diamond means “Trash Day.” Roll out the garbage can—actually, a curbside collection cart—to the street and a big, noisy truck hauls its contents off to a landfill far, far away.

Black Diamond pioneers of 90 years ago didn’t have much trash nor were they particularly concerned with its disposal. Feed it to livestock, bury it in the garden, burn it in the backyard, throw it over a hillside, drop it down the privy, dump it an abandoned mine shaft….

Get rid of it one or another—or not. It just wasn’t that important.

That is until 1924, when Black Diamond experienced an epidemic of measles, scarlet fever, and infantile paralysis. This prompted the town’s owner, the Pacific Coast Coal Company, to require that every household purchase a garbage can. (more…)

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Originally published in the BDHS newsletter, August 1987

Black Diamond-area mines

Click to enlarge the map.

When the coal explorers came to the Green River coal fields in 1880, they had no way of knowing actually how great the extent of the coal was. People ask many questions about the mines: Where were they? How long did they last? Is there more coal left? Were there disasters? How much coal was mined?

The Green River coal fields covered some 80 square miles. It is estimated that between 40 and 50 million tons of coal was mined. Constant reading and research has brought many things to light but much is still to be learned. (more…)

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Seattle, Wash.
April 29, 1894

Mr. H.W. Cannon,
Chairman, The Pacific Coast Co.

Dear Sir,

Railroad lines in Black Diamond and Franklin, including the Bruce Branch, 1906.

Railroad lines in Black Diamond and Franklin, including the Bruce Branch, 1906.

We regret to advise that on April 19th at 5:25 a.m. as Extra 8 was running to Black Diamond from the Bruce or No 7 mine with nine carloads of coal, the engineer and train crew lost control of the train which gained such headway as to cause it to jump the track on the sharp curve approaching Black Diamond. The engine turned over on its side and six coal cars were derailed. Engineer Joseph Scanlon was killed and his fireman George Hogeland was slightly injured. Hogeland was considerably bruised but no bones broken and will be out of the hospital in a day or two.

It appears the air brake on the engine was not working and the train crew knew this before they went up the branch to the mine. They depended on the hand brakes to let the train down the hill. This would have been all right, but unfortunately it appears that the engineer did not take the precaution to see that his sand pipes were in good working order. After they started down the hill he found that he could not sand the rails.

Engineer Scanlon had been in the service some ten or twelve years and was considered a safe man but appears to have used poor judgement in this instance.

It is not expected that any damage suits will result. The cost of picking up the engine and cars, repairing the same is estimated $2,725.00.

Yours truly,
J.C. Ford

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Originally published in The Seattle Times, April 16, 1967

By Morda Slauson

Fred Roberts

Fred Roberts

Fred Roberts, retired mechanic and coal miner, has watched events in Black Diamond for more than 75 years.

He remembers a different sort of place in Southeast King County than the pleasant, quiet town of today. The humorous twinkle in bright, blue eyes behind his glasses and an active alert air make it difficult to believe he has passed his 88th birthday anniversary.

“Early days here were busy and exciting.” he said. “Of course, we had fires, explosions, lockouts and strikes. There were times when most of Black Diamond was out of work and scraping the bottom of the soup pot. Then when Mine No. 11 and No. 14 in town and No. 2 and No. 7 at New Lawson all were running, there were more than 1,000 miners around here with good pay checks. Now only 40 miners work in the last two mines.” (more…)

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Originally published in the BDHS newsletter, January 2008

By Frank Hammock

Jones Lake Cinder Removal Project, June 1990 (Courtesy of Bill Kombol, Palmer Coking Co.)

Jones Lake Cinder Removal Project, June 1990 (Courtesy of Bill Kombol, Palmer Coking Co.)

Stories have a way of shaping, through knowledge and experience, the journeys of our past from the people who share them. We all have stories to tell, in one form or another, and from these stories we gain a better understanding of who we are, and where we are going. Thus, the process we call life, a time of transition and change, is slowly revealed in all its intricacies and detail. This story is no exception.

Let’s step back in time and see a little of Black Diamond’s history through the eyes of a man who was willing to share his knowledge and the memories of his life, from the era in which he lived.

Mr. Arthur “Archie” Walter Eltz was born on September 30, 1915, at 8 a.m. in Butlerville, Salt Lake County, Utah. His parents, Frank Eltz and Annie Zadnick, both hailed from Germany. (more…)

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