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Posts Tagged ‘Oregon Improvement Co.’

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, October 2, 1897

Receiver C.J. Smith returned yesterday afternoon from an extended trip to the East in connection with the business of the Oregon Improvement Company.

The company’s property will be sold on November 5, and thereafter the purpose is to have extensive improvements made on the waterfront in Seattle, including the filling in of land south of King Street to Grant, and east of Third Avenue. But the most important is the erection of a brick warehouse on Ocean Hose, commensurate with the growing business that is sure to come to the company. (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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Prepared for the membership of the PNR-NMRA, September 13, 1958

By H.A. Durfy

Coal—black diamonds—a source of heat, light, power, medicines, and many more products too numerous to mention here. This was the beginning of the Pacific Coast R.R. Co., upon which you are riding today. Of course, like other railroads, the Pacific Coast R.R. Co. was not always known by the present title, and we want to lead you through the background and the beginnings of the railroad. (more…)

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Originally published in the Seattle Daily Intelligencer, June 16, 1881

Early photo of Newcastle (near present day Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park) south of Bellevue.

Newcastle 1883

Newcastle, as most of our readers well know, is a coal mining town situated in the mountains, about twenty-two miles from Seattle.

The houses occupied by the miners are small, and as a general thing unpainted; and but little regularity exists in the location of buildings. When the mine was being opened, rude cabins were built wherever room between the stumps could be found, and they are still used, the miner paying a small rent each month for them. The houses built at a later date are much better and more convenient. The cottages occupied by the storekeeper, bookkeeper, superintendent, physician, and some other employees, are neat and comfortable. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, June 5, 1919

Issaquah coal mine, one of the Pacific Coast Company’s many properties

Issaquah coal mine, one of the Pacific Coast Company’s many properties

Employing a whole army of 2,500 persons—operating four different companies—and maintaining a payroll of approximately $4,000,000 a year—the Pacific Coast Company is one of the great corporations contributing to the prosperity and growth of Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Times, May 21, 1986

By Herb Belanger

Don Mason, left, Carl Steiert, Ted Barner, and Bob Eaton stroll through what was Franklin. (Richard S. Heyza/Seattle Times.)

Don Mason, left, Carl Steiert, Ted Barner, and Bob Eaton stroll through what was Franklin. (Richard S. Heyza/Seattle Times.)

Tough old coal-mining towns like Black Diamond always have had their share of characters, but the “Flying Frog” is one of Carl Steiert’s favorites.

The “Frog” actually was a Belgian named Emile Raisin who ran a taxi service between Black Diamond, a company town with one bar, and Ravensdale, which had 10 saloons where miners quenched the thirst they developed toiling underground. (more…)

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