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Posts Tagged ‘Renton’

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 Pacific Coast Bulletin, March 25, 1926

When the inventor of the Jones system of lubrication for mine car wheels recently visited Burnett, Master Mechanic A.L. McBlaine was able to show him just how the system worked on the cars used in the haulage. This picture shows McBlaine pointing out the features of the Jones bearing to the inventor. (more…)

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

By Barbara Nilson

Pacific Coast Coal Co. morning shift poses sitting on electric engines and empty coal cars outside the boarding house in Rainbow Town. The coal bunkers are in the background with the small hose-coal bunker to the right of the rear of the line of coal cars. A track straightener is in the foreground. — 1909 Asahel Curtis photo, courtesy of the Washington State Historical Society, Tacoma, and Bill Kombol, Palmer Coking Coal Co.

Milt Swanson is a historical treasure. He is a walking, talking encyclopedia with fascinating tales of his home town Newcastle/Coal Creek. He’s lived on the same piece of property for 84 years in a company house, on top of a mine shaft and next to the former company hotel and saloon. Across the street was Finn Town and the up the hill was Red Town.

He said when he was a kid, his pals and him named the various areas of the mining camp. The houses on the hill were red, so that was “Red Town”; closer to him the houses were white so naturally that was “White Town” and the area with all different colors was “Rainbow Village.” (more…)

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Originally published in the Pacific Coast Bulletin, March 11, 1926

Not only does the Black Diamond Band appeal to the ear with its melodies and martial airs, but the boys present a striking appearance in their natty new uniforms as well. This picture is published that those who heard the Black Diamond Band over the radio recently may know that they are an attractively garbed organization. Frank Carroll, director of the band, is a musician of years of experience and organizer of the famed Bellingham Elks’ Band. (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, March 6, 2007

By Barbara Nilson

The original depot at Kanaskat built in 1912 and destroyed by fire in 1943. — From the Museum of History and Industry and loaned by Ruth Eckes.

The old railroad towns of Palmer and Kanaskat once thrived across the Green River from each other, Palmer on the north and Kanaskat on the south; eight miles southeast of Enumclaw. Somewhere along the line the two lost their identities. Apparently, the post office located in Palmer burned and the authorities moved it to Kanaskat but left the name of Palmer. (more…)

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Originally published in the Pacific Coast Bulletin, March 4, 1926

Editors and publishers of approximately 100 newspapers in the State of Washington were the guests of the Pacific Coast Coal Company at Newcastle and the Briquet Plant, last Saturday. This excursion was the closing feature of the Fourteenth Annual Newspaper Institute of the Washington Press Association.

The picture shows the group ready to board the special train after having made a trip into the Primrose Seam, a mile and a quarter into the heart of the mountain, from whence comes the famous Newcastle coal. (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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