Posts Tagged ‘saloons’

Originally published in The Seattle Sunday Times, December 7, 1941

Matt Starwich, King County jail superintendent and one of King County’s most colorful police officers, died at 11:22 o’clock last night in Swedish Hospital. He had been in the hospital since early last week, suffering from a complication of ailments.

Starwich, known affectionately for years as the “Little Giant,” had been in failing health since March 7, when he fell five feet on the roof of the County-City Building during Seattle’s test blackout.

The 62-year-old officer’s death ended a vigil that had been kept by his wife, son, and daughter at his bedside for more than 24 hours.

Starwich was the Americanized version of the family name. He was born Mateo Starcevis, son of a shoemaker, at Lich, near Flume (then in Austria), 62 years ago. When he was 12 years old he immigrated with a cousin to LaSalle County, Ill., and at an early age became a coal miner.

Starwich later moved to Marshfield, Or., and from there to Ravensdale in 1901, when there was little law in that mining community and less demand for it. Shootings, stabbings, and free-for-all fights were almost a daily occurrence there. The residents of the town used to brag about “riding” law-enforcement officers out on a rail. (more…)


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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, November 12, 1986

By Eulalia Tollefson

Dan Palmer, shown with his dog, Puppu, singing ‘Black Diamond Mines.’

Dan Palmer, shown with his dog, Puppu, singing ‘Black Diamond Mines.’

Dan Palmer’s distinctive style of easy listenin’ folk music and a catchy, nostalgic song called “Black Diamond Mines” have earned exposure on radio KEZX—exposure Palmer hopes will draw the interest of music scouts.

Palmer and his trademark—a devoted 15-year-old pooch named Puppu—are familiar to area folk who frequent local restaurants, taverns, and night spots.

Everywhere from Boots Tavern, the Black Diamond Saloon, and the Amber Inn to the Pick and Shovel in Wilkeson, Palmer draws crowds with a variety of folk music.

From old time blues to bluegrass he entertains with old favorites and originals like “Black Diamond Mines,” a song he wrote in honor of Black Diamond’s 100th birthday celebration.

The ballad was born of Palmer’s fascination for the town’s coal mining history. Much of it is a tribute to Dooda Vernarelli, a colorful town character much loved by old and young alike. (more…)

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

And so an arrest follows

A nice question for Justice Caldwell to investigate—Thomas’ reason for refusing was not a question of color—Mason’s statement

Barber Al Thomas, who runs the O.K. barber shop on Yesler Avenue, north side, which sits in the right of way of the Seattle, Lake Shore & Eastern Railroad, refused to shave David Mason, a colored miner from Franklin, and the latter has had Thomas arrested. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, September 11, 1913

Man who preserved order in mountain districts turns in his star to Cudihee

Matt Starwich, for many years deputy sheriff in the mountainous districts of Ravensdale and Black Diamond, whose courageous feats in capturing desperate men have been widely heralded, has turned in his star to Sheriff Ed Cudihee and is once more a private citizen.

He will conduct a saloon at Ravensdale in case the error in the plat of that corporation is corrected and the town stays “wet.”

Every sheriff from Ed Cudihee’s first term down through the administrations of Lou C. Smith and Robert T. Hodge has proclaimed Starwich the best peace officer that King County has ever had in the turbulent mountain towns and hamlets. (more…)

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Originally published in the Enumclaw Courier-Herald, August 31, 1988

You can listen to a bit of Black Diamond history at noon on Labor Day when Dan Palmer sings “Black Diamond Mines” at the ballpark.

The song, which the Black Diamond folk singer wrote in 1982 for the town’s centennial celebration, has five verses that tell of the early mining days in the area.

It talks of Morgan Morgans, who was the mining superintendent, 80-year-old old-time miner Dooda Vernarelli, the mining whistles, and the veins of deep, black coal.

“It’s one of my best tunes as far as audience response and recognition,” Palmer said.

Vernarelli was Palmer’s neighbor. Palmer said he and Vernarelli were talking about the song one day and Vernarelli said Palmer had to mention the mining whistles in the song. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Sunday Times, August 2, 1908

By “W.T.P.”

Suppose you were a policeman with a beat of 700 square miles.

Suppose this included sixteen coal mining towns, where the rough element predominated, and fights, murders, and all sorts of crimes succeeded each other so rapidly that you hardly had a breathing space between.

Suppose you were the only officer of the law in all this district, and that your hours were from 8 o’clock every morning, including Sunday, to 8 o’clock the next.

Suppose your duties had thrown you into desperate fights, open revolver battles, chases that lasted for days at a time through the seemingly trackless woods, and that a dozen times you had been within an inch of your life.

If you could meet all these conditions you would be the counterpart of Matt Starwich, deputy sheriff for the district of Ravensdale, and you would be an “every-day hero.” There are few people in the county who have more deeds of heroism to their credit than this same Matt Starwich. (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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