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Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco’

Originally published in the Valley Daily News, April 21, 1995

By George Erb
Valley Daily News

Front-end loader, above, shovels dirt and rock into a truck to expose coal. (Valley Daily News photo by Marcus R. Donner.)

BLACK DIAMOND — In the earliest days, miners would tromp out of the tent city that was Black Diamond and go underground to pry coal from the earth with hand tools and explosives.

More than a century later, most work takes place in broad daylight at the John Henry Mine on the outskirts of town. The John Henry is an open pit, and even when the sun sets behind the debris piles, the work goes on under the glare of floodlights mounted on diesel generators.

Today’s miners are more likely to wrestle a steering wheel than swing a pick. For the most part, they are heavy equipment operators who drive oversized bulldozers, trucks, and front-end loaders. (more…)

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Originally published in the Pacific Coast Bulletin, April 8, 1926

Orchardists throughout the fruit districts of Eastern Washington depend upon Diamond Briquets to protect their blossoming trees from damage by frost. Consequently, this spring the Pacific Coast Coal Company conducted an extensive advertising campaign in the Yakima, Walla Walla, and Wenatchee districts, featuring Diamond Briquets as the ideal fuel for orchard heating.

This picture shows a window display arranged in Yakima, through the courtesy of the Yakima Daily Republic and the Yakima Morning Herald. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Star, October 30, 1906

While famine is threatened in this city coal mine owners are first supplying the wants of San Francisco and Alaska—output also being curtailed

Seattle is threatened by a coal famine. Already prices of coal have been raised so that today Seattle householders are paying from $1 to $2 more per ton than they were two months ago. The excuse given for this raise is that there is today a shortage of coal.

To old customers coal dealers are suggesting that if they would not suffer later in the winter orders for a full season’s supply should be given at once. The Star has endeavored to discover the cause of this shortage and probable famine. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, October 3, 1906

September shows big increase for Pacific Coast Co. despite fact that working days were somewhat reduced

The Pacific Coast Company’s mines during September produced approximately 74,000 tons of coal, the largest output the company has had in a single month during its history. September beat the August record, despite the fact that there were three less working days during the month just closed. In August the company’s mines produced 71,700 tons and in July there was produced 67,500 tons. (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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Originally published in The Seattle Times, June 26, 1966

The mountain of coal outside the Rogers No. 3 shaft of the Palmer Coking Coal Co. operation near Black Diamond shows the extent of coal-mining activity that is still being carried on in King County.

The mountain of coal outside the Rogers No. 3 shaft of the Palmer Coking Coal Co. operation near Black Diamond shows the extent of coal-mining activity that is still being carried on in King County.

At one time, coal mining was a big operation in the Puget Sound area. Before the turn of the century, the black gold was being dug from foothill sites such as Carbonado and Black Diamond, Newcastle and Franklin, Renton and Ravensdale, Coal Creek and Issaquah. (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 Seatte Daily Times, June 15, 1900

The recent flooding of mine cut down output temporarily; this a banner coal year

“We are steadily at work pumping out our lower mine at Black Diamond,” said Manager N.H. Martin today, “which was flooded from a subterranean river some time ago. The work accomplished by the pumps we have on hand, though, is too slow for the company, and they have ordered several larger pumps from San Francisco, which will be here within a few days. These new pumps are of the latest pattern and are very costly. The work, however, they do is sufficient to guarantee the extra expense.”

Mr. Martin states that while the company’s output is considerably lessened at present by the flooding of the mines several weeks ago, it will soon be ahead of last year. At present they are only shipping about 600 tons daily. The usual average heretobefore has been about 1,100 tons. As soon as the mines are free from water, which, he thinks, will be in about six weeks, the daily output will run up to 1,200 tons. (more…)

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Originally published in the Seattle Daily Intelligencer, May 18, 1880

One of the most convincing proofs of the steady growth and prosperity of our territory is to be found in the development and increased capacity of our coal mines. And, for an example we will take one, near at hand—the Newcastle mine—situated near Lake Washington, in the central portion of our county to demonstrate this proposition. (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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