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Originally published in the Maple Valley Reporter, July 1, 2011

By TJ Martinell

Black Diamond baseball field, circa 1915.

The Black Diamond baseball field during a game.

Coal mining towns have always been a point of fascination to me.

There were two things which prompted my interest as a kid. The first was when my family took a trip to Knott’s Berry Farm. The Calico Mine Ride, a train tour into an animatronic coal mine, had a way sparking the imagination of a precocious 3-year-old whose head was already in the clouds.

The second reason was both historical and personal. My ancestor, John Bush, was one of the first white people born in the Issaquah Valley where there was a very active coal mining industry. When I was around 9 years old, my grandfather gave me a special coin commemorating the formation of the Royal Arch Mason Chapter 39 in Issaquah—dated September 22, 1914, with John Bush’s name engraved on the back.

So, when I first went to Black Diamond in search of a story, I was already interested in what the town had to offer in terms of history. While I was writing articles about Franklin and Welsh heritage, however, I became more interested in their prolific sports history.

At the front desk of the museum is a glass exhibit of their sports legacy; old baseball uniforms, basketball trophies, soccer team portraits, and autographed baseballs. It wasn’t hard for me to perceive the kind of significance sports had there. (more…)

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Originally published in the Pacific Coast Bulletin, April 22, 1926

In a previous issue of the Bulletin there appeared a picture of Black Diamond’s first division soccer team. In recognition of the fine showing made during the last season by the camp’s second division team, known as the Black Diamond Briquets, we herewith present the picture of the booters whose record speaks for itself.

From left to right, front, Chas. Thompson, Art Fowler, Vic White, John Thompson, H. “Shorty” Ogden; second row, Joe Fowler, Vic Roberts, Chas. L. Gallagher; back row, H.J. Wingfield, linesman, Chas. Maroni, H.L. Berry, “Boots” Pierotti, and F.A. Strange. (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 Pacific Coast Bulletin, April 1, 1926

Black Diamond has always maintained a reputation for turning out championship teams in baseball, but in the season which just closed, the camp held the distinction of honoring two soccer football teams, both of whom made splendid records.

In the group shown above are gathered the following players: Front row, left to right, “Chick” Thompson, Chas. “Red” Towers, A. Maroni, R. Durnac, John Ogden; second row, Chas. Maroni, Jas. Strang, Vic Roberts; back row, P.J. Gallagher, J.T. Hollow, and “Boots” Pierotti. (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 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 Pacific Coast Bulletin, February 25, 1926

Members of the Washington State Press Association, in their fourteenth Annual Institute in Seattle, are to be the guests of the Pacific Coast Coal Company on Saturday, February 27. They will visit Newcastle, where they will make a trip into Primrose Tunnel, after which they will inspect the Briquet Plant on their return to Seattle. The Pacific Coast Coal Company welcomes this opportunity to greet the representatives of the press.

(more…)

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

Two monster Diamond Briquets, each weighing more than 200 pounds, proved a great drawing card in the Pacific Coast Coal Company’s booth at the Southwest Washington Manufacturers’ Exposition held in Tacoma last week.

A guessing contest was held, a ton of Diamond Briquets being the prize for the person guessing closest to the actual weight of the monster briquet shown on the mantlepiece. More than 3,000 guesses were recorded. J.F. Torrence is the manager of the Tacoma agency of the Pacific Coast Coal Company. (more…)

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

Every day from 450 to 500 tons of Diamond Briquets are loaded into railroad cars for shipment to almost every point where fuel is used between Canada and Mexico on the Pacific Coast. This scene shows how the briquets are lowered from the cooling conveyor into the cars. Thousands of tons of Diamond Briquets will soon be distributed throughout the orchards of Eastern Washington, where they will be burned to protect the fruit blossoms from the ravages of frost this spring. (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, January 30, 2007

By Kathleen Kear

Getting ready to celebrate her 100th birthday is Ruby Favro Androsko Keeney (left). Also pictured with Keeney is son, Joe Androsko (center), and husband, Lee (right).

Looking forward to celebrating her first century of life, former Black Diamond resident Ruby Favro Androsko Keeney has plenty of tales to share about growing up in Black Diamond.

Born on February 4, 1907, to father, Joe Favro (a Black Diamond coal miner), and mother, Mary (a stay-at-home mom), Keeney grew up to become one of thirteen Black Diamond High School graduates in the class of 1926. Soon after graduation, she went to work at the Black Diamond Bakery. (more…)

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