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Originally published in the Maple Valley Reporter, July 8, 2011

By TJ Martinell

Gomer Evans, Sr. spars with an opponent in a match held at the town’s baseball field. The referee is George Avers, who also played on the Black Diamond baseball team.

At the turn of the century in Black Diamond the sport of boxing was a popular form of entertainment.

As a coal mining town, where all of the men worked long hours performing manual labor, it was capable of producing more than a few big, muscular men who could knock someone out with a single punch.

“We were all tough little buggers,” said Jack Thompson, who grew up on Baker Street.

Carl Steiert said as a boy he’d be shining shoes in the barbershop when boxers would put on their trunks in the back end room and warm up. His recollections were published in the book Black Diamond: Mining the Memories. (more…)

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Originally published in the Maple Valley Reporter, July 6, 2012

By TJ Martinell

Black Diamond miners ride the car down into the mine. The car was lowered by a cable from the surface. The car was designed to stop if the cable was severed to prevent it from crashing.

A typical “day at the office” for the 820 or so men who worked in Mine 11 in Black Diamond at the turn of the century involved darkness, potential disasters and long hours of hard work thousands of feet beneath the surface.

The morning shifts started at 7:30 a.m. Work shifts ranged from eight to 10 hours, six days a week.

As Miners Day—which is set for this weekend—approached Don Mason and Don Malgarini of the Black Diamond Historical Society reflected on what the average day was like for a coal miner.

“There wasn’t a lot of office jobs,” Mason said. “They worked their butts off.” (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, April 5, 1911

Giuseppe Piztorasi assessed $100 and $6.50 costs for conducting sporty nuisance at Black Diamond

Deputies on trail of explosion suspects

Racket made by several hundred Italians at Black Diamond at one of their national sports, cheese rolling, led to the arrest early Sunday morning of Giuseppe Piztorasi, who yesterday paid a fine of $100 and $6.50 costs for conducting a nuisance. Piztorasi was fined Monday by Justice of the Peace William W. Davis, and said that he would not pay the fine. But he concluded to do so yesterday morning just as Deputy Sheriff Joseph C. Hill was about to step upon the train with him to come to the county jail.

Hill and Deputy Sheriff Scott Malone have been staying at Black Diamond investigating the explosion of giant powder that wrecked the little home of Rasmus Christiansen, assistant superintendent of the Pacific Coast Coal Company. Blowing the ceiling from over the bed in which Christiansen, his wife, and baby were asleep. (more…)

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Originally published in Seattle Daily Times, May 20, 1919

Delegates from the various mining camps of the Pacific Coast Coal Company met recently in Black Diamond and formed an athletic and first aid association which promises to become a factor in the community.

The object of the association is to promote clean sport, build and equip clubhouses at the various camps, and to revive interest in healthful outdoor exercise. Two contests will be held in the near future, with prizes offered. The camps represented include Black Diamond, Newcastle, Issaquah, Burnett, Franklin, and the Seattle shops.

The following officers were selected to act as an advisory board: Ernest Newsham, honorary president; Stephen H. Green, honorary vice president; N.H. Freeman, president; Frank Rice, vice president; Dr. Mallory, treasurer; G.F. Clancy, secretary; one delegate from each camp.

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Originally published in The Seattle Daily Times, May 20, 1919

Athletic association organized at Black Diamond to promote sports

Black Diamond clubhouse, 1924

Black Diamond clubhouse, 1924

Delegates from the various mining camps of the Pacific Coast Coal Company met recently in Black Diamond and formed an athletic and first aid association which promises to become a factor in the community.

The object of the association is to promote clean sport, build and equip clubhouses at the various camps, and revive interest in healthful outdoor exercise. Two contests will be held in the near future, with prizes offered. The camps represented include Black Diamond, Newcastle, Issaquah, Burnett, Franklin, and the Seattle shops.

The following officers were selected to act as an advisory board: Ernest Newsham, honorary president; Stephen H. Green, honorary vice president; N.H. Freeman, president; Frank Rice, vice president; Dr. Mallory, treasurer; G.F. Clancey, secretary; one delegate from each camp.

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, September 11, 2007

By Kathleen Kear

Labor Day Program 2007

To read the article, “Back at the Stump: A Labor Day Reflection,” about the formation of the Black Diamond coal miners’ union in 1907, click here.

The fun began on Saturday, Sept. 1st, and ran all the way through Labor Day, Sept. 3rd, with each day filled with all sorts of activities the whole family could enjoy.

There was the annual softball game with the fire/police team trying hard to beat the community only to have the community come back and take the win.

There was also the nostalgic sock hop at the newly dedicated Black Diamond gym, Black Diamond Museum tours full of fascinating historical items and information, the dedicating of the city’s first skate park, pancake breakfast, peanut wagon and ice cream, BBQ luncheon, button raffle drawing, watermelon and pie-eating contests, and field games to boot.

The parade was filled with bunches of kids as well as adults on bikes, floats, with their pets, in cars, on tractors, and big rigs. (more…)

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Originally published in the Pacific Coast Bulletin, June 14, 1923

If working a shift in Black Diamond Mine was no harder for the four men shown above than it was for them to pose for this picture, there would always be a mad scramble among the men to see who could get the first man-trip down.

At the left we introduce to you, George Belt, and next to him, Fred Cunningham, a former Issaquah miner. The man next in line is R.E. “Curly” Campbell and the young Hercules at the extreme right is Darwin Walton. (more…)

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Originally published in the Pacific Coast Bulletin, September 7, 1922

A few who attended the meet.

A few who attended the meet.

The Western Washington First Aid and Mine Rescue Meet was only half completed at Burnett on last Monday. Rain forced a postponement of the First Aid events, and these will be started at Black Diamond at 1:30 p.m. next Sunday.

L.S. Campbell, captain of Carbonado team, holding the Mine Rescue Cup, Championship Western Washington won by his team.

L.S. Campbell, captain of Carbonado team, holding the Mine Rescue Cup, Championship Western Washington won by his team.

Carbonado, finishing first in a contest that was remarkable for the high percentages scored by the competing teams, won the championship cup for Western Washington in Mine Rescue.

Many notables were in the big crowd that witnessed the Mine Rescue competition, among them George S. Rice of Washington, D.C., Chief Mining Engineer of the U. S. Bureau of Mines, and B.D. Stewart, Federal and Territorial Mining Inspector of Alaska, who were the guests of George Watkin Evans, consulting mining engineer of Seattle.

State Mine Inspector Morris, John Schoning, representative of the Federal Bureau of Mines, Deputy State Mine Inspector Wake, H.H. Sanderson of the Sanderson Safety Supply Company, and Jerome E. Wilcox were the judges of the Mine Rescue competition, and at the close, ranked the teams in the following order:

Teams Percent
Carbonado 98.8
Burnett 98.6
Black Diamond 95.6
Newcastle Disqualified

(more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, August 13, 1975

Labor Day 1975Black Diamond is polishing the lamp posts and sweeping its streets this week in preparation for its annual three-day Labor Day celebration.

The town is combining a bicentennial theme with celebration of its 25th year of Labor Day functions. The silver anniversary special begins on Saturday, August 30, with an adult dance at the Eagles Hall.

This Saturday, August 16, and the following Saturday, dances will be held on the street in front of King’s Tavern and a teen dance at the Parish Hall. Proceeds from both functions go to the Labor Day Committee.

Cari Ann Nelson, 14, and Marlene Bergstrom, 15, are in the running for queen of the holiday. The queen is chosen on the amount of Labor Day buttons sold. A drawing will be held with a $100 prize going to the holder of the lucky button.

This year’s Labor Day button, which sells for $1, features the Black Diamond city limits sign superimposed over a view of Mount Rainier. (more…)

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Originally published in the BDE Series, official monthly publication of the Black Diamond School, June 5, 1974

By Jim King

Black Diamond graduates: Top row: Corey Chevalier, Kelly Perkin, Robert Enwiller, Bill Wheeler, Rick Maiers, Richard Bainton, and Jim King. Middle row: Dennis Hanks, Todd Hawkins, Cecil Walker, Randy Palmer, Paul Elder, John Fladgard, and Mr. Larry Harper, teacher. Bottom row: Jeff Capponi, Alma Burlison, Stephanie Enwiller, Marlene Bergstrom, Marcy Pfahl, Ricky Shay, and Gerry Averill. Not present: Steve Baltazor and Lynne Shoemaker. Fifteen of the 22 graduating for Black Diamond this year have attended the school for eight years.

Black Diamond graduates: Top row: Corey Chevalier, Kelly Perkin, Robert Enwiller, Bill Wheeler, Rick Maiers, Richard Bainton, and Jim King. Middle row: Dennis Hanks, Todd Hawkins, Cecil Walker, Randy Palmer, Paul Elder, John Fladgard, and Mr. Larry Harper, teacher. Bottom row: Jeff Capponi, Alma Burlison, Stephanie Enwiller, Marlene Bergstrom, Marcy Pfahl, Ricky Shay, and Gerry Averill. Not present: Steve Baltazor and Lynne Shoemaker. Fifteen of the 22 graduating for Black Diamond this year have attended the school for eight years.

The eighth grade class of Black Diamond Elementary School is having a graduation program in the school’s multi-purpose room at 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 6. Twenty-two students are in the class. (more…)

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