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Posts Tagged ‘Union Stump’

Originally published in the South County Journal, April 25, 2002

Concrete block now encases meeting spot of coal miners’ union

By Mike Archbold
Journal Reporter

Paul Botts, left, 87, one of the last underground miners from Black Diamond, and Don Mason, president of the Black Diamond Historical Society, stand at the Union Stump. Now enclosed in concrete, the old fir stump was used in 1907 in Black Diamond to rally miners and start a union. (Gary Kissel/JournaI)

BLACK DIAMOND — Paul Botts remembers seeing the Union Stump as a youngster.

Now 87, he is among the last of the underground coal miners still living in the area. And Botts still is a member of United Mine Workers Local 6481.

“Dues are $6 a month. And I still get benefits,” Botts said last week, leaning against the large, square block of concrete encasing the old fir stump—where union history was made nearly a century ago, debates were argued, rallies were held, and strikes were called.

Like mining itself, Local 6481 left Black Diamond years ago. Now the local is located in Ogden, Utah, Botts said. (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, September 1994

By Heather Larson

Left to right: Jennifer Simmons, Danny Simmons, and Ashley Petersen prepare to enter the parade route in their horse-drawn wagon representing Four Corners Safeway.

Black Diamond celebrated Labor Day weekend with a fever this year. After having last year’s event cancelled for lack of volunteers, no holds were barred. Something for everyone was offered during the 4 days from a fish dinner on Friday night to a bed race on Sunday and a parade down the Maple Valley Highway on Monday.

On Saturday amid torrential downpours the Black Diamond Police challenged the Black Diamond Fire Department to a softball game. Since the police, who chose to be called the DARE Devils, didn’t have the manpower to field a team, other police officers who live in Black Diamond were asked to help out. So King County, Bellevue, and Seattle Police Departments were also represented on the team.

According to Black Diamond officer Glenn Dickson, the highlight of the game was the 8-foot mud pit behind first base.

It was really wet and muddy, but a good time was had by all, said Dickson.

The DARE Devils beat the Hosers 13 to 9 at the first annual baseball game. (more…)

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Originally published in the Valley Daily News, September 5, 1994

In Black Diamond, Labor Day means celebration

By Leah Kohlenberg
Valley Daily News

Jamie Greminger looks up from her watermelon during the eat-offs on Saturday in Black Diamond. (Valley Daily News photo by Matt Hagen.)

BLACK DIAMOND—The Konoske twins are a living legend around these parts. Put something edible in front of them and they will eat it. Quickly.

For two years, 13-year-olds Kristen and Korey swept the pie and watermelon-eating contests at the annual Black Diamond Labor Day Festival. It’s not hard to pick them out from the group of chowing youngsters—their twisting heads and food-spitting techniques make them stand out in a crowd. It’s all part of their strategy, apparently. (more…)

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Originally published in the MVHS Bugle, March/June 2007

Howard Botts

Howard Botts

Black Diamond is my favorite subject since I’ve lived there all my life. I think these two towns, Maple Valley and Black Diamond, have some things in common; a couple of them are Highway 169 and railroads.

People in Seattle heard that the Northern Pacific was coming to this area and going to Tacoma.

They felt if they couldn’t have that they were going to build their own railroad from Seattle to Walla Walla over the pass. So they started in 1873, got as far as Renton in 1876; then extended it to Newcastle. In 1880 Henry Villard, of the Northern Pacific, bought it from the Black Diamond Coal Company and renamed it the Columbia & Puget Sound Railroad. (more…)

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Originally published in the BDHS newsletter, August 1999

By Lynda Maks

My father, Joseph Dal Santo, was born in 1885 in Sehio, Italy, and came to the U.S. around 1911. My mother, Anna Respleux, was born in 1896, in Wilkeson, Washington. They met at a boarding house in Black Diamond, which was run by my mother’s aunt and uncle, Joe and Mary Favro. They were married in August of 1914.

They had 8 children: Jules was born in 1916 in BD, Angeline (1917) in Cle Elum, and Alice (1918) in BD, who passed away with the flu in 1919. They then moved to Renton where they had Lynda (1920), Leo (1922), John (1924), and Joe (1925). They moved back to Black Diamond in 1930 so my dad could work for Pacific Coast Coal Company—you had to live in Black Diamond and live in their houses to work for them. You all know the song, “You Owe Your Soul to the Company Store”—that’s the way it was. My brother Roy was born in 1931. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Times, September 2, 1958

A plaque was placed on a cement-encased stump in a field near Black Diamond yesterday, commemorating it as the rallying point where 200 miners met May 15, 1907, and organized Local 2257, United Mine Workers of America. Albert Donati, president of Local 6487, placed the plaque. Standing on the stump were, from left, Fred Roberts, Sam Nicholls, and William C. Lewis. Roberts and Lewis signed their names to the charter on the stump the day the local was founded. Nicholls is president of District 10, United Mine Workers.

A plaque was placed on a cement-encased stump in a field near Black Diamond yesterday, commemorating it as the rallying point where 200 miners met May 15, 1907, and organized Local 2257, United Mine Workers of America. Albert Donati, president of Local 6487, placed the plaque. Standing on the stump were, from left, Fred Roberts, Sam Nicholls, and William C. Lewis. Roberts and Lewis signed their names to the charter on the stump the day the local was founded. Nicholls is president of District 10, United Mine Workers.

A decaying tree stump in a field near Black Diamond was the rallying point for miners of the area yesterday during the annual Labor Day celebration.

The old stump, now encased in cement, was the spot where 200 miners met on May 15, 1907, to organize Local 2257, United Mine Workers of America. (more…)

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Original published in the Voice of the Valley, September 16, 1998

By Cecilia Nguyen

With the slogan ‘Read to Succeed’ Black Diamond Library advertises the importance of literacy courtesy of Black Diamond Librarian Laverne Harris’ Friendly Acres Horse Farm.

With the slogan ‘Read to Succeed’ Black Diamond Library advertises the importance of literacy courtesy of Black Diamond Librarian Laverne Harris’ Friendly Acres Horse Farm.

Black Diamond is known for its coal mining history. Part of that history included strained labor relations between coal miners and mine operators.

In 1907, at the “Union Stump,” in the area in town known as Morganville, mine workers voted to unify. From that day on, coal miners gradually began to see working conditions and benefits improve for the thousands of men who flocked to the coal mines for wages. (more…)

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Originally published in the Globe News, July 4, 1976

By Eric Payne

Coal company bulletin: ‘The weakness of the trade union ...’

Coal company bulletin: ‘The weakness of the trade union …’

The world needed more energy.

Working men needed more money.

The world decided coal would suit its need nicely.

Working men decided trade unions were the means to a higher standard of living.

So the irresistible force met the immovable object—and South King County was one of the battlegrounds.

Some old men still remember the war. Today we live in small houses in North Renton, in homes nestled among the trees in Coalfield and Newcastle and Kangley, in shacks outside of Black Diamond. They were the front lines. (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 BDHS newsletter, October 2007

By Frank Hammock

The first Union Stump encasement 1921-1922. (Photograph courtesy: Black Diamond Historical Society #2005.018, Gattavara Collection.)

The first Union Stump encasement 1921-1922. (Photograph courtesy: Black Diamond Historical Society #2005.018, Gattavara Collection.)

Back at the stump … the miners discussed the bad working conditions in the mines.

Back at the stump … the miners demanded an eight-hour work day.

Back at the stump … the miners fought for higher pay.

Yes, back at the stump … a 100-year journey began for Black Diamond’s United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) Local Union 6481. Out of necessity, and part of a nationwide movement, a new era of change grew from the spark of diversity and struggle, and the voices who gave it life.

Springing up all over the nation in those early years of the 20th century, the echoes that started from a whisper, joined to a crescendo like the waters of many rivers that merge into the sea. And, on May 15, 1907, Local Union 6481 first formed and became a gallant part of that blended energy of transformation.

Ever since Congress voted it into a federal holiday in 1894, Labor Day has been a celebration of struggle, work, change, and prosperity. Yet, all throughout history, workers have been waging a war for the betterment of labor and the conditions of life that support it. (more…)

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