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Posts Tagged ‘Union Stump’

Originally published in the MVHS Bugle, March 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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