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Posts Tagged ‘When Coal Was King’

Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, April 7, 2015

By Bill Kombol

Railroads played a key role in the development of most King County towns, including Ravensdale. The arrival of the nation’s second transcontinental railway, the Northern Pacific (NP) in 1883 dramatically accelerated growth throughout the Washington Territory.

The development of a production-scale coal mine required a rail link to deliver the massive equipment needed to operate the mine and to transport the coal to market.

The extension of the Columbia and Puget Sound (C&PS) railway in 1884 from Renton by Henry Villard’s Oregon Improvement Company enabled the coal mines at Cedar Mountain (1884), Black Diamond (late 1884), Franklin (1885), and Danville (1896) to begin production. (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, October 11, 2016

By Bill Kombol

With the Major League Baseball [season] ready to begin, it’s fun to look back over 100 years to a women’s baseball team which played for Ravensdale.

Though baseball and soccer were big sports for coal miners representing their respective mining towns, the ladies also took up bat and glove. According to Barbara Nilson’s Ravensdale Reflections, baseball games were played every Sunday at a rough field on the Landsburg Road just across from the Markus store, now known as the Ravensdale Market. (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, February 23, 2010

By Bill Kombol

‘Welsh’ Bill Morris, Jackie Warren, and Jim Thomas (left to right) are shown here in Palmer, Washington, in the early 1940s. Both coal miners came to the U.S. from Wales in 1927-28 to work at the Durham mine of the Morris Brothers Coal Mining Company. Both were immigrants sponsored by their American relative, George Morris.

George was a Welsh immigrant who came to America in 1880, eventually establishing his family and children as successful coal miners and livery stable owners in the mining town of Wilkeson. George Morris was later part-owner of the Durham coal mine.

Welsh immigration to the U.S. began in earnest in 1850s, with a peak decade during the 1890 when over 100,000 arrived. The 1920s saw continued Welsh immigration as coal mining in Wales fell at the conclusion of World War I. (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, December 23, 2014

By Bill Kombol

This May 1968 photo of the Morganville Tavern comes courtesy of the King County Assessor’s archived collection.

This May 1968 photo of the Morganville Tavern comes courtesy of the King County Assessor’s archived collection.

Morganville is a section of Black Diamond founded by striking coal miners in the early 1920s. The building shown here was operated for several decades as the Morganville Tavern with its famous silver dollar bar.

It became a raucous gathering place for bikers, farmers, and politicians after Rick King acquired it, added musical entertainment, and ramped up sales to over 350 kegs of beer per month. (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, July 28, 2015

By Bill Kombol

Photo # PI-24764 comes courtesy of Museum of History & Industry and shows a 1925 Chrysler Phaeton Six at the park’s entrance.

Photo # PI-24764 comes courtesy of Museum of History & Industry and shows a 1925 Chrysler Phaeton Six at the park’s entrance.

In September 1925 the Seattle Post-Intelligencer published an article about Flaming Geyser Park and its unique gas-bubbling spring. At that time it was a privately-owned facility providing campsites, stoves, restrooms, a swimming pool fed by the Green River, fish hatchery, and round picnic tables cut from six-foot sections of fir trees. (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, September 9, 2014

By Bill Kombol

Lake Sawyer log dump, 1928. Courtesy of University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections, C. Kinsey No. 1684

Lake Sawyer log dump, 1928

This photo by Clark Kinsey shows one of the log dumps of the Lake Sawyer Mill Company, circa 1928. This log dump facility was located on the west shore of Lake Sawyer at the current site of the Sunrise Lake Sawyer Resort. This old log dump is now a short peninsula at the resort which juts out into the lake. (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, August 23, 2016

By Bill Kombol

Maple Valley’s third depot dates to 1953, shortly after it was built.

Maple Valley’s third depot dates to 1953, shortly after it was built.

Over the near century from 1885 to 1982, Maple Valley hosted three different railroad stations, all located in old Maple Valley just north of where Highway 18 overpasses SR-169. This photo of the third Maple Valley depot dates to 1953 shortly after it was built.

The Maple Valley station was an important cog for directing rail traffic as trains could be switched to Black Diamond, Taylor, or up the Cedar River through Landsburg into the watershed. (more…)

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