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Craig Goodwin
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The pace of technological change today is not only fast but seems to be accelerating. Occasionally, however, we run across equipment and practices that have stood the test of time and are still in wide use today - and not just by troglodytes. Rotary snow blowers used by railroads to keep tracks clear of snow are but one small example (Snow Blowers to the Rescue). Reef net fishing equipment and practices used by native americans in Puget Sound long before white settlers arrived is another good example. Although better materials have improved efficiency, basic methods remain the same. What is... Continue reading
Posted 10 hours ago at Black Diamond NOW
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Recent publicity about full reservoirs and overflowing dams piqued my interest in how the dams in our state are holding up How many dams do we have and where are they? What safety risks do they pose. As it turns out, the answer to these and many other dam questions in the state are now are now available thanks to an updated report prepared last fall by the state Department of Ecology. Would you believe that our state as 1,189 dams with the biggest share located right here in King County? Under state law, DOE is responsible for regulating dams... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Black Diamond NOW
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Despite our many overcast and rainy days during winter months in the northwest, we do have sunny days too. I am blessed to have the scheduling flexibility to take advantage when the sun shines, so off to Suntop I went this past Monday. For those not familiar, Suntop is an old fire lookout located east of Greenwater. The trailhead is located at a Sno Park maintained by the U.S. Forest Service and you will need a special Sno Park Pass to park here. You can purchase them at Wapiti Woolies in Greenwater on your way up. Put on your snowshoes.... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Black Diamond NOW
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I marvel at the size of logs that early loggers were able to fell, buck and transport to a sawmill. But how would a mill saw such monsters? Big Saws! Photo courtesy Bygone Era of Logging Just seeing the size of this circular saw blade scares the heck out of me. After my own recent "incident" with a circular saw, yikes - I can just feel it. Could easily cut a mill worker in half. No safety protection. Imagine what would happen if this blade struck a metal spike somehow left lodged in a log. But apparently where there is... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Black Diamond NOW
Thanks Dan for your comments. As Bill Kombol pointed out, there is nothing in the mining history of Ravensdale that would explain such rail route. Perhaps a logging road of some sort.
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While the railroads and technological innovations such as the donkey engine helped to transform Washington's timber industry from a small time player ranked just 36th in the U.S. into the giant it became, so too did railroads and technology transform our region's fishing industry. According to the Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest (CSPN), salmon harvests in Puget Sound literally skyrocketed: Puget Sound Salmon Pack (Measured in Cases) 1877 5,000 1895 100,000 1901 1,000,000 1913 2,583,000 Canneries became big business with salmon hungry markets in the east conveniently served by the railroads. CSPN identifies three technologies that were... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Black Diamond NOW
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Black Diamond is blessed to have miles and miles of bike trails both in town and in the 2,000+ acres of Black Diamond Open Space that surround us. What more could we want? If you are inclined to ride the Seattle to Portland (STP) road race scheduled for July 16 this year, it's already time to be training. Riding mountain bike trails is good, but the STP is over 200 miles on pavement requiring the use of different muscles, butt time and riding skills. Have we got the training route for you! Although the Seattle Bicycle Touring Club put this... Continue reading
Posted Feb 13, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
Thanks Kevin. Most helpful!
Toggle Commented Feb 10, 2017 on A Bridge at Lester Circa 1914 at Black Diamond NOW
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In the timber rich but hilly terrain of the pacific northwest, building railroads posed big challenges. To maintain any sort of reasonable grade required lots of bridges. Though "crib trestles" consumed enormous quantities of timber, they provided a readily available solution for spans needing to be in use for only a few years. Some got to be rather large structures. Photo courtesy Bygone Era of Logging, n.d. Photo courtesy Bygone Era of Logging, circa 1900 During this period, other notched log structures such as log cabins also became popular, using the materials mother nature made bountifully available. Need a toy... Continue reading
Posted Feb 10, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
Thanks Bill for your insights. My understanding is that these are interpretive based on the 1936 aerial photos and a good number do follow what we see on the ground. For me, the map provides a good base for discussion.
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The Neukirchen brothers, builders, owners and operators of the Lake Sawyer Mill Co., were very astute businessmen. Following their sawmilling experience first in the north cascades, then Issaquah and Tiger Mountain before eventually building the sawmill at Lake Sawyer, they knew that building a mill lakeside had significant advantages - not the least of which were a ready made millpond and timber supply. However, they had also learned the lesson that eventually timber supply close to the mill would soon be depleted and they would need to reach out farther and farther. At Tiger Mountain, they built a log flume... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
Thank you for the heads up. Will provide the link that you requested.
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Between 1860 and 1880, eight out of every ten dollars of manufacturing investment in Washington State was invested in the timber industry. Enormous trees in dense forests that extended for miles in every direction were a magnet for money. Yet making money in this business was not easy going with many failures along the way. As late as 1880, Washington State ranked 36th in the country in timber production. Then, along came the railroads. According to the Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest (CSPN), over the next decade timber output grew by eight fold and by 1890 had... Continue reading
Posted Feb 7, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
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For those who missed the annual tour of the ghost town of Franklin this past Saturday, mark your calendar for Saturday March 4 when the Black Diamond Historical Society will be hosting a second tour. Despite the inclement weather, a good time was had by all. Doug Geiger took several pictures and posted them on Facebook.. This one shows Franklin "mayor" Don Mason on his podium describing the town's history, surrounded by some familiar "characters". Photo courtesy Doug Geiger. Thanks Doug! The photo being held up shows the Knights of Pythias Hall and ball diamond in Franklin in 1908. Following... Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
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So went the headline in the Seattle Daily Times, August 2, 1918. What was this all about? Believe it or not, Pierre F. Perry, Seattle lawyer and son of the first Governor of the state was charged with hoarding flour in violation of the Food Laws. According to the newspaper, “Ferry was the first man to be arrested in Seattle on a charge of food hoarding. He was taken in custody early last month when federal officers found more than 600 pounds of flour behind a sofa in the maid’s room on the third floor of the Ferry residence, and... Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
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For those interested in history and land use, 1936 is a memorable year. It marks the beginning of intensified mapping of King County, including the use of aerial photography. We don't need to wonder what Lake Sawyer was like back then, we can see it. King county now makes these digital images available to us online using their iMap tool. Following is an overview of Lake Sawyer as it was in 1936. To the east, we can see the old Columbia & Puget Sound rail line that once served the coal mines of Black Diamond and Franklin - now a... Continue reading
Posted Feb 1, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
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January is the time when harsh budget realities for the new year come home to roost. Although our Black Diamond Community Center has found ways to plug some gaps, they still really need our help in serving our community's needy. As a result, we are continuing our fund raising efforts through the sale of cards and prints (calendars sold-out) and have raised an additional $600 this month including the sale of photo rights for the cover page of a book to be published later this year by a New York publisher. Thanks to your help, we are now up to... Continue reading
Posted Jan 31, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
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Image courtesy Washington State Historical Society, 2001.0.158.37, circa 1888 The above photo of the Stampede Pass West Portal is one of the better images I have found from this period. It captures the switchbacks and west portal tunnel entrance during those frenetic final days before the tunnel finally opened. As previously noted, switchbacks were constructed as a backup plan in the event tunnel completion faltered. Without operable passage across the pass by 1889, the Northern Pacific faced the prospect of losing many thousands of acres of land grants and pushing company investors into a fatal bankruptcy. As it turned out,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
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Many early logging roads consisted of full sized logs 1/2 buried placed side by to create a rough surface over which felled timber could more easily be dragged by teams of oxen and horses - often referred to as "skid roads". One refinement of this practice was the use of "split plank" roads as shown in the photo that follows, likely taken in the late 1800's. Photo courtesy Oregon Historical Society, 094561, n.d. It's not clear why split plank roads would have been used. Construction would seem harder and more time consuming than conventional whole-log practice. Conserving timber used for... Continue reading
Posted Jan 27, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
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Early logging practices did not paint a pretty picture as the following photo illustrates. Photo courtesy Washington State Archives, circa 1900 Only the best timber was taken with the rest left to rot and provide fuel for forest fires. Why such wasteful practices? Timber was cheap and abundant with efficiency the primary criteria for what was taken and what was left. The constraints of technology at the time also played a significant role. The above log train illustrates. Log lengths appear to have been limited to between 8 and 12 feet, maybe 16 feet at the longest. Anything longer made... Continue reading
Posted Jan 25, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
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This time of year, we see lots of migratory birds making stopovers at Lake Sawyer on their way south to warmer climes. With more arctic cold this winter, there seem to be more transients moving through over a longer period. Following are a few of the ducks we saw on a walk through the park last weekend as the ice began to thaw. This male Bufflehead shows his pretty colors that we seldom see. Unless his head feathers catch direct sun, his head looks black. Their black/white contrast also makes photographing them difficult but I managed to capture some color... Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
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According to public records, the total number of residents living in what is now Washington State grew from just 1,201 in 1850 to over 1.1 million by 1910. Although these records exclude the Native American populace and thus understates the base line, this rate of growth is extraordinary by any measure. Why and how could this happen? Drought conditions and failed crops in the Midwest, government incentives and a high rate of immigration into the country all played a role. But at it's core, we can look to the amazing brew created by the combination of railroads, coal and timber.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
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Of the beaches near La Push, Second Beach may be the most well known. The trail to the beach is short, about 1/2 mile, and sea stacks are close to where the trail reaches the beach. It is impressive. One word of caution, however. This time of year tides are high and beach access becomes severely limited. You can easily become stranded for 4 hours or more if you are not careful. Look at tide schedules before venturing out. When I arrived in the morning, high tide was at +10 feet, leaving little ability to navigate along. When the tide... Continue reading
Posted Jan 20, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
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Access to Third Beach requires a 2 mile hike along a very well maintained trail through coastal spruce forest before reaching the beach. It's the lesser known of the three I visited (Rialto, Third and Second beaches) and has some unique features, including a waterfall tumbling into the ocean. While waiting for the tide to recede, I took some photos of the waterfall and sea stacks from about 1/2 mile away using my 300 mm long lens. After a cloudy morning, the sun came out bright and shining. Here's a broader view of the waterfall and Taylor point. A side... Continue reading
Posted Jan 19, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
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Snoqualmie Falls Lumber Co. began using their first chainsaw for felling timber in 1944. It had to be quite a machine to cut down such large timber and required two men to operate. Photo courtesy King County Collects, Harold Keller photographer, circa 1944 Chain saws of course required chain oil to keep them lubricated. Where did loggers get their chain oil? They recycled the oil from logging trucks. There was one problem however - during wet weather conditions chain saw operators would occasionally get some significant electrical shocks from stray electrical currents. Ouch! Continue reading
Posted Jan 18, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW