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Craig Goodwin
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When was the last time you saw a rowboat on Lake Sawyer or anywhere for that matter? Not very often. The following photo showing a fisherman on the lake was taken in the 1950's and was so typical at the time. Photo courtesy Peggy Hawkins, circa 1950's Note: the boat launch can be seen in the background. There's something just so right about a rowboat and fishing. Trolling at variable speeds beats one uniform speed any day. You can also be rowing along and easily see when you have a bite. Not many canoes these days either. Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Black Diamond NOW
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Have you ever ridden on a "speeder"? I'm not talking about dragstrips and race cars but specialized railcars widely used by logging railroads to transport men and equipment from mill or camp into the woods. Courtesy of Enumclaw Heritage and Washington State Libraries, following are three different types of speeders used by the White River Lumber Company. No. 2 speeder appears to the most basic model. Just enough room for a few supplies and room for several loggers. No. 7 speeder appears to be the height of luxury and intended for overnight use. More like a big caboose. Speeders were... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Black Diamond NOW
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Looking for spectacular views of Mount Rainier up close yet less than an hour from home? Where you can turnaround at the same place and witness beautiful sunsets across the Olympics? Yep, I found it! You can even drive there. Here's the view I found last weekend. I kept my CRV in the photo to provide perspective. Is that a fantastic mountain vista or what! Here's sunset standing at my car looking west. Turn back around and here's sunset reflecting on the mountain. And then there was blue hour. A starry night. Here's a wide angle shot using my 14mm... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Black Diamond NOW
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What would the lumber industry do today without forklifts? Logs and lumber are bulky, long and heavy - hard to move around. Forklifts today fill this need. But what did they do before they had forklifts? How about lumber carriers? Photo courtesy Oregon Historical Society, circa 1920 The concept was simple. Raise a tractor carriage up off the ground, fit some lift blades below and use chains to hoist lumber up off the ground, just enough to move about the yard. Set it down and move on for the next load. These were particularly useful for moving lumber in and... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Black Diamond NOW
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Logging camps were not always a bastion just for single males. Families mattered too. During summer months, some families were even allowed to stay in camp, while others were allowed weekend visits. Following is photo of ours taken during what is likely the 1920's during family picture day - everyone posed and dressed in their Sunday best.. Maybe even their Easter best. I doubt that many loggers owned autos during this period but the big bosses likely did. Pretty impressive to be able to get autos and wagons on top of this massive log. Continue reading
Posted Apr 15, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
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It's mid April and there's still plenty of places to explore on snowshoes. High Hut, located in the state's Mount Tahoma forest just south of Ashford, continues to be one of the best, including the opportunity to stay overnight warm and in comfort. The views from here of Mt. Rainier are simply stunning. The following photo shows just how big the mountain view is as you approach the hut from the trail. Go around to the front and this is what you see. Even on cloudy days, there is so much beauty. Following are a couple of shots using my... Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
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With all the rain we've had, how are lake water levels doing? How much rain have we had? First comparing 2016 rainfall with prior years, the following chart shows annual totals measured at both SeaTac and the NOAA station closest to us at Landsburg. Footnote: Landsburg data is not available for the years 2009 and 2010. As expected, Landsburg and our area has higher rainfall than does SeaTac due to our higher elevation and location further east in the foothills. Peak day rainfall at Landsburg in December 2016 hit a new high of 5.5". Fortunately, the weir outlet of the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 12, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
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Every industry or type of business has it's share of unique jargon - words that have little meaning or use outside of that industry, yet so fundamental to the business. So it is with logging and coal mining, particularly during the early days. In coal mining, I've always wondered, what in the world is a "tipple" and how did it get it's name? I see historical photos of a coal mine's "top works" with reference to the mine's tipple but not know what they are referring to. The following photo of the Ginder Lake coal mine tipple provides an excellent... Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
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This past weekend was the annual Daffodil Festival and parade that begins in Tacoma and then visits Puyallup, Sumner and Orting. Judy and I grew up in the Puyallup valley and have so many great memories of marching in the parade. Such beautiful fields of yellow. The above photo taken in 1950 was likely a promo piece that our family collected showing that year's festival royalty. It appears to have been taken between Alderton and Orting with Mt. Rainier so beautiful as the backdrop. But alas, today Knutson Farms is the last remaining grower in the valley and this year's... Continue reading
Posted Apr 10, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
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Despite all the rain and cold weather, signs of spring are beginning to appear. Our Lake Sawyer eagles are preparing their nest while the redwing blackbirds are singing their songs at Frog Lake.. The male eagle we see standing in the nest had just brought back a nice big limb. Spring cleaning I guess. Not a very good picture but does show that our eagles are back. Yeah! Moss is also at it's prime right now and is actually quite pretty. I'm ready for sunshine, though. Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
Thanks David. I will have to check it out.
1 reply
Thanks for sharing John!
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The first railroad access to the coal fields of Newcastle was provided by the Seattle & Walla Walla (S&WW) Railroad in 1877. Given all the construction hurdles at the time, it was built with narrow gauge rail. The Columbia & Puget Sound (C&PS) Railroad was incorporated in 1880 with plans to extend rail to the mines in Taylor, Black Diamond and Franklin. It also then absorbed the S&WW route to Newcastle with plans to use standard gauge for all destinations. It took awhile but in 1897, plans were launched to replace Newcastle route narrow gauge with standard gauge rail. This... Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
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If you like waterfalls, scores of them, then the Columbia River Gorge is the place to go. Trails range from wheelchair accessible to steep and challenging. Something for everyone. Latourell Falls is one the more spectacular and just off the highway. Lots of moss as you can see. Located on the south side of the river facing north, not a lot of sunlight here. Multnomah Falls, also just off the highway, is the most well known and lives up to it's spectacular reputation even on a foggy morning. The hike from Horsetail Falls to the Oneonta Gorge covers just over... Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
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Photo courtesy Black Diamond Historical Society If you've made the short hike up to the ghost town of Franklin, this view showing the flat stretch along the hillside where trains once ran will be familiar. They always seemed to build homes right next to the tracks. This makes sense, though, given the central role that railroads played for mining towns like Franklin in everyday life. Continue reading
Posted Apr 3, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
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Before the Kummer Bridge along what is now SR 169 opened in 1933, the best route from Black Diamond to Enumclaw was via the Green River Gorge Bridge at Franklin. Why here? Franklin coal mines made the town quite the going concern in the early 1900's and the bridge span across the Green River at this point was the narrowest potential point of crossing for quite a few miles. The first structure built, however, was not what one would call an engineering marvel. Photo courtesy Black Diamond Historical Society The one lane largely wooden structure was placed deep into the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 2, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
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Early loggers faced many challenges, not the least of which was felling, bucking and yarding huge logs on hillsides suitable only for mountain goats. But persevere they did, somehow finding a way to get the job done. The two photos that follow show logging operations of the White River Lumber Co. along a hillside. Two donkey engines are positioned up the hill to power the cables braced by a spar tree and attached to logs for loading rail cars. When I first looked at these photos, I said to myself - no way that even narrow gauge railroad track can... Continue reading
Posted Mar 29, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
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In last week's Lake Sawyer Water Quality post focused on Impacts of Development since 1990, we found that significant development occurred in the Lake Sawyer watershed following completion of King County's water quality studies in 1991. With added development, it is reasonable to expect that both stream flows and phosphorus loading to the lake would have increased since then given greater volumes of stormwater runoff generated by this new development. How much, of course, is difficult to estimate. Though no homes have yet been built, we now face significant new development as a result of Oakpointe's Master Planned Developments in... Continue reading
Posted Mar 28, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
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The life span for northwest sawmills was often quite short, particularly during the early days. If a sawmill lasted 10 or 20 years, that would be a long time. Most burned down at least once and had to be rebuilt or just abandoned. The longer in tooth a sawmill became, the harder and harder (and more expensive) it became to procure timber. Boom or bust economic cycles made it even more challenging to stay in business. The Lake Sawyer sawmill began operations in 1922 before closing in 1934. The Wood-Iverson sawmill in Hobart began operating in 1915 and flourished through... Continue reading
Posted Mar 27, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
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To be frugal in the logging and lumber business was not optional nor virtuous. It was a necessity. Continuing boom and bust cycles required watching every penny. The Neukirchen brothers who owned Lake Sawyer Mill sawmill were survivors. When it came time to add a locomotive to handle moving logs and lumber around their growing plant site, they opted to purchase a used locomotive known as a Model 0-4-0T. Photo courtesy Eric Erickson, circa 1920's With a history that date backs to 1825, the 0-4-0T was among the simplest locomotives ever built. It had two axles and four coupled wheels... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
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During the past two weeks, I have reported on the results of in-depth studies conducted in 1989 - 1991 concerning Lake Sawyer water quality. These studies were commissioned by King County in response to reduced oxygen levels and increasingly severe algae blooms in the lake. The lake was dying and the primary culprit was a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) that started up in 1982 and discharged "treated effluent" into a Rock Creek wetlands complex and eventually into Lake Sawyer. These studies provide invaluable information about where lake water comes from and where harmful nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus get... Continue reading
Posted Mar 22, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
Thanks Ken for the correction!
1 reply
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If Lake Sawyer Mill Company's high lead logging Spar Tree takes the prize for most extreme feat by a high climber, then another local company, Pacific States Lumber in Selleck, pushed the envelope with construction of its logging railroad trestles. Courtesy of the Maple Valley Historical Society, following are two photos taken in the 1920's showing construction of one of their logging railroad trestles. Can you imagine the high wire act that construction crews had to undertake to build this structure? Note the individual in the top photo walking back to safe ground along a very narrow walkway. A donkey... Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
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It's been several year since I first posted a photo of a spar tree once used by the Lake Sawyer Mill Co. in their logging operations. I have seen many spar tree pictures since then from around the northwest, but none that compares with our home town version. This is impressive. Photo courtesy Ted and Debbie Strand, Lake Sawyer Grocery circa 1920's This is not only the tallest spar tree I have seen, but look at the high climber standing at the top. The two men hanging from one of the cables less than 1/4 of the way up puts... Continue reading
Posted Mar 20, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
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The lure of vast timber supplies on Tiger Mountain attracted a number of notable entrepreneurs to our area including Weyerhaeuser Company with their sawmill at Walsh Lake, the Neukirchen brothers with a sawmill along Issaquah - Hobart road and eventually at Lake Sawyer too, and Wood & Iverson who made Hobart into one of the larger and long lasting company towns around. Clark Kinsey, noted photographer and chronicler of the logging and lumber industry, captured some fun photos of Wood & Iverson's logging operations, probably taken in the late 1910's to early 1920's. Here's one of picture day out in... Continue reading
Posted Mar 17, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW