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Craig Goodwin
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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 2 days ago 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 3 days ago 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 4 days ago 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 7 days ago at Black Diamond NOW
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Last week I focused on where Lake Sawyer get's its water and where water flows once it leaves the lake. The sources of this data were detailed studies commissioned by King County in 1989-1991. Action by King County followed the rapid deterioration of lake water quality after the 1982 startup of a City of Black Diamond wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). Algae blooms in the lake had become frequent and troubling. For more about the sources of lake water flows, follow these links to Lake Sawyer - Where Lake Water Comes From and Where It Goes and Lake Sawyer Water Balance... Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
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The early 1900's were a period of significant investment in local hydroelectric infrastructure. Masonry Dam along the Cedar River began delivering power to Seattle as early as 1905. Photo courtesy University of Washington Libraries, CUR1414, Asahel Curtis Photographer, circa 1920 The Electron Power Plant was under construction in 1903. The following photo shows pile drivers at work powered by a donkey engine. Photo courtesy University of Washington Libraries, WWDL0015, circa 1903 The hydroelectric plant at Derringer took three years to build between 1909 and 1911. The photo that follows shows construction of a culvert for the trailrace connecting the plant... Continue reading
Posted Mar 15, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
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Lest there be any doubt about the prominent role played by coal in the Puget Sound region's early economic development, the following map shows just how extensive mining was in the late 1800's.. This map also shows the town of Slaughter before it became Auburn and the town of Osteola before the emergence of Enumclaw. Osteola (more commonly spelled Osceola) was located about two miles southeast of Enumclaw. Little remains of Osceola today except for a one room schoolhouse that is now home to the Osceola Community Club. Osceola the town got it's name from the Osceola mudflow that spread... Continue reading
Posted Mar 14, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
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Black Diamond is apparently not the first city in Washington State to face a crisis of governance. The January 11, 1905 issue of the Bellingham Herald offered several headlines describing the chaos in the normally quite town of Lynden Washington. Images courtesy of Between the Lines, Washington State Library Blog Black Diamond now actually has a budget adopted for the entire year 2017 - by a slim 3-2 Council vote margin. Maybe there is hope for us yet. Continue reading
Posted Mar 13, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
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In a post earlier this week Lake Sawyer - Where Lake Water Comes From and Where It Goes, I reported on the results of a 1991 King County funded study that identified the significant sources of water flowing into Lake Sawyer and where it all goes. The study also provides measured data by month by for each source of inflow and outflow. Common sense, of course, tells us that lake water flows are quite seasonal - and by gosh the study confirms this. According to this data, net groundwater flows into the lake were positive in only 2 months of... Continue reading
Posted Mar 10, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
Thanks Bill. Yes there are inflows but the numbers shown are net inflows/outflows. There is no simple way to measure groundwater inflows by themselves or outflows so the consults used a net result to balance the books.
1 reply
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Testing the limits seems to have been a constant quest during the early days of logging and mining. With limited tools at their discretion, they had to make do with what they had, constantly pushing the performance envelope. The log train flatcars in the photo that follows are a good example. Photo courtesy Bygone Days of Logging, circa 1892 How much weight can a rail car actually carry? A lot apparently, but what about the chains that are the only thing keeping these logs from tumbling off a rail car when it turns a corner or hits a bump? So... Continue reading
Posted Mar 9, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
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The more I learn about mining camps and logging camps in the late 1800's and early 1900's, their similarities become more and more striking. Both were often in remote hard to get to locations and bereft of much female influence, though miners had an edge because they stayed at the same location for longer periods. There were dry camps and wet camps, often depending upon how desperate owners were to attract labor. Given the high risks and dangers both loggers and miners faced each day, this was not an environment for the faint of heart. Each had their own rituals... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
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Key to managing and protecting water quality in Lake Sawyer is understanding where our water comes from and where it goes. No blockbuster statement here but it is worth exploring further. Following is a map that shows the 8,300 acre watershed draining into the lake. Protecting Lake Sawyer water quality means being concerned about this entire 8,300 acre area. Although much of the watershed rests within Black Diamond city limits and thus under our most direct control, significant parts of the watershed are located within the City of Maple Valley and in unincorporated King County. Actions taken by these jurisdictions... Continue reading
Posted Mar 7, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
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If off the top of your head, you were to list the most dangerous jobs in the U.S. during the late 1800's and early 1900's, what would they be? Any list during this period would have to include coal mining, logging, fishing and railroads - which just happen to be the four industries that fueled the growth and development of the pacific northwest. Focusing first on coal mining, the following graph prepared by the U.S. Department of Labor charts the number of fatalities nationwide within the coal mining industry. Over 2,500 coal miners lost their lives each year during the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 6, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
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Loggers were not the only ones using horses to transport their bounty in the late 1800's. Mules and horses played an important role in coal mining too. Following is another photo taken by William F. Boyd during the 1889 to 1891 period - this one showing the entrance to an unnamed coal mine. Possibly Newcastle? Photo courtesy University of Washington Libraries, BOY65, William Boyd photographer, circa 1889-1891 Even though these coal cars are on rails, that's a whole lot of weight for a horse to lug up hill. Looking at this photo, I still struggle to understand the economics of... Continue reading
Posted Mar 5, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
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Just a reminder, if you were unable to attend the first tour of the ghost mining town of Franklin in February, another tour is scheduled for this Saturday, March 4. Don't miss this wonderful opportunity - last chance this year and so much fun. Photo courtesy Black Diamond Historical Society, circa 1898 Continue reading
Posted Mar 2, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
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What country in the world produced more petroleum than any other during 2015? Saudi Arabia? Russia? Nope - the U.S. Source: Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Not only is the U.S. #1 producer, but there have been huge changes in the who's who of petroleum since 1980. Disappointingly, overall production has grown by 50% from 1980 to 2015 from 64 mmbd to 96 mmbd - this despite big gains from renewable energy sources and auto efficiency improvements. Biggest losers - Russia and the USSR. Biggest production gains - U.S., China, Brazil and Canada. Continue reading
Posted Mar 1, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
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Looking for an opportunity to dust off your snowshoes or rent a pair to explore the trails at Mt. Rainier National Park? Try the trail from Narada Falls to Reflection Lakes. For beginners, once you make the moderate climb from the falls parking area to the ridge above, it's easy going all the way to Reflection Lakes. For those with moderate skills who want more distance and challenge, head up along Mazama Ridge to Paradise (2.5 miles one way), or continue past Reflection Lakes down to Louise Lake or even further to Stevens Canyon. For those seeking much greater challenge,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 28, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
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The William F. Boyd collection maintained by University of Washington Libraries offers some of the best late 1800's images of the pacific northwest. A transplant from Iowa, Boyd moved to Seattle in 1888 to establish a new studio, just in time for the great Seattle fire of 1889 during which his studio burned down. His photos of the Seattle fire are some of the best you will find. He also focused on early logging - a subject near and dear to me. Following are a couple of his photographs, first showing a log apparently being rolled and not drug along... Continue reading
Posted Feb 27, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
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Before the introduction of donkey engines, the logging industry had "big wheels". Photo courtesy Bygone Days of Logging "Grass burners" such as the team of horses shown above were still needed but big wheels made it a whole lot easier to drag logs along the ground without need for investing in the construction of skid roads. The principle is simple. Lift the butt end of several logs off the ground, substantially lightening the load. Rather than drag just one or two logs at a time, many more could be added to each load. Today, of course, big wheels are one... Continue reading
Posted Feb 24, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
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Steam powered "donkey engines" and high lead logging practices revolutionized the pacific northwest timber industry in the early 1900's. Plenty of wood fuel available for burning. Gone in no time were the "grass burners" - teams of oxen and horses. Wood fueled steam power was also used to turn the saws and move logs and lumber through sawmills. They provided plenty of raw power to move big logs but also posed big risks of fire. Wildfires in the woods were common, caused by sparks from steam donkeys and steam locomotives. Nary an early 1900's sawmill that didn't burn down at... Continue reading
Posted Feb 22, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
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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 Feb 21, 2017 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 Feb 20, 2017 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 Feb 17, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW