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Craig Goodwin
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With good weather forecast and a couple of weeks yet to go before schools reopen, this is a great time to go exploring with children and grandchildren at Flaming Bubbling Geyser State Park. Here's your opportunity to combine lessons in geology, chemistry, natural science and P.E. and have a picnic too. I'm referring, of course, to Flaming Geyser State Park located along the Green River Gorge. At one time the geyser literally "flamed" several feet in the air, but alas, no more. The methane seep caused by coal miners doing some exploratory drilling in the early 1900's has run out... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Black Diamond NOW
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Long before Washington became a state, schooling was alive and well in the territory. According to historians, "formal" schools date as far back as the 1830s, with a tribal school established in Spokane and another by the Hudson's Bay Company. Olympia lays claim to the first schoolhouse built in 1852 and by 1860, we see the White River Schoolhouse built in Slaughter (Auburn) to serve the local river valley community there. Image courtesy Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, circa 1860 Nothing fancy, other than a roof over their heads, though a bit drafty and dark inside too. Not even a... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Black Diamond NOW
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The more hiking and backpacking that we do, the more "must do" hikes we find. And so many yet to explore. The trail to Park Butte Lookout in the Mt. Baker Recreation Area is a great case in point. We've heard about it and read about it, but somehow never had or found the time to go exploring there. It is a bit of a drive (about 2.5 hours), but so much to see once you get there. For this trip to the Mt. Baker area, I used a campground near the dam at Mt. Baker Lake as base camp.... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Black Diamond NOW
Thank you for sharing Robert. bbs could be painful indeed.
Toggle Commented 7 days ago on Why Covered Bridges? at Black Diamond NOW
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Thank you for sharing Judith. Such beautiful land.
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Although there were large sawmills built in our area in the late 1800's, the majority of mills at the time were small, portable and capable of producing only basic planks needed for construction by the railroads or for basic building structures just one step more advanced than log cabins. Why? (1) Unless you were located along a railroad or producing shingles, there was no practical way to move cut lumber to markets, except perhaps by water. There were some sternwheelers that made weekly trips to Seattle via the Duwamish and Green River that could transport cut wood but capacity was... Continue reading
Posted Aug 7, 2019 at Black Diamond NOW
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Looking for a hike that rates A+ for wildflowers, has expansive alpine scenery and great Mt. Rainier views? Then now is the time to head to Tamanos Mountain, elevation 6,790 ft. While gaining 3,135 ft. over 4+ miles, you will get your exercise - and views of Mt. Adams too. Though the lakes are nice, hike past them and you will soon find the best display of wildflowers that we have seen this year. Lupine and paintbrush are both now in their prime. But for me, it's the unique and wide open views of Mt. Rainier that I really love... Continue reading
Posted Aug 4, 2019 at Black Diamond NOW
If I understand the area you are talking about, this is in the City of Maple Valley and they are building houses. It once was in unincorporated King County but annexed by Maple Valley several years ago at the request of the developer.
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Early settlers in the northwest emigrated here for a whole variety of reasons. Some seeking escape, some seeking to better themselves and their families and others in search of riches. But one value shared by them all wherever they may have emigrated from and whatever language they spoke - make sure their children get an education. There is nothing in law at the time that required there be schools or that children attend school, but a schoolhouse was often the first building to be constructed in a community. Somehow, there always seemed to have been resources for schools and teachers,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 31, 2019 at Black Diamond NOW
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In an earlier post Ravensdale - Sawmill Town, I referenced a comment in Morris Skagen's wonderful book about the "History of the Soos Creek Plateau from 1860 to 1960" about Ravensdale once being known as a sawmill town. Since the history of Ravensdale is much better known for it's coal mining and not for it's sawmills, I followed up both with Mr. Skagen and by reviewing my reference book "Index of Lumber Businesses & Mills, King County, Washington" by Eric Erickson. After some searching, I was able to track down the apparent source of Mr. Skagen's comment. The reference to... Continue reading
Posted Jul 28, 2019 at Black Diamond NOW
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I should be out hiking and taking pictures but with cloudy skies and a few rain showers, it was time to return to my quest for better understanding area traffic challenges. This time, I'm focusing on current traffic volumes by highway milepost rather than rate of growth in traffic along each highway. Starting first with Hwy 18 Traffic counts for the year 2018. The above graphic starts to the west at milepost 6.61 at the Hwy 18 Green River bridge and charts traffic counts as drivers progress east through Covington and Maple Valley, ending at milepost 20.77 at the Issaquah/Hobart... Continue reading
Posted Jul 27, 2019 at Black Diamond NOW
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The town of Lester was founded in 1892 to service the Northern Pacific Railroad crossing Stampede Pass. Lester is a ghost town today with the last of its buildings recently removed. But at one time, it was a real booming place with roundhouse, water tanks, commercial area and residences. I've always thought the railroad station was particularly impressive. Following are a couple of photos from the Washington Rural Heritage website showing the station. Image courtesy Washington Rural Heritage, Ellensburg Heritage, TRN446, circa 1900 - 1910 In this and other photos of Lester we see what appears to be clear cut... Continue reading
Posted Jul 25, 2019 at Black Diamond NOW
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Living in the northwest, we are blessed with nature's bounty. This includes the cute and cuddly looking bunnies, squirrels and chipmunks that we so love to see, even in our yards, as well as those predators who rely on these same creatures as a staple in their diet. I didn't think that I'd ever see bears roaming around Lake Sawyer, but so they were this year, even swimming in the lake. Raccoons are also regular visitors and not to mess with as are river otters and beavers. We've even seen a weasel in our yard. But it's birds of prey... Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2019 at Black Diamond NOW
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What did it look to be logging in Sumner in the late 1800's. Yes, I said logging in Sumner in the Puyallup Valley. Though growing hops was at it's peak during this period, land still had to be cleared for farming and harvesting timber represented the biggest economic opportunity during this period. And before we had farms, we had dense forests in the valley. This is what it looked liked. Image courtesy White River Valley Museum, PO-0019, circa 1891 Look how dense and large the timber was in the valley. At least they had flat land for building their skid... Continue reading
Posted Jul 19, 2019 at Black Diamond NOW
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I recently ran across a photo of a portable substation being used by the Long Bell Lumber Company near Longview in 1929. What in the world would a timber company be doing with a substation, and a mobile one at that? Steam powered donkey engines supplied more than enough power needed for equipment in the woods. Photo courtesy University of Washington Libraries, CKK02712, Clark Kinsey photographer, circa 1929 They wouldn't be using one of these at logging camps would they? Another potential use for portable substations during this period was to provide power for electric railroads. But again, would a... Continue reading
Posted Jul 15, 2019 at Black Diamond NOW
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For those not familiar with water quality testing at Lake Sawyer, in May and August of each year samples are taken to measure three key water quality indicators - Secchi disk, which measures the clarity of water at it's deepest depth, phosphorus which for Lake Sawyer is the key indicator of algae growth and nitrogen which is of lesser importance here. All three measures are then combined into an overall Trophic State Index. Following is a chart of phosphorus sample results in May dating back to 2006. As you can see, samples are taken for phosphorus concentrations at three different... Continue reading
Posted Jul 15, 2019 at Black Diamond NOW
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How much money do people make who live in Black Diamond? How does this compare with other communities in the state? Well, thanks to Bill Kombol who passed along results from a recent study, we now have an answer and it may surprise you. First, a couple more data points. The study was conducted in 2017 and ranks the Wealthiest Zip Codes in the Puget Sound Region measured by Median Household Income. In all, there are 715 zip codes in Washington State and one might expect that the vast majority, if not all of those are located in the Puget... Continue reading
Posted Jul 13, 2019 at Black Diamond NOW
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As one might expect during a strong economy, traffic volumes continue to grow in our area. WSDOT recently released data for 2018. Following are traffic volume trends for Highway 18, the Maple Valley Highway and Kent-Kangley dating back to 1970. For each highway, I have focused on plotting traffic volumes for major intersections used by our communities of Black Diamond, Covington and Maple Valley. Traffic counts measure volumes both ways. Data source: Washington State Department of Transportation After stalling during the last recession, traffic volumes on Hwy 18 have really taken off since 2013, particularly at the intersection of Hwy... Continue reading
Posted Jul 9, 2019 at Black Diamond NOW
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Judy and I moved to Lake Sawyer in 1981. It's fair to say that a lot has happened during our time here with more change to come. To gain a better historical perspective, I put together some aerial views of Black Diamond and Lake Sawyer that date back to 1936 (see my earlier post Black Diamond - 1936 to 2017). However, to better understand change in Black Diamond, we also have to view change that has and will occur in the area surrounding us - we are not an island. Unfortunately, King County aerial photos taken in 1936 exclude most... Continue reading
Posted Jul 6, 2019 at Black Diamond NOW
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Providing food and lodging for loggers in the early 1900's was not always easy, particularly in remote areas not served by rail. With each logger burning 5,000 calories and more each day, this meant finding a way to get food to the camps daily - and it better be good food or loggers would just pick up their bag and head to the next camp. Setting up a kitchen at each camp was not always practical since camps were moved frequently. The answer, at least until logging railroads were built, was to bring in fresh "cooked" food daily via wagon... Continue reading
Posted Jul 5, 2019 at Black Diamond NOW
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What did a shake and shingle mill look like in 1900? How about hand saws and splitting axes. It was all done by hand as shown in the following photo taken of a "shake and shingle mill" on the east hill of Kent. Photo courtesy Kent Historical Society, Clark Studios, circa 1900 The only apparent mechanical device used was a donkey engine for moving logs around. In this way, the "mill" was able to move to where the logs were cut in the woods. Not sure about efficiency but certainly a low overhead operation. No need for railroads for even... Continue reading
Posted Jul 1, 2019 at Black Diamond NOW
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For those seeking to see Mount St. Helens and learn more about the epic eruption of 1985, the Johnston Ridge Observatory is the go-to place. Great trails, great facilities and wonderful wildflowers in bloom this time of year. If you haven't been there, you must go. However, if you want to avoid the crowds and see first hand the devastation wrought closer to the mountain, then Windy Ridge is the place. But you really have to want to get there. It's an adventure. Johnston Ridge Observatory is located northwest of Mt. St. Helens. Windy Ridge provides a completely different perspective... Continue reading
Posted Jun 26, 2019 at Black Diamond NOW
Thank you Bill. I am hoping to meet with Mr. Skagen next week. I also have a list of sawmills registered as businesses with the state and nothing in Ravensdale until 1900. Several in the Hobart area earlier. Will also follow up with Mr. Brathovde.
Toggle Commented Jun 23, 2019 on Ravensdale - Sawmill Town? at Black Diamond NOW
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Pete - here are two links that you may find of interest. The first was published in 1966 in the Seattle Times and the second in 1975 as the mine closed. https://blackdiamondhistory.wordpress.com/2018/06/26/the-rogers-no-3-an-echo-of-an-era/ https://blackdiamondhistory.wordpress.com/2017/04/30/ravensdale-mine-to-close-down-leaving-rich-deposits-behind/
Toggle Commented Jun 22, 2019 on Ravensdale - Sawmill Town? at Black Diamond NOW
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When I think of Ravensdale, it's a coal mining town. The Leary Coal mine first opened in 1899 and coal mining continued there until 1975 when the Rogers No. 3 mine eventually closed - the last underground coal mine in the state. Parades in town were of course a celebration of coal mining. Image courtesy Museum of History & Industry, shs16030, circa 1910 However, in Morris William Skagen's recent book "History of the Soos Creek Plateau from 1860 to 1960", Skagen suggests that settlement in the area dates further back to about 1885, well before the Leary mine, and the... Continue reading
Posted Jun 21, 2019 at Black Diamond NOW