Neighboring Cities & Towns
Black Diamond is surrounded by many neighboring cities and towns with their own historic significance. Many of these historically had either coal or clay mines. The Society has maintained several documents of the history of those areas.The largest of those is Maple Valley, just to the north of Black Diamond. It was originally settled in 1879 by three men who were improving a trail and brought their families to live here. The town’s early history had to do with lumber, coal and the railroad that ran through it from Seattle to Black Diamond.
You can visit these websites to learn more:
Bayne was an unincorporated coal mining town that was abandoned after the mine there closed around 1950. Visit this site to learn more about Bayne.
Originally a mining camp, Cumberland was named by F.X. Schriner in 1893 after the Cumberland coal region of the Appalachian Mountains. Although the mining camps are gone, Cumberland is still a thriving small community located between Nolte State Park and the Kanaskat-Palmer State Park. Several small mines were located nearby including the Navy Mine and the Hyde Mine. The City Hall Saloon and Eatery is a popular stopping spot. Nolte State Park is a superb camping location. Visit this site to learn more about Nolte.
The Durham mine reopened in 1914 under the Durham Colliery Co, which operated until 1920. The area consisted of the mine, a hotel, homes, bunkers and mining equipment. Mining operations shut down in 1944. From 1888 to 1944 the Durham mines produced 733,000 tons of coal. Remnants of the town are few. The foundation of the two-story brick hotel and general store do remain. Durham located in South King County WA in the foothills of the Cascade
Hobart is one of the few areas that remains with a decent population, 6,767 in 2020, and is continuing to grow. It was settled by loggersin 1879. It remains primarily a rural area. A coal mine operated there until about 1947. The town of Hobart was named in honor of Garret Augustus Hobart, the 24th Vice-President of the United States. The post office opened in 1903 and was operated in a company store owned by the town’s sawmill. The post office operates today as part of the Hobart Food Market, a convenient stop for those traveling from Black Diamond to Issaquah or to connect to Highway 18.
This are was known best for its small depot on the Northern Pacific Railway, today’s BNSF Railway. It served as a water-stop for the steam-powered trains coming through.In 1900 the NP built a 2,850 foot passing track, a 1,200 foot house track, a wye connection with the Green River Branch to Kangley, Selleck, Barneston and Kerriston, a fourth class combination station, a second class section house, a 24-man bunkhouse, a double tool house, and a box water stand and standpipe. The ornate Victorian Station was burned to the ground in 1944. It wa replaced by a round-roof box car, and after WWII that was replaced with a solid brick station. In 1949 the US Army Corps of Engineers built another station. Thus the Kanaskat had the dubious honor of being home to four stations in 90 years! Kanaskat (or Kanasket) was named after a chief of the Klickitat people. The Kanaskat-Palmer State Park is nearby.
Those traveling from Black Diamond to Enumclaw will cross over the Kummer Bridge built in 1932, now officially known as the Dan Evans Bridge, but still “the Kummer” to locals. The Kummer area was best known for its clay mines, used in paving and building bricks. The town was named for George Kummer, a ceramist and engineer for the Denny Clay Company. Read the full story by Barbara Nilson and Bill Kombol here.
Palmer was another old railroad town that originally served as a telegraph station. It was named for George L. Paolmer, a timberman. It once thrived across the Green River from Kanaskat.
Apparently, the post office located in Palmer burned and the authorities moved it to Kanaskat but left the name of Palmer. Another story says that by the early 1920s, population had declined in Palmer to the point that the post office was moved to Kanaskat; but there was so much red tape involved in establishing a new post office and closing out the old one, that the Palmer designation was retained though the building came to Kanaskat. Now residents pick up their mail in several metal boxes or have it delivered from Ravensdale. Cite.
Now extinct Taylor began in 1893 as a company town for the Denny Clay Company. It was well-known for clay mining and the Denny Clay Company both mined clay and produced clay products. A railway was brought into Taylor in 1892 which allowed the clay business to boom. The town did have a hotel, saloon and a post office called Taylor that remained in operation until 1944.
Shown here is the Denny-Renton Clay and Coal Company Brick and Tile Plan at Taylor. Asahel Curtis Photograph
Get Railroad & Mines Maps
Our new Railroads Map outlines the routes, railroad companies, and provides a detailed timeline from 1873 – 1991. Grab the map and start exploring the history and impact railroads had on the coal industry, businesses and families living in Black Diamond, WA.
Stop by the museum or download our new Black Diamond WA Mines Map. This detailed map features Mines Pre-1945 and Post 1945. Over 45 mines scattered Black Diamond providing families with work, business with customers and the country with coal.