WHEN COAL WAS KING: This two-story home was built in the coal mining town of Franklin in 1910.

This two-story home was built in the coal mining town of Franklin in 1910

This two-story home was built in the coal mining town of Franklin in 1910. The town was established on a steep hillside above the Green River Gorge in the mid-1880s and saw its first shipment of coal in June 1885. Franklin was a company town originally owned by the Oregon Improvement Company, a division of the Northern Pacific Railroad. In 1891, a series of labor disputes resulted in violence, causing the National Guard to be deployed to restore peace after at least two deaths. On August 24, 1894, a tragic fire claimed the lives of 37 miners. It was the second worst coal mine disaster in Washington state history. By 1910, annual coal production had dipped to 37,000, a tenth of its peak in 1903.  Assessor records show this home had five rooms, three on the 1stand two on the 2ndstory, with a total size of only 1,228-sf, including two porches. There were two auxiliary sheds and a chicken coop. Sewage was discharged to a cesspool. It was located on the Franklin Depot Road not far from the historic town site. In 1945 the home and property were purchased by Water District 66, the predecessor to the Black Diamond Water District, but torn down in 1959. This April 1, 1940 photo comes from King County Assessor records for tax parcel 192107-9019.

This Saturday, March 2ndthe Black Diamond Historical Society will conduct the first of two walking tours of the historic coal mining town of Franklin. If interested, meet at the Black Diamond Museum, 32627 Railroad Avenue at 10 a.m. to sign up and hear an orientation. Participants should wear sturdy shoes and dress for the weather, as the tour goes on rain or shine. A second tour will be held Saturday April 6th.