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Mural installed at site of Black Diamond miners memorial statue

A mural of the Black Diamond memorial wall and statue where it will be placed.  - TJ Martinell, The Reporter
A mural of the Black Diamond memorial wall and statue where it will be placed.
— image credit: TJ Martinell, The Reporter

A new mural for the Black Diamond Miners Memorial has been set at the future site outside the Black Diamond Historical Society’s building.

According to Gomer Evans, a member of the historical society and whose father was a fire boss in the mines, stated the mural is intended to help potential donors get a sense of what will eventually be constructed there. As a way to raise funds, the historical society is selling bricks to be laid on the walkway.

“Hopefully, it will pique someone’s interest in buying a brick,” he said.

Currently, the granite is being quarried and the platform for the pedestal the statue will stand on top of has been installed.

The project is estimated to cost around $80-100,000. A big meter placed next to the mural outside the museum indicated the society is about halfway to reaching its fundraising goal.

Evans said the society and community volunteers have helped keep the project cost low by contributing either time or resources. The mural, painted by Mira Hoke, is one example of this, as it was done free of charge.

“Without the help of volunteers there’s no way we could get this done,” he said. “We’ve had the generosity of a lot of people.”

President Keith Watson said the statue is expected to be completed by February. Before it is placed on the pedestal which is four feet tall, however, he said they intend to display it in the museum.

They also plan to create a miners honor garden on a small slope behind the pedestal and wall. In addition, there will be several granite benches opposite of the memorial statue, adjacent to the old fire house.

The historical society first conceived of the idea for a memorial during the summer after members visited the coal mining town of Roslyn near Cle Elum.

There, they were impressed by the town’s memorial statue and wall dedicated to its miner population.

With Black Diamond’s wall however, they intend to have not just the names of miners who worked in the Black Diamond mines, but all coal miners killed in the state.

The reason for this, he said, is because miners often moved around to find work and consequently ended up in different towns such as Franklin, Lawson and Ravensdale.

The historical society was able to obtain the names from Palmer Coking Coal Company, which had acquired them from the state.

The hope, Evans said, is to have the wall and the statue completed for the opening of Miners Day in July. Ellensburg artist Paul Crites is working on the statue.

 

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