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Originally published September 23, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified September 23, 2007 at 2:04 AM

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Black Diamond gems

Tiny Black Diamond's historic district is a great place to take an educational walking tour. Add the nearby Black Diamond Cemetery ...

Special to The Seattle Times

Tiny Black Diamond's historic district is a great place to take an educational walking tour. Add the nearby Black Diamond Cemetery — although you may want to drive because the cemetery's 1,200 graves are in themselves a walking tour — and you can learn a lot about the former coal-mining company town.

Black Diamond, which has about 4,000 residents today, had about 3,500 residents around 1900, at the height of the town's coal-mining days, according to Historylink.org.

You'll find plenty of parking along Railroad Avenue near Baker Street and in the parking lot behind Black Diamond Pizza & Deli. Put on your walking shoes.

Black Diamond Bakery

Start your tour with a full breakfast, or grab a latte in the coffee shop and enjoy it with a cinnamon roll from the bakery.

The bakery, founded in 1902, is the only historic building in town used for its original purpose, according to the Black Diamond Historical Society. The bakery served hot bread to customers from far and wide, often running out before noon.

Current owners Doug and Shari Weiding bought the bakery in 1985. They added a deli in 1989 to serve sandwiches made with fresh-baked bread, and they added a restaurant and began serving full breakfasts in 1994.

Parts of the original building are still visible and used, including the entry door, some windows and sashes, the bakery counter and display cases and the wood-fired brick oven downstairs.

For more information, visit www.blackdiamondbakery.com or call 360-886-2741 (bakery) or 360-886-2235 (restaurant).

Retailers

Leih's Gifts, at the far end of the coffee shop in the bakery building, is owned by resident Leih Mulvihill. The shop sells candles, lotions, jewelry, tea sets, figurines and more.

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The Silver Raven, a Native American gift shop next to the espresso bar in the bakery building, is owned by Cecelia Berg of Auburn. Berg moved the store from Seattle seven years ago, after she found the vacant space in the bakery building. The shop sells handmade Native American items from tribes in the U.S. and Canada.

Next to the bakery is The Smoke House & More. Owner Curtis Konoske sells smoked meats and cheeses, including steaks, pepperoni and smoked salmon and a variety of nuts, cheeses, marinades, sauces and snacks.

Baker Street Books

Book lover Bob Charles owns Baker Street Books, housed in a building built in 1884. The building has seen several businesses come and go — a general store, saloon, stage depot and Ford dealership — before Doug and Shari Weiding bought it in 1984.

The Weidings spent a year cleaning and renovating the building, which sat empty for 10 years until Charles stumbled upon it.

In 1995, Charles rented half the space for a bookstore (the other half was rented to an antique dealer who owned an antique store across the street), and he took over the entire building in 2000.

Complete with wooden floors, floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and turn-of-the-century charm, the bookstore features a wide variety of classics, modern-day novels and an assortment of nonfiction selections, including a book about Black Diamond history. One section is devoted to Scotland, where his parents are from.

The store has several cozy seating areas and a owner who enjoys sharing his labor of love with his customers. He recently added live jazz music to the bookstore on the first and third Friday nights of each month.

"I wanted to create a place where people can sit down and relax," Charles said. "I call it the bookstore at the edge of the world."

For more information about Baker Street Books, visit www.bakerstreetbooks.net or call 360-886-2131.

Black Diamond Museum

Managed and maintained by the Black Diamond Historical Society, the Black Diamond Museum opened on June 6, 1982, during the town's 100th birthday celebration.

The museum, in a renovated two-story train depot last used by train passengers in the 1930s, contains a variety of exhibits highlighting the town's ethnic and mining histories.

In the main building, the museum offers collections of old artifacts, such as the office of the former doctor for the Pacific Coast Coal Co. and Mayor Howard Botts' father, Dr. H. L. Botts, a general store, barber shop, school room, post office, vintage clothing, early household appliances, and a miniature replica of coal-mining village.

Look for the sign from the town's coal mining days: It says "danger" in 16 languages because miners came to Black Diamond from dozen of countries, said JoAnne Matsumura, archivist and historical-society board member.

The museum has several outdoor exhibits, including Fire Station 10, used between 1920 and 1946; the two-cell Black Diamond jail, built in 1910; a restored caboose; wash house; tool shed; and a replica of a mine.

For more information, visit www.blackdiamondmuseum.org or call 360-886-2142. For tours, call 253-852-6763.

Black Diamond

Pizza & Deli

Before you head to the cemetery in the afternoon, grab lunch at Black Diamond Pizza & Deli, which is decorated with antiques left by the owner of the antique shop.

Black Diamond Cemetery

The city-owned Black Diamond Cemetery, founded in 1884, sits on Cemetery Hill Road, hidden by a row of trees and marked by a wooden sign erected by local Scouts.

The cemetery has more than 1,200 graves, giving visitors a sense of the cultural diversity and tragedy that existed in Black Diamond when coal mining was at its peak. Tombstones mark graves of residents who came from Wales, Italy, Australia, Russia, Germany and many other countries.

Mayor Howard Botts says a Civil War veteran is buried there, as are many children who died in the early 1900s in epidemics of small pox and the flu. At least half a dozen graves mark those of mine workers who died in explosions in 1902, 1910 and 1915.

The cemetery was added to the National Register of Historic Places in April 2000.

Dana Blozis is a Kent freelance writer: dana@virtuallyyourz.com

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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