These oral histories were collected by local social studies teacher Frederick Krueger, his students and colleagues between the 1970s and 2000s. In each interview, a resident of upper Kittitas County speaks about the ethnic, racial, cultural, and industrial history of Kittitas County and in particular the history of coal mining at Roslyn, Cle Elum, and Ronald, Washington.
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Mary Ainardi discusses her Italian roots and her life in Roslyn and Cle Elum, Washington. She speaks about her family ancestry through the Grivetta and Chaido families. She describes her family's arrival in Kittitas County, circa 1908, and their work in the Northwestern Improvement Company No. 7, No. 5, and No. 9 Mines. She describes coal mining operations on Cle Elum Ridge and the Western Miners strike of 1934. She describes Chaido Dairy and her family's work in gardening, mushrooming, and farming. She discusses the ethnic make-up of Cle Elum as well as ethnic holidays and traditions.
The cover image shows an excerpt from the Northern Kittitas County Tribune, which announces Ainardi's departure from Cle Elum in 2004.
Joseph (Joe) Andler
Joseph (Joe) Andler (circa 1914-2002) worked in Patrick's Mine in Ronald, Washington, beginning in 1937. He worked at various jobs in local mines, shoveling coal, performing tasks at the tipple, hauling timber, and more. When he began working at Patrick's Mine, his family already had a history with coal mining as his father had died of asphyxiation in the mines. Joe Andler married Mary Andler in 1952. The two owned the Freezer Shop and Junque Palace in Roslyn, Washington.
The Joe Andler Interview takes place on the site of an old coal mine. Andler answers questions about his mining experience, using the site to illustrate.
The cover image shows the tipple at Mine No. 3 near Ronald, circa 1930.
Anna Anderson Baker
Anna (Anderson) Baker (b. 1904) describes her childhood, touching on Fowler Creek School, spinning, soap making, canning, medicinal remedies, and blacksmithing. She describes life with her husband, Tom, who worked for the Northwestern Improvement Company and U.S. Forest Service. While married to Tom, Anna also worked as a cook for the Forest Service, as she explains in the interview. Baker also speaks about Lake Kachess, where she lived in the 1950s.
The cover image depicts Kachess Lake from Kachess Lodge in upper Kittitas County, Washington, circa 1900.
Eva Bell (b. August 22, 1921) talks about her family's background in Roslyn, Washington. She explains how her father took ownership of Marko's Tavern in Roslyn. She shows a stringed instrument played by her father and talks about music in Roslyn. Bell also speaks about her mother's Croatian background as well as cultural traditions in her family (bocce, recipes, language, etc.).
The cover image depicts the Owl Tavern on Pennsylvania Avenue in Cle Elum, Washington, circa 1910, prior to Prohibition.
Oliver Bell discusses his Finnish roots and his family's immigration to Cle Elum, Washington, where his father worked in the Northwestern Improvement Company (NWI) coal mines. Oliver Bell himself worked in the NWI No. 9 Mine, and he describes working conditions, the geography of the mine, labor unions, and mining technology.
The cover image features the September 21, 1961, issue of the Miner-Echo newspaper, which focuses on efforts to revitalize local coal mining.
Robert Bell Sr.
Robert Bell, Sr. (b. 1887 in Hudson Bay, New York), arrived in Cle Elum, Washington, in 1888. Bob Bell describes gardening, fishing, and trapping, noting in particular Native American activities in the area. He describes coal mining in Roslyn, the mine explosions of 1892 and 1909, the Western Miners strike of 1934, and efforts by the Knights of Labor. He speaks about fisheries and hatcheries, and Native American fishing rights. He describes local businesses, recreation, and logging.
The cover image shows Bob Bell and two women standing before the entrance of the Norris Cabin near Salmon la Sac, Washington, circa 1925.
Albert Bendzak grew up in a Slovak family in Roslyn, Washington. He describes cultural traditions, family life, and working conditions in Roslyn's coal mines, where he worked as a track layer and unit foreman.
The cover image shows a group of coal miners standing at the entrance of Patrick Mine (Mine No. 2) near Ronald, Washington, circa 1900.
Conrad Bianchetto discusses the lifestyle and traditions of Italian immigrants in Roslyn and Cle Elum, Washington, in the early twentieth century. He describes wine-making, Italian lodges, and more.
Leonard Boardman, Elmer Dalisky, and Rudy Zaputil
Leonard Boardman, Elmer Dalisky, and Rudy Zaputil talk about working conditions in the coal mines at Roslyn, Cle Elum, and Ronald, Washington. They talk about the various tasks in the mines--hoisting, rope riding, picking coal, timbering, crosscutting, pulling stump, driving tunnel, making entry, etc. They also speak about worker's compensation, medical care, accidents, and the overall life of a miner, including drinking culture.
The cover image shows a joy continuous mining machine, which was used to cut and load coal in the Northwestern Improvement Company (NWI) mines around Roslyn, Washington.
Dina Bonetto describes the lives of Italian immigrants in Roslyn, Washington, in the early twentieth century. She describes recreation, gardening, wine-making, medical care, logging, taverns, and the effect of the Great Depression in the area. The cover image shows recent immigrants holding bocce balls, circa 1900. Bocce ball is an Italian lawn bowling game--a great favorite in Roslyn and Cle Elum, Washington.
Ernest (Ernie) Breznikar describes his childhood, which he spent living near the No. 5 Mine in Cle Elum, Washington. Breznikar speaks about Slovenian family traditions, local recreation (bocce ball, skiing, picnics), life during Prohibition and the Great Depression, and his involvement with Bertello's Band, as well as his work for the Northwestern Improvement Company.
The cover image shows James Bertello's Band in 1923.
Marko Briski (b. 1893) describes his family's migration from Yugoslavia to Ronald, Washington, in 1915. He describes cultural customs, religion, school, farming, logging, musical traditions, and lodges in Ronald.
The cover image depicts pole logging at Teanaway in upper Kittitas County, Washington, circa 1915.
Mary Brozovich discusses her Austrian family origins as well as family involvement in Mine No. 3 in Ronald, Washington, and in Marko's Tavern. She explains how taverns influenced Roslyn's mining culture and how Prohibition affected this culture. She discusses wine-making, lodges, songs, dances, burial customs, holidays, school in the 1930s, home remedies, and the roles of men and women in Roslyn.
The cover image depicts the interior of an unidentified tavern in Roslyn, Washington, circa 1915.
Anne Popovich Bruketta
Anne (Popovich) Bruketta (b. March 24, 1914) discusses her family's move from Ukraine/Russia to Roslyn, Washington, via South America and San Francisco, California. She speaks about working conditions in the Roslyn mines, touching on health care, the Roslyn Beneficial Association, explosions in 1892(#1 Shaft) and 1909( #4 Shaft), and strikes in 1922 and 1934.
She mentions mining families (Jack Lewis, Herchle Heart, Babe Reay, Tom Murphy, and Sidney Garns) as well as members of the Russian Orthodox Church in Roslyn and Cle Elum (Kuchera, Bocka, Zbigley, Haverlock, Tarahomachs, Sora, LaBohns, Wasisco, Sims, Knis, Horish). She describes cultural traditions, recipes, education, recreation, and businesses in the area.
The cover image depicts the local Russian Orthodox Church in 1914.
Marie Budiselich Burchak
Marie Budiselich Burchak (b. 1917 in Ronald, Washington) speaks about her family's Yugoslavian roots and cultural traditions. She describes schooling, cooking, languages, home remedies, recreation, and religion in Ronald. She describes her father and grandfather's work in the No. 3 Mine and her father's death due to black lung disease. She describes life during the Great Depression and World War II, and speaks about the African American families in Ronald.
The cover image shows Marie Burchak with a land otter in 1955.
Michael (Mike) Burchak (b. 1912) remembers his mother, Anne Burchak. In particular, he talks about her home remedies and recipes (poltevietza, bobalika, cottage cheese). He recalls his father, Paul Burchak, and his work in coal mining, logging, and farming at Fowler Creek. Mike Burchak describes his own work in trapping, farming, gardening, and selling produce to the Northwestern Improvement Company, Safeway, and Fasseros. He describes changes in fishing, hunting, farming, and transportation throughout the twentieth century.
The cover image shows Mike Burchak with a bobcat in 1964.
Willard Chase talks about his parents, Anna White and Lono Chase, and his childhood in Garrison, North Dakota. He describes his move to Cle Elum, Washington, in 1953, where he established the Northern Kittitas County Tribune. He speaks about the community's reaction to the closing of the No. 9 Mine in 1963. He describes his involvement in economic uplift efforts through the University of Washington Community Development Program, Operation Uplift, Kittitas Valley Development Association, BPA Advisory Committee, and more.
The cover image shows owners and employees of the Northern Kittitas County Tribune, which is published in Cle Elum, Washington. Willard Chase is pictured on the far left. The photo was taken circa 1960.
Mary Chiado speaks about her family's Italian roots, and Italian traditions in Cle Elum, Washington, including lodges, sports (bocce ball), wine-making, cheese-making, mushrooming, home remedies, and music. She touches on the Ronald Still explosion of 1928, the effects of Prohibition in the area, and the Cle Elum fire of 1918.
The cover image depicts members of the Italian Leva Lodge of Roslyn, Washington, in 1885.
James (Jim) Clark describes his father's work for the Northwestern Improvement Company in the Roslyn coal mines beginning circa 1916. He discusses safety in the mines, power generation methods, and medical care. He describes schooling, recreation, and transportation in Roslyn, as well as consequences of Prohibition, the Great Depression, and World War II in the area.
Clark discusses the Civilian Conservation Corps and its efforts in central Washington. The cover image shows Buck Palmer, Mrs. Bill Crawford, Bill Crawford and Mr. McClure at the Box Canyon Civilian Conservation Corps Camp in upper Kittitas County, Washington, 1936.
Ethel Florence Craven
Ethel Florence Craven (1906-1993) was born into one of the African American families who were recruited to break a coal-mining strike in Roslyn, Washington, in 1888. Craven married a coal miner, Samuel Lawrence Craven, in 1924. Over the course of her life, she raised twelve children, worked as a midwife, cleaned a local mortuary, and babysat local children. In 1975, her son William Craven became the first black mayor in Washington state. Another of the children she cared for, Jack Tanner, became the first black federal judge in Washington state.
Craven describes her childhood, life, and marriage in Roslyn and Ellensburg, Washington. She talks about coal mining, strikes, domestic work, African American families, and religion in the area. The cover image shows Ethel Craven in 1983, after she was chosen as Pioneer Queen at the Upper County Day Celebration.
Howard Crutcher talks about his work at the No. 5 Mine in Cle Elum, Washington. He talks about having constructed a coal washer for the mine and comments about health and safety problems on the job. He explains how he left coal mining to purchase a business in Cle Elum in 1945.
The cover image shows the interior of the Northwestern Improvement Company Store in Cle Elum, Washington, circa 1915.
Regina Dalle talks about life in Italy prior to immigrating to Cle Elum, Washington. She describes clothing, gardening, customs, recreation, cooking, and other work in Italy, as well as her first impressions of Cle Elum.
The cover image provides a birdseye view of Cle Elum, looking northeast from Hospital Hill, circa 1915.
Arthur Darby and Luc Darby
Arthur (Art) Darby talks about his family members (James Darby, Ellis Blanchard, Emma Civil) and their move to Roslyn, Washington. He talks about family work in the Roslyn coal mines (particularly Patrick's Mine), recreation, holidays, lodges, businesses, and education in Roslyn. He describes the effect of Prohibition, the Great Depression, and the New Deal in Roslyn, as well as mine strikes and explosions. He describes his own work in the No. 3 Mine, including mining methods, safety, labor unions, and operations at the Northwestern Improvement Company (NWI).
The cover image depicts a mine rescue team consisting of volunteers in training behind the NWI offices in Roslyn, circa 1940s. Art Darby is the second from the right. All the volunteers were training in the use of the Dregger breathing apparatus.
Adolph Elsner (b. 1896) describes how his father immigrated from Germany to Roslyn, Washington, in 1886. He describes his father's work at the Roslyn coal mines and involvement in the Washington Quicksilver Company. He talks about mining methods, Chinese and African American miners in the area, and the relationship between Native Americans and white settlers. He discusses trapping, sheepherding, fishing at Salmon la Sac, logging, and local transportation.
The cover image shows the Elsner brothers, Rudolph and Adolph, bucking a tree at Teanaway in upper Kittitas County, Washington, circa 1930.