Saturday, December 26, 2009

150 years after the Coal


Native Americans have lived in the greater Bay Area for thousands of years. Black Diamond was located in the back country between three tribes: Chupcan (Concord), Volvon (Clayton) and Ompin (Pittsburg). All three nations spoke the Bay Miwok language. With the arrival of Spanish, Mexican and American settlers after 1772, the Bay Miwok way of life changed rapidly. ...In 1859 coal is discovered north of Clayton. For a time it is the chief source of fuel for manufacturing on the west coast. The two towns of Somersville and Nortonville ultimately included about 1,000 residents each and became ghost towns around 1885...From the 1860s through the turn of the last century, five coal mining towns thrived in the Black Diamond area: Nortonville, Somersville, Stewartville, West Hartley and Judsonville. As the location of California's largest coal mining operation, nearly four million tons of coal ("black diamonds") were removed from the earth. The residents of the mining towns were from all over the world, and their life was characterized by hard work and long hours. Occasional celebrations and a variety of organizations and social activities served to alleviate the drudgery of daily existence. .. ..Until the discovery of coal, cattle ranching was the major industry in this area. After the mines closed, some miners found a new career in ranching. Abandoned mining town buildings became barns, railroad ties were used as fence posts, and boilers were converted into water troughs. Descendants of original mining families still graze cattle in the Preserve.The current population of Antioch Ca. is one hundred thousand  two hundred nineteen .courtesy of the history of mt.diablo/ebparks.com

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