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Diamondville got its name from the quality of the superior-grade coal from the local mines that seemed to resemble black diamonds.

In 1868, a man by the name of Harrison church discovered coal near the Hams Fork River. He built a cabin on the hill where part of modern Diamondville now stands. Realizing the area’s potential, he sought financial backing from a group in Minneapolis, who eventually formed the Hams Fork River Coal Company, incorporated in 1884. Later S.F. Fields, a promoter from Salt Lake City, Utah, took over management of the company and with the financial backing of the Anaconda Mining Company, renamed it the Diamond Coal & Coke Company.

The Diamond Coal & Coke mine workers
Eight Diamondville miners in the late 1800's
The Diamond Coal & Coke mine office workers
Diamondville view from the hill facing north. Circa 1910

Diamondville's Early Pioneers

Most houses then were painted in red.
Tipple in center with boiler house, 11 stacks and part of "shack town"
The Diamondville mine next to the river and the trains.
Steam locomotive entering town from the North. Circa 1938

Diamondville was incorporated about 1896 with a Scot immigrant, Thomas Sneddon, as the first Mayor. Most of the original settlers came from Almy, Wyoming, where they had been working in the Almy mines, which had been closed after explosions in 1881, 1886, and 1896.

Since there were no houses, the people lived in what was called “Shack Town,” shacks and dugouts in the side of the hill in proximity to the mine. About one hundred feet from Shack Town, the Hams Fork River provided water. Some of the ruins of Shack Town were still visible until the summer of 1977 when the Union Pacific Railroad Company realigned the railroad tracks.

The original town was on top of the hill at the south end of town. In 1898, after the river was rerouted, the town was platted and the valley area became the main part of the town.

The first school building was a one-room log house, later replaced by a six room building in 1915 on the same site.

In 1896, the first houses of worship appeared: the Methodist Church (called “the Mission Church”), and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The town had a school and two churches, but no store. People had to shop for supplies in Hams Fork River, northwest of Diamondville, until the Diamond Coal & Coke MercantileDepartment was opened under the management of E.M. Roberts. Later, the store changed ownership and became the Mountain Trading Store. Stocked with quality merchandise, it was a complete one-stop store. For many years after it was closed, the building was used as a wool storage house.

The Jones Brothers operated the first butcher shop from a log house. There were also two bakeries, a photography studio, a theater operated by Cal Cousins, a dress shop, hardware store, numerous boarding houses, and a grocery store.

The Daly Hotel in 1919. Telephone and power poles a new fixture.
The two story Palace Market Store, circa 1920
Bootleg raid. Revenue agents. 6-25-1931 a huge raid of 5,334 gallons.

In 1899, the Daly Hotel, a three story, fifty room building was completed. The hotel included a dining room, barbershop, and a saloon. In the early 1900’s there were thirteen saloons but during Prohibition, when such businesses were forbidden, many of the locals were active bootleggers, providing both moonshine and homemade wine.

The local jail was built of rock hauled from a stone quarry about one mile southeast of town near the mining community of Oakley. The Rock Grocery Store and the Mountain Trading Company buildings were made with rock from the same source.

Still standing, the Fire House was built in the early 1900’s, and has recently had its exterior renovated. Moved from its original location, it now stands next to the Town Hall. The Firehouse bell was stolen in 1968 and has never been recovered. The volunteer fire department, organized in 1912, is no longer in existence. It had its own handcart and about 500 feet of hose. The cart remains in the firehouse, which has become the Stolen Bell Museum.

Immigrants from many countries settled Diamondville, and each nationality had their own lodge or meeting house used for meetings and cultural entertainment. The Finns had their Finn Hall where the annual “Bobby Burns” celebration was held in honor of Robert Burns, the famous Scot poet. The Slovenian people built their meeting house called the Slovenski Dome, which was always referred to as the “Sloppy Dome”. An Italian Lodge was organized in the summer of 1900.

The Diamondville Mine closed in August of 1930, but the town continues to thrive, with miners no longer going underground, but working the open-pit mine (Pittsburgh & Midway Coal Co.), a major local employer.

Special thanks to:
The Martin Hangich Studio - Linda Shannon - Ben & Virginia Elmlinger - Calvin Cousins - George R. Walker - Jack Podlesnik - Paul Canoso -
For the loan and use of the historical prints.

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