A Newsletter of the White River Valley Museum

March 2006




Recent Acquisitions: Diamond Mineral Springs Water Bottle

by: Betsy Bruemmer
Acting Curator of Collections



Diamond Mineral Springs Water Bottle
WRVM#2005.18.1


The recent donation of a Diamond Mineral Springs bottle piqued my curiosity because of its compelling design. As I researched the photograph and newspaper archives of the museum, the story of the Diamond Mineral Springs began to unfold.
Thomas C. Spaight was born in Ireland in 1861 and came to the U.S. with his family when he was 5. He grew up in Wisconsin and moved to the Green River Valley area as a young man. He initially ran a butcher shop and later purchased an 80 acre ranch for use in raising cattle. Sometime around 1904, the bubbling spring was discovered on his property located on the Green River Valley Road, 9 miles east of Auburn and 4 miles from Black Diamond. Samples of the water were tested and found to contain mineral elements that were valued in the treatment of many diseases and illnesses.
The springs reportedly flowed 800 gallons in 24 hours. Spaight built a bottling operation on the property that was run by steam power and began to market the mineral water as illustrated in this advertisement from the 1912 Auburn Argus. According to his daughter, Margaret Spaight Covey, the Diamond Mineral Springs was not named for Black Diamond, but for the sparks in the water when it was ignited. The phenomenon was due to underground sources of methane gas that similarly created the nearby Flaming Geyser. No doubt this enhanced the reputation of the healthful attributes of the water.

Advertisement from R. L. Polk & Co.’s King County Directory

At a time of increased prosperity in the region, Spaight was able to capitalize on the services of the railroads to transport goods and people. The ranch became one of the first recreational areas in the county, operating from 1914 to 1921 and drawing visitors from as far away as Seattle. Spaight built a dance hall, tents, tennis courts and a baseball diamond. The resort was also the destination of a 1915 bicycle race sponsored by Adolph Jorgenson who owned the Crescent Machine Shop in Auburn.
Thomas Spaight died in 1926 at the age of 65 when his truck collided with a Northern Pacific train at the crossing just west of Ravenswood. A true entrepreneur and well respected citizen, his Diamond Mineral Springs serve as a testament to the ingenuity and industry of the region’s early settlers. Artifacts such as this bottle serve as mementos that inspire us to honor the past and appreciate the beauty of a simple historical object.