Test your Newcastle history knowledge

October 4, 2012

By Staff

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At this year’s Newcastle Days, the city’s rich history was celebrated with the festival’s theme, Return to Newcastle. One of the components of this year’s celebration was a trivia activity put together by Mayor Rich Crispo.

Crispo compiled a list of 120 questions that highlighted the history of Newcastle. Each vendor booth had a question, and prizes were awarded for correct answers at the end of the day.

Below, we’ve printed 16 of the questions, which bring forth interesting facts about the history of the Newcastle community.

Crispo compiled the list of questions through information taken from “The Coals of Newcastle — A Hundred Years of Hidden History,” by Richard and Lucile McDonald.

Think you know your city’s history? Test yourself.


Q: How much coal was removed from the Newcastle coal mines between 1863 and 1963? 

A: About 10.5 million tons of coal was removed during the 100-year period.

Q: What made Newcastle coal mines so successful? 

A: It was good quality coal and there were reasonable production costs, as well as a good transportation system to Seattle.


Q: What was the primary destination for Newcastle coal from 1870 to 1920? 

A: San Francisco


Q: The original name of the mining area was called the Newcastle Hills. What was it changed to in 1950?

A: Cougar Mountain.


Q: When/where was the first coal  discovery made in the area? 

A: Coal chunks were first seen along Coal Creek in 1853.


Q: By the end of 1876, how big was Newcastle? 

A: There were 500 inhabitants, 250 of which were miners, and 100 homes.


Q: How much did carpenters working at the mines make in 1876? 

A: They made $3 a day with tools; $2 a day without tools.


Q: When was the first road constructed into Newcastle? What was it called? 

A: The first road was constructed in 1880. It was called King County Road No. 90, but it was more commonly known as Thomas Rouse Road. Rouse and others had campaigned for better routes.


Q: What president visited Newcastle? 

A: In 1880, President Rutherford B. Hayes visited the Newcastle mines. He was accompanied by Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman.


Q: What was another name for Lake Boren? 

A:  It was called Etta Cartney Lake, named after a young woman in the neighborhood. It was said to have an average depth of 90 feet in 1883.


Q: What did the average Newcastle house look like in 1883? 

A: It was most likely a white house, with vegetable and flower gardens and a lawn or hayfield. It was located near a mine entrance. The community was surrounded by waste dumps continuously emitting smells and smoke.


Q: Until 1886, Newcastle had the only one of these on the Eastside. What was it? 

A: Newcastle had the only post office/voting precinct on the Eastside. People from places like Bellevue had to travel by foot or boat to cast a ballot.


Q: In 1910, Newcastle served as a destination for what activity, other than coal mining?

A: Hunters from Seattle came to Newcastle to hunt cougars, bears and raccoons.


Q: What was the highlight of the year for the Newcastle miners and their families?

A: The Fourth of July celebration was the highlight. Activities included a baseball game against another mining team, races, other contests, food and fireworks.


Q: What was the name of the bar in town? 

A: The bar was named the Saloon at Newcastle and it stood until 1920.


Q: If all of the coal and waste removed from the Newcastle mines was piled on a football field, how high would it be? 

A: 2.14 miles

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