Test your Newcastle history knowledge — Part 4
December 4, 2013
The city of Newcastle is home to a rich coal-mining history that is celebrated at every Newcastle Days.
In 2012, Mayor Rich 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 a few of the questions, which highlight 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: What were the biggest years of coal production in Newcastle?
A: The mines produced 305,000 tons of coal in 1916, 368,000 tons in 1917 and 325,000 tons in 1918. The increase in these years was due to the energy needs during World War I.
Q: What event in 1900 signaled the general decline of the Pacific Northwest coal industry?
A: The completion of the trans-continental railroad allowed cheaper coal to come from the Rocky Mountain states and British Columbia.
Q: How was coal moved from Newcastle to Seattle in the early days?
A: A wagon transported it over Newport Hills to Lake Washington, and then a barge took it to Leschi and another wagon got it to Seattle.
Q: What was “Little Seattle’s” role at the Newcastle mines?
A: “Little Seattle” was a coal-burning engine that hauled coal out of the mines to the bunkers. The locomotive was 12 feet long and 4 1/2 feet high. It made 14 to 16 trips a day hauling 30 coal cars, each carrying at least 1 ton of coal when loaded.
Q: In 1910, the train from Seattle made two trips a day. Where did it stop and how long did it take?
A: The train stopped at Renton, Kennydale, Newcastle and Coal Creek. The 3 p.m. arrived in Newcastle at 4:40 p.m. and the 6:20 p.m. arrived at 7:20 p.m.
Q: What happened to the railroad between Seattle and Newcastle starting in 1925?
A: In 1925, passenger service was discontinued and in 1930, all service was stopped. The line was officially abandoned in 1933 and the rails were pulled up in 1937.
Q: When was the cemetery established?
A: It was established in 1879. It took an entire day for a funeral procession to make the round trip from the company town to the cemetery. Mourners traveled a total of 8 miles to and from the grave sites.
Q: What was the coal company sport in 1922?
A: Each mine had at least one baseball team. They played against other mines as far north as Nanaimo, British Columbia, and as far east as Roslyn.
Q: Each part of the company coal town had different names. How did Red Town, Finn Town and Rainbow Town get their names?
A: Red Town had all buildings painted the same color, red; Rainbow Town had buildings of any color; and Finn Town was populated with the Finnish workers. Today, there are trails in Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park named after the Red and Rainbow towns.