November 10, 2015
Narrow gauge rail service was completed between Renton and the Newcastle coal mines in 1878. This 6.5-mile extension allowed for much greater production and therefore growth of the company town. Regular passenger service began in November 1878, enabling Newcastle to become more than just a mining town. It was a destination for hunting and hiking and allowed for the visit of President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1880.
Train service was not without its problems. In January 1880, 4.5-feet of snow fell in Seattle disrupting service, and in July of that year, the train was three hours late. It seems the train had run off the track because it hit a hog. The train did not suffer damage, but the hog was cut in two. In 1883, Renton had 300 residents while Newcastle had 750. Read more
September 30, 2015
NEW — 3:05 p.m. Sept. 30, 2015
There is not a single foot of railroad track in Newcastle today, but the railroads played a big part in the development of the coal fields and eventually the city.
Parts of Coal Creek Parkway, the May Creek Trail, Coal Creek Park, Southeast 60th Street and 112th Avenue Southeast are on top of original track beds.
Transporting the coal from the mines to the port in Seattle was a daunting task when production began in 1863. At first, the coal was moved via tramways, wagons, canoes and barges to docks at King and Pike streets, where it was loaded onto ships bound for San Francisco and, later, to Hawaii and Australia.
September 6, 2015
NEW — 6 a.m. Sept. 6, 2015
Early Newcastle was a coal town. That meant that everything — land and buildings — was owned by the coal company and the only jobs were associated with mining, separating, washing and delivering the black diamonds.
Conditions were hard and dangerous. As one account from that time noted, “There was a man killed in the mine last night. Mr. Oakley (a director) sent the coal car, with others in it, whizzing down into the mine. He fell out and it ran over him.”
As a result of these conditions, unions arrived and strikes became fairly frequent.
The Knights of Labor representing 50 of the 250 workers was on the scene. It operated from 1881 until 1891 and was noted for being anti-black and anti-Chinese. Read more
August 12, 2015
NEW — 6 a.m. Aug. 12, 2015
This is the third history feature installment about the historic Coal Miner’s Cemetery, on 129th Avenue Southeast, south of the Newcastle Library.
Every cemetery has many stories to tell. Some are sad, some are heartwarming and some help us remember how we have grown as a people.
At the time of the first burial in 1878, it was unheard of for whites and blacks to be buried in the same cemetery. Chinese would also be excluded. The Newcastle Miner’s Cemetery has both ethnic groups, though there is a distinction.
June 4, 2015
Did you know there is a cemetery in the city of Newcastle?
March 5, 2015
Whether Newcastle residents know it or not, March 29 is a significant date in the city’s history. On that day, in 1918, Ernest Milton Swanson was born. Milt, as he was known, was born and raised in Newcastle, and is single-handedly responsible for protecting the city’s history.
A founder of the Newcastle Historical Society, Swanson knew more about Newcastle’s history than anyone, because he actually lived it. Swanson died at the age of 95 in January 2014. In this month’s history feature, Newcastle City Councilman, and history buff, Rich Crispo recalls his favorite Swanson stories. Read more
February 6, 2015
As you line up your approach shot to the par-3 fourth hole on Coal Creek, did you ever wonder how The Golf Club at Newcastle came into being? Read more
October 4, 2013
If walls could talk, the Baima House would tell quite a story, one that spans more than a century, and includes moments of revelry, sadness and even mischief. Read more
July 5, 2013
One of Newcastle’s best kept secrets is hidden along 129th Avenue Southeast. Travel down the road nestled between the Newcastle Library and Valley Medical Center, and you will eventually come upon an important relic of the city’s past.
There is arguably no greater symbol of the city’s rich coal mining history than the Newcastle Historic Cemetery, which serves as the resting place for many of the miners.
The 2.2-acre cemetery was established in the late 1880s. King County designated it a historical landmark in 1982, and the city of Newcastle took ownership of the site in 2001.
February 28, 2013
At the 2012 Newcastle Days celebration, the city’s rich history was celebrated with the festival’s theme, Return to Newcastle. One of the components of the 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.
In our October issue, we printed 16 of those questions. Below we’ve printed 10 more of the questions, which bring forth interesting facts about the history of the Newcastle community.