The origins of the China Creek name

April 2, 2015

Within Newcastle we have the China Creek and China Falls neighborhoods, China Creek Golf Course, and of course, China Creek itself. Did you ever wonder how those names came to be?

When the original mining town of Old Newcastle was established in 1863, the primary source of drinking water was a little creek to the south that began up on Cougar Mountain and emptied into what is now Lake Boren.

It was normally a gentle flow of water, but during heavy rains the creek would overflow and created a large flood plain to the north of the current lake. The lake was bigger and deeper than it is today, and also was swampy on the Eastside.

Chinese workers came into the area in the early 1870s, primarily to work on the railroads, but some came to Newcastle and worked for the mining company. Read more

Remembering historian Milt Swanson and his stories

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

Notes from Newcastle: Newcastle Trails at 15

October 3, 2014

G

Garry Kampen

This year is the 20th anniversary of Newcastle, a small city that ranks high in livability, and the 15th anniversary of Newcastle Trails, a nonprofit citizens group that has worked for parks, trails and open space, in close cooperation with the city, since 1999.

I’m writing to celebrate Newcastle’s amazing and still-growing trail system, and to encourage you to explore it and enjoy it. Check NT’s website, www.newcastletrails.org; download our latest map and trail guide; join NT by emailing info@newcastletrails.org (for trail news, no dues); attend our Oct. 6 board meeting (7 p.m. at Regency Newcastle); and consider volunteering for the board, or lending a hand with trail work, computer work (GIS, web, writing), lobbying, fundraising — whatever you’d like to do. Read more

Newcastle Trails hosts work party

July 2, 2014

The Newcastle Trails organization will host a work party July 26 to continue construction on the city’s CrossTown Trail.

The trail will connect Coal Creek Parkway across from Lake Boren to Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park. The group is essentially building the trail from scratch, so work will include clearing, culling the soil of organics and contouring the trail bed.

Read more

Art installation recalls Cougar Mountain’s coal mining past

April 3, 2014

Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park is now home to a unique land-art installation that pays tribute to the area’s coal mining past.

The project, entitled “Black Forest (29,930,000 tons),” is spread across the forest floor in the form of nearly 50,000 pounds of biochar, environmentally friendly charcoal that appears similar to the coal that was once mined from the mountain.

“It was kind of the launching point,” artist Hans Baumann said, “this idea about rethinking what the park was, and trying to reinterpret its history in a way that might be visually compelling.”

By Kate Smigiel Artist Hans Baumann spreads bio-carbon, a black charcoal often used as a fertilizer for agricultural crops and ornamental plants such as orchids, as part of a large-scale art installation on Cougar Mountain.

By Kate Smigiel
Artist Hans Baumann spreads bio-carbon, a black charcoal often used as a fertilizer for agricultural crops and ornamental plants such as orchids, as part of a large-scale art installation on Cougar Mountain.

The Cougar Mountain trails hold the stories of the region’s past, which included about a century of mining. Park visitors literally stand in the midst of history as they pass abandoned mine shafts, find remnants of carts and railroads, and discover stray pieces of coal.

Read more

New art installation recalls Cougar Mountain’s coal mining past

March 14, 2014

NEW — 6 a.m. March 14, 2014

By Kate Smigiel  Artist Hans Baumann spreads bio-carbon, a black charcoal often used as a fertilizer for agricultural crops and ornamental plants such as orchids, as part of a large-scale art installation on Cougar Mountain.

By Kate Smigiel
Artist Hans Baumann spreads bio-carbon, a black charcoal often used as a fertilizer for agricultural crops and ornamental plants such as orchids, as part of a large-scale art installation on Cougar Mountain.

Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park is now home to a unique land-art installation that pays tribute to the area’s coal mining past. Read more

Community mourns historian Milt Swanson

February 6, 2014

Family, neighbors and community leaders gathered Jan. 25 to honor the life of Milt Swanson, a titan of Newcastle history and the man with an unceasing, warming smile.

The Newcastle pioneer, born and raised in this community, spent all of his 95 years living in the same area, 90 of which were in the same company house that still stands at the edge of town near the Cougar Mountain trailhead.

Milt Swanson

Milt Swanson

Swanson died Jan. 20 after a Jan. 14 fall sent him to the hospital, where he lapsed into a coma.

Read more

Newcastle legend Milt Swanson passes away

January 21, 2014

NEW — 10:55 a.m. Jan. 21, 2014

Milt Swanson

Milt Swanson

The Newcastle Historical Society announced that founding member and local legend Milt Swanson died Jan. 20.

Swanson, who was born and raised in Newcastle, spent all of his 95 years living in the same area, 90 of which were in the same company house that still stands at the edge of town near the Cougar Mountain trailhead.

He knew more about the city’s vast coal-mining history than anyone, because he actually lived it. He worked in the mines as his father and grandfather did before him. Read more

Firefighters battle wildfire near The Golf Club at Newcastle

October 3, 2012

NEW — 12:25 a.m. Oct. 3, 2012

Firefighters from Eastside Fire & Rescue and Bellevue and Duvall fire departments responded to a wildfire near The Golf Club at Newcastle at 6 p.m. on Oct. 2.

The fire was spotted by a pilot who relayed the information to an air traffic controller at the Renton Airport, said Lt. Troy Donlin, Bellevue Fire Department spokesman.

Initially, firefighters were not exactly sure where the fire was, but the approximate location of the response was at the corner of 154th Avenue Southeast and Southeast 83rd Court, according to Capt. Todd Dickerboom of the Bellevue Fire Department. Read more

Motorcyclist dies in crash near Newcastle golf course

August 10, 2012

The motorcycle involved in Friday’s accident along Newcastle Golf Club Road rests near a guardrail. By Christina Corrales-Toy

NEW — 2:27 p.m. Aug. 10, 2012

A motorcyclist died after colliding with a guardrail on Newcastle Golf Club Road on Friday morning, according to King County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Sgt. Cindi West.

Read more

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