New Coals of Newcastle Book Tells City's History
Posted on 11/13/2020

The Newcastle Historical Society proudly announces the release of “The Coals of Newcastle, a Hundred Years of Hidden History 2020 Edition.” The new book is a complete rewrite of the original Coals book originally published in 1987 and written by historians Richard K. and Lucile McDonald. 

The new edition includes new information and research by 14 historians. It links the rich mines of Newcastle to the commercial markets of the West Coast particularly San Francisco. Geological information, mining details and the life and times of the miners and their families give insight into the shaping of the old towns of Newcastle and Coal Creek. Information is included on Chinese and Black workers who contributed to the industry and culture of the area.

Newcastle was established in the 1860s with discovery of coal just east of Lake Washington. Sale of coal in the area and especially to San Francisco established a major cash flow into our area and built a strong financial base with the wealth of California. At one time, Newcastle was the second largest town in King County.

For 100 years – from 1864 to 1963 – Newcastle was the center of a busy coal mining industry producing nearly 11 million tons of coal from a maze of tunnels under present day Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park natural area and The Golf Club at Newcastle. Ten coal seams existed in the area and seven seams were eventually mined commercially.

Little remains of the old towns and mining operation. Names of area roads and hiking areas through Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park and information signs throughout the City of Newcastle offer clues to the old mining days. Newcastle Historical Cemetery offers visual testimony to the early miners who came to the coal mines to work and provide for their families.

Russ Segner, President of the Newcastle Historical Society, said he wants to recognize the hard work of the 14 individuals who carried on the tradition of preserving and publishing the history of Newcastle. 

“We are carrying on with the story of Newcastle that pioneer Milt Swanson told,” Segner said. 

Milt worked in the mines 40 years as a miner and started the Newcastle Historical Society. He passed away in 2014. The local historian kept many records, artifacts and information about Newcastle’s mining history that are preserved today. 

The researchers of the new book used the internet and searched historical records and articles from museums to discover new information and to verify information. An in-depth bibliography and index is included in the book. 

Over 18 months in the making, the 188-page book includes new research, many previously unpublished photographs, new maps and diagrams describing the rich history of one of Puget Sound’s earliest communities.

The book is available from Amazon for $30.

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