March 2, 2012
First steam engine made the Newcastle-to-Seattle coal run more efficient
The successful export of coal and the early success of this town called Newcastle are, quite simply, inexorably linked.
But exactly how the coal was extracted from deep within the coal seams of Newcastle and transported to the awaiting economic lifeline of Seattle’s shores — especially as full mine operations started in Newcastle in September 1871— was far from easy. The loads were transferred a whopping 11 times from start to finish.
The coal from Newcastle was generally San Francisco bound after being loaded onto ships in Seattle, but the Puget Sound area would get something in return from the Bay area — its first steam railroad system.
The Ant, brought up from San Francisco in the winter of 1871 to enable the transfer of coal from Lake Union to the Elliot Bay area, would be a major improvement to further Newcastle’s ability to export coal, local train expert Russ Segner said.
Until the addition of the first edition, coal was transported by a series of various modes of transportation, including hauls by mules, horses, trams and flatboats.
“Mules were the sole motive power underground,” writes Richard K. McDonald and Lucile McDonald in “The Coals of Newcastle: A Hundred Years of Hidden History.”
January 6, 2012
Maternal, paternal Italian lineage sparks interest in genealogy
In 1981, Vickie Baima Olson took a trip with her father to the tiny village of Piano Audi, Italy, where her great-grandparents were born.
The trip would change how she would come view her family, and herself, for years to come.
“We went to a cemetery where a lot of the headstones had the same last name as mine,” Olson said. “They put pictures on their graves there. There was a picture there of a woman, and I thought, ‘My gosh, she looks like she could be my twin.’”
That moment sparked an interest in Olson, a third-generation Newcastle resident, and her family since.
As a longtime humanities and social studies middle school teacher for the Issaquah School District, Olson said she’s always been interested in research and learning more about the past.
In 2000, Olson said she got serious when it came to uncovering her roots. She started learning more about her family through records, such as birth certificates, death certificates, marriage documents and others through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Family History Center in Bellevue, online and through family testimonials.
She’s even started to learn the Italian language.
October 9, 2011
The revenuers came to arrest Frank Martin’s dad in 1948.
Alerted by a disgruntled neighbor, several cars filled with federal agents anxious to find an illegal moonshine still swarmed up the Martins’ dirt driveway that Saturday morning in Newcastle.
“They tore the place apart trying to find something,” Frank said. “They searched the chicken coop, looked in the pig pen, checked the garden — they even inspected our furnace.”
The agents even questioned Martin.