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Posts Tagged ‘B&R Coal Company’

Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, March 20, 2007

By Barbara Nilson

Pacific Coast Coal Co. morning shift poses sitting on electric engines and empty coal cars outside the boarding house in Rainbow Town. The coal bunkers are in the background with the small hose-coal bunker to the right of the rear of the line of coal cars. A track straightener is in the foreground. — 1909 Asahel Curtis photo, courtesy of the Washington State Historical Society, Tacoma, and Bill Kombol, Palmer Coking Coal Co.

Milt Swanson is a historical treasure. He is a walking, talking encyclopedia with fascinating tales of his home town Newcastle/Coal Creek. He’s lived on the same piece of property for 84 years in a company house, on top of a mine shaft and next to the former company hotel and saloon. Across the street was Finn Town and the up the hill was Red Town.

He said when he was a kid, his pals and him named the various areas of the mining camp. The houses on the hill were red, so that was “Red Town”; closer to him the houses were white so naturally that was “White Town” and the area with all different colors was “Rainbow Village.” (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Times, December 13, 1988

By Louis T. Corsaletti
Seattle Times Eastside bureau

One of the Newcastle coal-mine rescue teams in 1924 included, from left, B.F. Snook (the captain), George Hasku, Walter Clark, Joe Ansberger and George Munson.

One of the Newcastle coal-mine rescue teams in 1924 included, from left, B.F. Snook (the captain), George Hasku, Walter Clark, Joe Ansberger and George Munson.

It was an economic boom that lasted for more than 50 years—one that helped put Seattle and the Eastside on the map.

And it was a force that almost overnight turned this part of the Pacific Northwest into an ethnic melting pot.

Described in newspapers of the day, it was called “coal rush” and “coal fever.”

Coal. Black diamonds. Black gold. (more…)

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Originally published in The Seattle Times, May 26, 1957

By Lucile McDonald

Washington has plenty of the black mineral but its production has fallen tremendously

A truck loaded coal at the tipple of the Cougar Mountain mine for hauling to the Newcastle storage bunkers. – Photos by Parker McAllister.

Washington’s coal industry is in a state of suspended animation. Once a heavy contributor to the prosperity of the region, it is represented now by only a few scattered operations. Diesel oil, electricity and, lately, natural gas have cut off the markets.

Coal production in the state declined from a peak in 1918 of 4,128,424 tons to an average of 600,000 tons annually.

In King County, which owes its early economic development largely to its bituminous-coal beds, only five mines are active.

Refuse dumps and sealed tunnels south and east of Lake Washington, south of Lake Sammamish and in the Cedar and upper Green River Valleys attest the once-wide extent of mining within a few miles of Seattle. (more…)

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Originally published in the Renton Chronicle, August 21, 1952

Baima house in Newcastle

Baima house in Newcastle

The following letter has just been received from Val Baima, brother of Joe Baima of the B and R coal mine. We are sure all the old-timers will enjoy hearing from him, and that all the “new-timers” will feel something of the spirit which must have motivated the old mining days in this area. We found his letter intensely interesting, and are sure you will too. —The Editor. (more…)

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Originally published in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, March 20, 1997

By Jon Hahn

Ernest “Milt” Swanson didn’t want the Coal Creek area’s past to be forgotten so he converted his 10-by-12-foot hen house into a mini-museum and founded the Newcastle Historical Society.

Ernest “Milt” Swanson didn’t want the Coal Creek area’s past to be forgotten so he converted his 10-by-12-foot hen house into a mini-museum and founded the Newcastle Historical Society.

The name’s “MILT” on the hard hat he wore in the Newcastle coal mine, but his real name’s Ernest Swanson.

He lives in unincorporated King County, within spitting distance of the real Coal Creek. He’s also a stone’s throw from both the new city of Newcastle to the south and a newly annexed part of Bellevue to the north, which some folks still call Newport Hills.

Given all that, he’s got an Issaquah postal address and a Renton telephone prefix. (more…)

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Originally published in the Voice of the Valley, August 19, 2008

By Bill Kombol

Coal miner Ted Rouse stands outside the New Black Diamond (aka Indian) mine in the 1920s.

Coal miner Ted Rouse stands outside the New Black Diamond (aka Indian) mine in the 1920s.

In this photo, taken in the late 1920s, coal miner Ted Rouse stands outside the New Black Diamond (aka Indian) mine, which was located between Renton and Maple Valley on State Route 169. He wears a head lamp to light his work in the darkness of the mine.

Theodore Elmon Rouse was born December 23, 1893, in Newcastle, Washington, and died on May 29, 1959, at Renton, Washington.

Mr. Rouse worked in the coal mines in the state of Washington for over fifty years beginning his career in Newcastle. He also worked in the Black Diamond mines for Pacific Coast Coal Company and Strain Coal Company. (more…)

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