Issaquah’s unique heritage is on display for History Month

May 6, 2014

“Every community has its own weird, wild and wonderful stories, and Issaquah is no exception,” according to Erica Maniez, director of Issaquah History Museums.

This is the fourth year the museums will spotlight Issaquah’s unique heritage throughout the month of May for Local History Month.

The organization operates two museums people can visit, Gilman Town Hall, 165 S.E. Andrews St., and the Depot Museum, 78 First Ave. N.E.

Town Hall has exhibits on display that show the history of the town; the Depot Museum highlights the role the railroad played in the town’s development.

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Join ‘The Residue of History: Olde Town Mine History Walk’ on March 29

March 25, 2014

NEW — 6 a.m. March 25, 2014

Join Issaquah History Museums history hike leaders at the depot museum March 29 to explore the mining history that continues to shape downtown Issaquah.

Get a new perspective on Issaquah’s Olde Town neighborhood through historic photos, maps and observation of the changing landscape.

The first in a series of three mining history-themed interpretive walks will showcase the mine areas on the edge of downtown Issaquah.

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Espionage and coal: Mining Issaquah’s World War I history

March 18, 2014

It was July 29, 1914. Austria launched a bomb attack on Serbia, and Russia commenced mobilization for an attack on Austria. The German “Count” Gustav Konstantin Alvo von Alvensleben was in Germany, where the government was about to declare war on France and Russia.

On that same day, in the small town of Issaquah, Dave and Ann Morgan welcomed their first child, Ivor, into the world. He was born in coal company housing owned by von Alvensleben.

File This is most likely an occasion described in a Seattle Times article from July 19, 1013, which read in part, ‘Two hundred fuel dealers and their wives... were the guests of the Issaquah & Superior Coal Mining Company at its mines in Issaquah... The trip was made in a special train of three cars that left King Street Station at 9:30.’ The article describes the procession from the Issaquah Depot to the mine offices, where Issaquah Mayor P.J. Smith gave a rousing speech. The coal company’s sales manager, J. F. Grant, replied with the interesting (if not true) fact that Issaquah meant ‘beautiful maiden,’ whereupon he welcomed Blodwyn Watkins, ‘the pretty daughter of Superintendent J. R. Watkins, dressed in Indian costume, who emerged from a stand erected for the purpose.’

File
This is most likely an occasion described in a Seattle Times article from July 19, 1013, which read in part, ‘Two hundred fuel dealers and their wives… were the guests of the Issaquah & Superior Coal Mining Company at its mines in Issaquah… The trip was made in a special train of three cars that left King Street Station at 9:30.’ The article describes the procession from the Issaquah Depot to the mine offices, where Issaquah Mayor P.J. Smith gave a rousing speech. The coal company’s sales manager, J. F. Grant, replied with the interesting (if not true) fact that Issaquah meant ‘beautiful maiden,’ whereupon he welcomed Blodwyn Watkins, ‘the pretty daughter of Superintendent J. R. Watkins, dressed in Indian costume, who emerged from a stand erected for the purpose.’

While von Alvensleben made plans to return to North America, Dave Morgan tended donkeys for von Alvensleben’s Issaquah and Superior Coal Mine on the west side of town. The donkeys hauled carts of coal from the dark, dusty, noisy and wet depths of the mines to the surface, where the coal was crushed, sorted and cleaned in preparation for shipment.

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New art installation recalls Cougar Mountain’s coal mining past

March 11, 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.

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.

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