Meet a ‘dangerous German spy’ during July 25 hike

July 16, 2015

NEW — 6 a.m. July 16, 2015

During World War I, Issaquah’s economic success or failure seemed to hinge on the activities of a man whom British Intelligence declared a “dangerous German spy.”

On July 25, Issaquah History Museums will introduce 20 people to the fascinating life of “Count” Gustav Konstantin Alvo von Alvensleben, who built an extensive coal mining operation in downtown Issaquah.

While recounting tales of World War I, von Alvensleben and Issaquah’s dark and dangerous mining past, docent Doug Bristol will lead participants on a loop walk through the scenic remnants of von Alvensleben’s enterprise.

It is easy to get tickets and register on Eventbrite at http://bit.ly/1JZebyu. Advance registration is required. Tickets are $7.50 for general admission or $5 for members. To help ensure the hike is safe and enjoyable for all, participation is limited to a maximum of 20 guests.

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Popular Olde Town Mine Hike returns March 28

March 25, 2015

The Issaquah History Museums is kicking off a new season of history hikes with its popular Olde Town Mine Hike on March 28.

Downtown Issaquah was once the site of massive coal-mining operations, and March is the ideal time to explore the historic sites. Docent Doug Bristol will lead a two-hour tour of the sites while treating participants to stories about a mining era that continues to shape 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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