Eastside Stories

Eastside Stories: Remembering What the  1996 Duvall Earthquake Showed Us

Eastside Stories   is our way of sharing Eastside history through the many events, people places and interesting bits of information that we collect at the Eastside Heritage Center. We hope you enjoy these stories and share them with friends and family.

Eastside Stories is our way of sharing Eastside history through the many events, people places and interesting bits of information that we collect at the Eastside Heritage Center. We hope you enjoy these stories and share them with friends and family.

Although the Duvall earthquake that occurred in 1996 is not the largest or most devastating before or since it is an example of a geological event which forced scientists to take a closer look at what we know about the world around us. In 1932, before seismology was a formalized branch of science, an earthquake hit the same spot in Duvall. The earthquake storm that followed in 1932 lasted 6 months with residents harrowed by large quake following small quake without pattern or warning.

The more recent Duvall earthquake struck on Thursday May 2, 1996 and measured 5.3 in magnitude, the largest quake in 30 years. It was felt from Seattle to the Tri-Cities and from Vancouver BC to Portland. The quake was shallow, which would typically ensure a lot of damage but not this time. The only damage recorded by the Seattle Government was two cracked chimneys, a toppled wall, a broken pipe and several cracked foundations. This is nothing compared to the Nisqually earthquake which came 5 years later and injured over 400 people.

The Saturday after the 1996 Duvall earthquake William Steele, who at the time was the Seismology Laboratory Coordinator at the University of Washington, warned that aftershocks were possible for days and even weeks after, just like in 1932. Today William Steel is the Director of Outreach & Information Services and still helps with informing people about how earthquakes operate and what kind of impact they can and do have on the area. The 1996 Duvall quake was followed by 300 substantial aftershocks, just as Steele predicted, that reached up to 3.6 on the magnitude scale.

This image from 1950 showing the view from Hilltop Community was originally used in a Scheffer book. This shows the land that can be so dramatically changed by geological events.

This image from 1950 showing the view from Hilltop Community was originally used in a Scheffer book. This shows the land that can be so dramatically changed by geological events.

At the time of the quake little was known about the fault that caused it. In fact, the location of the epicenter was directly between what was believed to be two separate fault lines, the East Whidbey Island Fault and the Rattlesnake Mountain Fault. The earthquake made scientists aware of a new potential danger beneath the surface. The quake showed that the fault which caused it ran north to south. This is counter to most other fault lines in the area, that run east to west.

The earthquake kicked off new inquiries into the fault lines running under Duvall. Within 3 days scientists were out trying to determine which fault caused the quake, employing all the necessary equipment including geological maps, computer-generated relief picture, and 3-D stereograms, scientists debated what the real pattern of fault lines was on the Eastside. Demonstrating how, even an earthquake that has little impact on the people living on the surface, can cause changes in our understanding of the world.

At the time, these two faults were believed to end with a large distance between the two. The Whidbey Island Fault ending under Everett and the Rattlesnake Mountain Fault ending as far south as Northbend. This earthquake launched a debate with some claiming the two faults may even be connected. The connection between the two fault lines is still up for debate, but, because the epicenter of the quake occurred directly between the Rattlesnake Mountain Fault and the Whidbey Island Fault it was determined that at least the East Whidbey Island Fault must extend further than originally believed. This information makes us safer and more prepared. We have the geological event that occurred just two decades ago to thank for making scientists aware of this geological fault.

Either way, the Eastside remains much more geologically active than the Seattle Area making our need to be prepared for this kind of disaster vital. Although there is an awareness of the danger that this beautiful landscape conceals beneath its surface it is still unlikely that earthquakes will be predictable any time soon. That is why the Washington State enacts policies to help prepare for these kinds of disasters

Historic aerial photograph of the northern end of Lake Washington in King County this shows how in spite of an awareness of the seismic activity in the area, people continued to settle in King County even after the first recorded earthquake in the early 1800s.

Historic aerial photograph of the northern end of Lake Washington in King County this shows how in spite of an awareness of the seismic activity in the area, people continued to settle in King County even after the first recorded earthquake in the early 1800s.

Photograph from 1950 this is an aerial view of the Hilltop Community on the water front. This Photo was originally used in a Scheffer book as well.

Photograph from 1950 this is an aerial view of the Hilltop Community on the water front. This Photo was originally used in a Scheffer book as well.


Our Mission To steward Eastside history by actively collecting, preserving, and interpreting documents and artifacts, and by promoting public involvement in and appreciation of this heritage through educational programming and community outreach.

Our Vision To be the leading organization that enhances community identity through the preservation and stewardship of the Eastside’s history.


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Eastside Stories: The Matsuoka Family

Eastside Stories   is our way of sharing Eastside history through the many events, people places and interesting bits of information that we collect at the Eastside Heritage Center. We hope you enjoy these stories and share them with friends and family.

Eastside Stories is our way of sharing Eastside history through the many events, people places and interesting bits of information that we collect at the Eastside Heritage Center. We hope you enjoy these stories and share them with friends and family.

In the early 1900s many families left Japan and traveled across the Pacific to the United States. These immigrants settled in areas like the Eastside and became integral parts of building the cities and towns we know today. One of them was the Matsuoka Family. Leaving Kumamoto-ken, a province on one of Japan’s most southern islands, Mr. and Mrs. Matsuoka brought their two sons, Takeo (Tom) and Yoshio (John) to Washington state in 1919 after briefly living in Hawaii.

Increased immigration around the time of the Matsuoka Family’s arrival had led to the passing of the Washington State Alien Land Law , which prevented immigrants from buying land in 1921. For this reason, the Matsuoka family leased land in Kent during the 1920s and 30s, first clearing away the large stumps that had been left by the timber companies in order to farm. This extremely difficult work was remembered vividly by both Takeo and Yoshio later in their lives. To remove the stumps that littered the area and develop it into farmland, they used only horses and dynamite. They dug holes under the stumps and dynamited them to hasten their removal. Historian Asaichi Tsushima estimates that many of the stumps Japanese-Americans pulled up were 4 and 5 feet in diameter, often taking almost a whole month to remove entirely.

Once this tremendous work was complete, the Matsuoka family tended 20 acres of vegetables, sustaining themselves through the depression with farming. Yoshio recalled in a 1997 interview that the depression didn’t hit farmers as hard as others because farmers were always struggling to make ends meet. Farming led the Japanese-Americans of the Eastside to work together with their neighbors and create the Strawberry Festival in 1925 which attracted over 3,000 people across the lake. The Matsuoka family were among the many farmers who donated large quantities of strawberries and other produce to this event.

Tom Matsuoka and his sons, Ty and Tats, outside of the Bellevue Vegetable Growers Association shed, a farmer run organization which Tom helped create in the 1930s.

Tom Matsuoka and his sons, Ty and Tats, outside of the Bellevue Vegetable Growers Association shed, a farmer run organization which Tom helped create in the 1930s.

In 1927, Takeo was also a crucial organizer of the Seinenkai (Youth Club) for the young men who were growing up in Bellevue so that they would have a place to gather. He was also among the group that built the Kokaido (Club House), completed in 1930 where men came together as a community for recreation and to celebrate their cultural heritage. Buddhist worship was held at the Kokaido so that citizens of Bellevue no longer had to travel to Seattle to practice their religion.

After their father was crushed by a horse in 1932 and died of related injuries in 1937, Takeo and Yoshio found employment where they could. Both sons continued to farm throughout their lives. Yoshio worked on a farm leased by an Issei (first generation Japanese-American) in Auburn, WA. Takeo farmed land owned by his brother-in-law Tokio Hirotaka at 124th street in the Midlakes area where the Safeway warehouse complex is now located.

Bellevue Grade School - Fifth Grade 1940 - 1941, just before World War II and the Matsuoka Family incarceration. Takeo (Tom) Matsuoka's son, Ty, is among the students in the second row from the top.

Bellevue Grade School - Fifth Grade 1940 - 1941, just before World War II and the Matsuoka Family incarceration. Takeo (Tom) Matsuoka's son, Ty, is among the students in the second row from the top.

When the United States declared war on Japan in December 1941, Japanese-Americans were incarcerated across the nation. The Matsuoka family was taken along with all Issei and Nissei (second generation Japanese-American) citizens of King County to the Pinedale Assembly Center near Fresno, California. Overall 110,000 Japanese-Americans were taken to concentration camps across America’s Western States. Individuals were allowed only one suitcase, leaving behind their personal belongings and the farms they had worked so hard to make arable. Many lived until the end of the war with very little in prison camps. The Matsuoka family was once again saved some of this hardship by their excellent agricultural skills.

In 1942, Takeo went to the Chinook area and voluntarily worked in the beet fields in order to leave incarceration. Takeo and his wife chose to stay in Montana, returning once in 1946 and leaving again for the East. His son Ty did move back much later, in 1985.

Likewise, in 1943, Yoshio requested a transfer and was moved to Hunt, Idaho where he was required to get permission to work on a sugar beet farm. In 1944, Yoshio moved with his wife and daughter to Michigan for a work opportunity. They eventually returned to Washington towards the end of the 1940s for the birth of their second daughter.

In 1950, Yoshio leased the land which he occupied until he retired, becoming known for his ability to grow the best sweet corn on the Eastside. By 1997, Yoshio (John) Matsuoka was the last Japanese-American Farmer left in Bellevue, still working his farm and growing food. It is thanks to families like the Matsuokas that the Eastside was settled. They created the farmland which made our area a resource for Seattle and led to its future development. Theirs is just one story of many that the Eastside Heritage Center strives to preserve and share.

4 teenagers, with one adult, from Bellevue on their way to a Seattle baseball game at Columbia Playfield on the 4th of July in 1932.  From left to right:  Guy Matsuoka, Betty Sakaguchi, Mitsi (Shiraishi) Kawaguchi, Mrs. Kazue Matsuoka, Yuri Yamaguchi

4 teenagers, with one adult, from Bellevue on their way to a Seattle baseball game at Columbia Playfield on the 4th of July in 1932. From left to right: Guy Matsuoka, Betty Sakaguchi, Mitsi (Shiraishi) Kawaguchi, Mrs. Kazue Matsuoka, Yuri Yamaguchi

The Matsuoka Cabin was moved to Larsen Lake in 1989. At the time it belonged to the Masunage Family. This photo shows the Masunaga Family along with this historical cabin.  From left to right:  Yeizo Masunaga, Yeizo's wife, and Mrs. Taki Masunaga.

The Matsuoka Cabin was moved to Larsen Lake in 1989. At the time it belonged to the Masunage Family. This photo shows the Masunaga Family along with this historical cabin. From left to right: Yeizo Masunaga, Yeizo's wife, and Mrs. Taki Masunaga.


Our Mission To steward Eastside history by actively collecting, preserving, and interpreting documents and artifacts, and by promoting public involvement in and appreciation of this heritage through educational programming and community outreach.

Our Vision To be the leading organization that enhances community identity through the preservation and stewardship of the Eastside’s history.


Eastside Stories: Seattle's First Railroad and the Eastside

Article by Kent Sullivan, Steve Williams, and John Tun

Eastside Stories   is our way of sharing Eastside history through the many events, people places and interesting bits of information that we collect at the Eastside Heritage Center. We hope you enjoy these stories and share them with friends and family.

Eastside Stories is our way of sharing Eastside history through the many events, people places and interesting bits of information that we collect at the Eastside Heritage Center. We hope you enjoy these stories and share them with friends and family.

Newcastle sprung into existence in the years after Federal land surveyors discovered coal just east of Lake Washington in 1862. Seattle, a village of barely 1000 people in 1870, did not generate much demand for coal, but San Francisco, a city 150 times larger, was in great need of it for industrial and residential use, yet its local source (Mt. Diablo) was nearly exhausted. Seattle also greatly desired a “cash crop” to help provide much-needed capital. The timber and lumber businesses, although thriving on the Olympic Peninsula by 1870, were slow to develop in the Seattle area.

Creating a mining operation from scratch, to get coal to the surface, was a substantial challenge—but it was only half the battle, because the coal still had to be transported nearly 20 miles to the nearest ocean-going port, Seattle. The lowlands surrounding Seattle circa 1865 were densely-forested, old-growth wilderness, with absolutely no infrastructure (railroads, roads, settlements, etc.). Small quantities of coal were initially transported by canoe across Lake Washington, switching to small, shallow-draft barges guided south on the lake, to the Black and Duwamish Rivers, to Seattle’s waterfront, but clearly, a viable commercial enterprise could not be sustained with these methods.

Doing something different and more practical required capital—a lot of it—and there was precious little available in the village of Seattle. San Francisco, by comparison, was flush with investment dollars, and its investors were definitely motivated to help the city continue to grow and thrive. Thus, the Seattle Coal & Transportation Company (SC&T) was born in 1870.

The SC&T rapidly got an operation going that would have made Rube Goldberg proud, involving transloading coal 11 times in its journey and the first steam locomotive in the Puget Sound region.

1890's coal mining in the Newcastle Hill and Bellevue area utilized rail systems to move coal.

1890's coal mining in the Newcastle Hill and Bellevue area utilized rail systems to move coal.

Amazingly, enough money was made this way that the company shut down for an entire year in mid-1873 to build a more-efficient transportation solution involving three rail segments with three separate locomotives, using a 3’ narrow-gauge system, and two lake segments, using two sets of barges propelled by two steam tugs. This system moved 500 tons of coal per day to the company’s wharf and coal bunker at the foot of Pike St., which was built by the first mayor of Seattle, was the largest structure on the Seattle waterfront in the mid-1870’s, and kept a fleet of 9 clipper ships busy transporting coal to San Francisco.

Even this system was deemed too costly and was replaced by an all-rail route in early 1878. (Please refer to Kurt Armbruster’s excellent book, Pacific Coast: Seattle’s Own Railroad for more information on this operation.) The large numbers of men (and their families) required to operate the complex mine and transportation system propelled Newcastle to become the largest settlement in the area outside of Seattle in the years before 1880.

A dedicated group of members of the Newcastle Historical Society (NHS) has been researching all aspects of the SC&T: the route, equipment, production, people, and more. Last year they uncovered the site of an incline used to lower loaded coal cars to the east shore of Lake Washington. Amazingly, part of the incline site survives today (on private property).

An information-packed presentation on many aspects of the SC&T will be given September 26 at the Bellevue Downtown Library at 7:00 PM, in conjunction with NHS and the Eastside Heritage Society. The public is invited and there is no charge. We hope you’re able to attend and learn more about this fascinating, all-but-forgotten chapter of Newcastle’s early industrial history.


Our Mission To steward Eastside history by actively collecting, preserving, and interpreting documents and artifacts, and by promoting public involvement in and appreciation of this heritage through educational programming and community outreach.

Our Vision To be the leading organization that enhances community identity through the preservation and stewardship of the Eastside’s history.


Eastside Stories: Indigenous Stories in a Land of Change

Eastside Stories   is our way of sharing Eastside history through the many events, people places and interesting bits of information that we collect at the Eastside Heritage Center. We hope you enjoy these stories and share them with friends and family.

Eastside Stories is our way of sharing Eastside history through the many events, people places and interesting bits of information that we collect at the Eastside Heritage Center. We hope you enjoy these stories and share them with friends and family.

In a place where violent acts of nature are common in the form of landslides and wildfires, and the threat of earthquakes and volcanoes are ever present, Native American stories show how these kinds of events have unending possibilities for humanity. Many Native American stories from the Eastside and surrounding areas tell of a powerful being who came and transformed the world from what it was into what it is today. Groups like the Snoqualmie and Muckleshoot peoples believe in a deity who aided people and made great changes to the earth and animals. This transformative being is known by many names including The Changer, Moon the Transformer, Xode, Snoqualmie, and Dukʷibeł. The changes and transformations brought on by these creators made the region of western Washington inhabitable for human beings and allowed crafts such as woodworking to begin.

For the Snoqualmie, Dukʷibeł (Moon the Transformer) is the son of a human girl and a star. As a baby, he was stolen away and gained magical powers which allowed him to come back and transform the world. Lake Washington and all the cities and towns around it make up the ancestral land of the Muckleshoot, Snoqualmie, Duwamish, Coast Salish, and other indigenous groups who had and maintain a deep knowledge of the environment around them through sharing skills, stories, and stories.

Snoqualmie Valley Hop Farmers and Workers, c. 1890. L88.029.003.7

Snoqualmie Valley Hop Farmers and Workers, c. 1890. L88.029.003.7

“This is the land of the Changer, the Star Child who descended from the heavens to the fertile earth and, as Moon, married a daughter of the Salmon people, ensuring his human kin happiness and plenty if they would respect the family of his bride.” The Changer pops up in other stories but his largest work was in the shaping of the land around us. It is said that he announced his plan to make the earth into a place for human beings before coming to Western Washington to do his work of creating the world as we know it today. Some animals were angered by this and deer are said to have prepared bow and arrow to fight The Changer. When The Changer came he took the arrows and stuck them into the deer’s head, making them docile and turning them into prey. Actions like this turned the earth into a place where human beings could live.

In the many stories about this transformative deity, the great changes he creates are almost always beneficial to humans as a whole or as individuals. The tribes of our area reveal their great understanding of the changes that came before humanity arrived to the geological landscape. Recently, indigenous stories have begun to gain the respect they deserve as sources of knowledge and a form of information sharing. In fact, the area of Geomythology has been gaining ground in the scientific field as stories from indigenous people around the globe prove to be records of previous geological changes. For example, the Duwamish tell of a large red sandstone boulder called ‘yahos’ that animal spirits are said to live in. These boulders indicate fault lines and areas of previous seismic violence, having been pushed up by the shifting of the earth. Fear of these rocks would have protected people from settling in areas that were prone to dangerous geological occurrences.

The story of The Changer and Moon the Transformer also teach people today about the beautiful land in Washington, west of the Rockies. By making change into a positive force and honoring the one who brings those changes, Indigenous people of Western Washington demonstrate their knowledge that even catastrophic environmental events can bring renewal and replenishment to the earth.


Sources

Beurge, David M. "Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest: An Introduction." American Indians of the Pacific Northwest Collection. Accessed August 06, 2019. https://content.lib.washington.edu/aipnw/buerge1.html

De Los Angeles, Steve. "Story of the Moon." Story of the Moon | Snoqualmie Tribe. 2012. Accessed August 06, 2019. https://www.snoqualmietribe.us/moon

Krajick, Kevin. "Tracking Myth to Geological Reality: Once Dismissed, Myths Are Winning New Attention from Geologists Who Find That They May Encode Valuable Data about Earthquakes, Volcanoes, Tsunamis, and Other Stirrings of the Earth.(News Focus)." Science310, no. 5749 (2005): 762-764.

Matthes, Whitney, Frey, Rodney, Putsche, Laura, and Tripepi, Robert. The Relationship between Plants and People: An Ethnobotanical Study in Partnership with the Muckleshoot Tribe , 2016, ProQuest Dissertations and Theses.

Watson, Kenneth Greg. "Native Americans of Puget Sound -- A Brief History of the First People and Their Cultures." Native Americans of Puget Sound -- A Brief History of the First People and Their Cultures. June 29, 1999. Accessed August 06, 2019. https://www.historylink.org/File/1506

Eastside Stories: Eastside Cities

Eastside Stories   is our way of sharing Eastside history through the many events, people places and interesting bits of information that we collect at the Eastside Heritage Center. We hope you enjoy these stories and share them with friends and family.

Eastside Stories is our way of sharing Eastside history through the many events, people places and interesting bits of information that we collect at the Eastside Heritage Center. We hope you enjoy these stories and share them with friends and family.

Cities. Almost all of us on the Eastside today live in one. We may take our cities for granted, but they have not always existed—people had to create them. States are the foundation of the country, and counties are necessary subdivisions of states. Cities are, well, kind of optional.

When Finn Hill joined Kirkland in 2011, one of the last large bits of urban unincorporated area on the Eastside came under the benevolent arm of city hall. Most Eastsiders now live in one of 14 cities in the urbanized areas and five in the rural areas. The boundaries of cities often seem to make little sense, and they sit on top of a patchwork of school and other special districts.

If we were designing a system of governance from scratch we certainly would not end up with anything like the current map of the Eastside. So, how did we end up with our current array of cities?

Cities are formed when a group of residents petition their county government. Once a boundary for a proposed city is agreed upon, residents within that boundary vote on incorporation. Residents can also vote to annex to an existing city, if that city is willing to absorb them.

In the early days of the Eastside, pioneers had few expectations for government services, so cities were slow to form. It can be perfectly fine to live in unincorporated areas without city government. County government provides basic services, and other services are provided by special utility and fire districts and private associations.

Scene on Front Street in Issaquah circa 1910

Scene on Front Street in Issaquah circa 1910

The first wave of incorporations happened in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Issaquah is the oldest city on the Eastside, dating back to 1892 (originally named Gilman). It was a coal mining town that made a successful transition to railroad work. Snoqualmie (1903), Bothell (1909) and North Bend (1909) all had their roots in the early railroad routes and as logging and agricultural commercial centers.

Kirkland, which incorporated in 1905, was slated to become the “Pittsburgh of the West.” By the time Peter Kirk’s big industrial plans fell through, Kirkland had become a good sized settlement, and it made sense to form a city. Redmond, had its roots as a timber and railroad center, and incorporated its growing downtown in 1912. The farming and railroad towns of Carnation and Duvall incorporated in 1912 and 1913, respectively.

In 1910, when the postcard was mailed, Redmond was big enough not only to have its own souvenir cards, but also a local post office to mail them from.

In 1910, when the postcard was mailed, Redmond was big enough not only to have its own souvenir cards, but also a local post office to mail them from.

Then city formation on the Eastside ground to a halt for decades. Growth was slow, as mining and timber activity wound down and few new large industries moved to the still-remote area. Some larger settlements, like those around the mines of Newcastle, disbanded. Bellevue was still just a one-street village, and the vast commercial areas of Overlake were farms and forests. Not much need for new cities.

Then in the 1950s, the Eastside sprang to life.

The new bridge across Mercer Island opened the area to large scale homebuilding, and Bellevue began to resemble a real city. In 1953 Bellevue incorporated with just under 6,000 residents. Feeling Bellevue breathing down their necks, the Points Communities formed themselves into four separate cities: Clyde Hill (1953), Hunts Point (1955), Medina (1955), Yarrow Point (1959). And the tiny artists colony of Beaux Arts Village formed itself into a town in 1954.

Eugene Boyd and Phil Reilly celebrate the incorporation of Bellevue in 1953

Eugene Boyd and Phil Reilly celebrate the incorporation of Bellevue in 1953

Then another 35 years of quiet. Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Issaquah and Bothell gradually annexed surrounding neighborhoods, but many pockets of residential area were perfectly happy with the benign neglect that county government offered.

But along came a less benign force: the Growth Management Act of 1989, which required extensive planning and encouraged higher density development. Nothing gets the attention of otherwise complacent citizens like the prospect of changes in land use, and within a few years, the Eastside had four more cities seeking to control their destiny: Woodinville (1993), Newcastle (1994), Kenmore (1998), Sammamish (1999).

In many respects, cities are the ultimate democratic institutions: groups of free citizens banding together to form a local government that will collect taxes from them and provide services they ask for. The chaotic looking map of the Eastside is the result of tens of thousands of individual decisions by Eastsiders about how they want to shape their neighborhoods. Individual cities take on the character of their residents over time and become unique places.

From chaos comes community.

All images from the collection of the Eastside Heritage Center. If you are interested in obtaining images from our collection, which has extensive holdings from Eastside cities, contact us at collections@eastsideheritagecenter.org


Learn more about the Eastside. Books available from Eastside Heritage Center include:

Lake Washington: The Eastside

Bellevue: the Post World War II Years

Our Town, Redmond

Medina

Hunts Point

Bellevue: Its First 100 Years


Our Mission To steward Eastside history by actively collecting, preserving, and interpreting documents and artifacts, and by promoting public involvement in and appreciation of this heritage through educational programming and community outreach.

Our Vision To be the leading organization that enhances community identity through the preservation and stewardship of the Eastside’s history.

Eastside Heritage Center is supported by 4 Culture

Eastside Heritage Center is supported by 4 Culture

Eastside Stories: The Fleet that Never Was

No. 10 | June 12, 2019

Eastside Stories

The Fleet that Never Was

Eastside Stories   is our way of sharing Eastside history through the many events, people places and interesting bits of information that we collect at the Eastside Heritage Center. We hope you enjoy these stories and share them with friends and family.

Eastside Stories is our way of sharing Eastside history through the many events, people places and interesting bits of information that we collect at the Eastside Heritage Center. We hope you enjoy these stories and share them with friends and family.

By Margaret Laliberte

EHC Volunteer

The head of Yarrow Bay is a dreamy backwater on a sunny summer afternoon these days, but for a few months in the summer of 1945 the bay was the subject of a lively, often acrimonious, debate. Community and civic groups from around Lake Washington squared off against each other over a proposal by the US Navy to place more than three hundred ships for safekeeping between the marshy head of the bay and what is now Carillon Point.

This largely-forgotten slice of Eastside history happened as the war in the Pacific was coming to an end. In fact, on the day the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima the steering committee of the Kirkland Commercial Club met to consider the proposal. (They supported it.)

The Navy needed a place to mothball part of its National Defense Reserve Fleet, smaller ships that could be readied quickly for sea duty. Navy planners identified Yarrow Bay, drew up blueprints for two north-south docks and received a $4,000,000 appropriation for construction. The shoreline would be filled in and the whole bay dredged. This, according to the Navy, would beautify the harbor.

The Seattle Chamber of Commerce, Kirkland officials and a few civic groups and local unions saw the chance to keep jobs as the Lake Washington Shipyard in Houghton slowed down with the end of the war. A local union official argued “It may be hard on the scenery, but you can’t eat scenery. The presence of those ships means jobs. Jobs mean that our kids will be fed.” (At first the figure going around was 2500 jobs, but later it was revealed that there might be only about 100 civilian jobs.; the rest would be Navy personnel.)

Yarrow Bay in 1936. Lake Washington Shipyard (now Carillon Point) near the top, and wetlands that would have been dredged at the bottom

Yarrow Bay in 1936. Lake Washington Shipyard (now Carillon Point) near the top, and wetlands that would have been dredged at the bottom

Supporters faced the vehement opposition of community groups around Lake Washington who feared the “industrialization” of the lake, water pollution, loss of views, and falling home values, to say nothing of all those sailors in town. Fred Delkin of the Hunts Point Community Club put it plainly: “Hunts Point doesn’t want the honky-tonks and other things that will go with [the ships] if a big maintenance crew is kept here.” The Yarrow Point Community Club sent flyers urging residents to protest to their senators, the Governor and Pentagon leadership.

Residents of Houghton, which was unincorporated at the time, felt that Kirkland and the Seattle Chamber of Commerce were selling them out. “They dropped this thing on us like a bombshell,” said Houghton resident Marcus Johnson. “I’d never think of buying a thing in Kirkland now,” said Mrs. Fred Gash. “We’d rather go all the way to Bellevue, and that’s what we’re doing.” The community had a much-loved beach park on the bay: 600 feet of waterfront where hundreds gathered on weekends to swim and picnic. It must have felt impossible to imagine the entire bay filled with military ships.

The Navy flew out two captains, one from the Navy Office of Public Information, to assess local sentiment at three meetings. The first, on Mercer Island, drew 400-500 people from 34 different community organizations bordering Lake Washington. Capt. Campbell’s patient assurances that bilge water and sewage would be safely piped ashore and not dumped into the lake did nothing to alter the vehement opposition of all the community groups. The captain asserted that the federal government had full authority over Lake Washington as a navigable body of water and could establish a moorage wherever it chose, although it would prefer to consult residents’ opinion. (He had the grace to admit that 98% of mail received back in Washington D.C. on the matter was in opposition to the plan.)

View from the northeast side of Yarrow Point, across Yarrow Bay to the Lake Washington Shipyard in 1939. The proposed Navy piers would have filled in this space.

View from the northeast side of Yarrow Point, across Yarrow Bay to the Lake Washington Shipyard in 1939. The proposed Navy piers would have filled in this space.

At the third meeting, held at the Seattle Chamber of Commerce and lasting three hours, sentiment was declared about evenly divided, though the meeting ended in some confusion as to whether the proper rules of procedure had been followed. The Navy captains were clearly weary. “This has been no vacation,” Capt. Campbell admitted. “I’ve heard some of the hottest air I’ve ever heard during my time here.”

Local meetings and debate continued through the summer, but at the end of the day, the Navy ran up its flag and withdrew. According to reminiscences of V.J. Berton, Houghton’s first elected mayor, the proposal was finally dropped because the Navy had concluded that acid in the lake’s water would rust the ships’ metal. The fleet was instead sent to the Columbia River; the Navy moored the ships at long concrete piers just east of Astoria at Tongue Point Naval Air Station until 1963.

View to the southeast from Yarrow Point in 1939. The Houghton side of the bay was sparsely settled until the 1950s.

View to the southeast from Yarrow Point in 1939. The Houghton side of the bay was sparsely settled until the 1950s.

Back on the lake, one of the most lasting consequences of the summer imbroglio was the feeling in Houghton that association with Kirkland was no longer in their best interests. In 1947 the community voted to incorporate, and Houghton remained a separate jurisdiction until 1968, when it consolidated with Kirkland. And Fred Delkin’s fears of honky-tonks was well-founded: zoning at the time was weak to non-existent. There would have been little to stop development of commercial establishments catering to the Navy operations.

The strong opposition to the Navy’s project might have surprised the early promoters of the Lake Washington Ship Canal who envisioned significant industrial development on the lake. But as residents of the growing region increasingly appreciated the exquisite beauty of the lake and its shoreline, industrial uses stopped making much sense.

Thanks to Margaret Laliberte, Eastside Heritage Center volunteer, for researching and writing this story. Margaret is a resident of north Clyde Hill , just south of Yarrow Bay. If you would like to contribute an article to Eastside Stories, contact us at info@eastsideheritagecenter.org


Learn more about the Eastside. Books available from Eastside Heritage Center include:

Lake Washington: The Eastside

Bellevue: the Post World War II Years

Our Town, Redmond

Medina

Hunts Point

Bellevue: Its First 100 Years


Our Mission To steward Eastside history by actively collecting, preserving, and interpreting documents and artifacts, and by promoting public involvement in and appreciation of this heritage through educational programming and community outreach.

Our Vision To be the leading organization that enhances community identity through the preservation and stewardship of the Eastside’s history.


Eastside Heritage Center is supported by 4 Culture

Eastside Heritage Center is supported by 4 Culture

Eastside Stories: The Homestead as an ATM

No. 9 | May 29, 2019

Eastside Stories

The Homestead as an ATM

Eastside Stories is our way of sharing Eastside history through the many events, people places and interesting bits of information that we collect at the Eastside Heritage Center. We hope you enjoy these stories and share them with friends and family.

Eastside Stories is our way of sharing Eastside history through the many events, people places and interesting bits of information that we collect at the Eastside Heritage Center. We hope you enjoy these stories and share them with friends and family.

The pioneers who built the Eastside were all diligent, sober-minded souls dedicated only to creating wonderful communities for their families and for future generations. Right? Well, most were, but for this edition of Eastside Stories we have a tale of an enterprising pioneer of a different sort.

Robert Gerrish, a board member and volunteer at the Bothell Historical Museum, has traced the machinations of a slick operator who also happens to be his grandmother’s first husband. The story—it gets a bit convoluted, but stay with it—goes like this:

Henry Rosenburg was baptized Wilhelm Henrich Rosenburg in 1852. In various documents he lists his birthplace as Stuttgart, Alsace-Lorraine and Paris. He arrived in the United States in 1876, and by 1883 he was in Deadwood, South Dakota (of course!). There he met Christina Reagan, (Robert’s grandmother) and in April of 1883 they were married in St. Patrick’s church in nearby Lead, South Dakota. In 1884, Christina and Henry, along with Thomas Reagan, Christina’s father, migrated to Seattle.

In 1885 Henry and Christina bought a house in Seattle and had their first child, Agnes. In 1886, Henry applied for Naturalization. That year he also claimed a homestead outside Bothell. Henry and Christina soon sold their Seattle house to Christina’s brother and moved in with Christina’s parents before settling into the Bothell homestead in 1888. They had had two more children, Martin and John, and all seemed well by 1889.

Henry and Christina Rosenburg in Deadwood, SD, prior to their move to Seattle in 1884. (Photo courtesy of Robert Gerrish)

Henry and Christina Rosenburg in Deadwood, SD, prior to their move to Seattle in 1884. (Photo courtesy of Robert Gerrish)

Within a few years, Henry needed capital, and in January of 1892 he took out a $500 mortgage on his homestead (about $15,000 today). Only problem was that he still did not have full title to the homestead, which he would not get until April of that year.

Five quiet years passed until January 4 th of 1897, which was a busy day for Henry. He paid off the 1892 mortgage and immediately took out a new mortgage for $142. He used $100 of the proceeds to purchase Christina’s share of the property. Christina is now listed on the deed as “Christina Rosenburg of Seattle, Washington, former wife of William Henry Rosenburg.” After the purchase was complete, Henry, now described as a “single man,” took out a second mortgage for $65. He paid off this latest mortgage in 1898, but took out yet another mortgage of $275 in 1901.

Then he disappears until 1904. Family legend was that he had run off to the Klondike Gold Rush in 1897 and never returned. But that legend appears to have been a spin to cover up the scandal of divorce in a Catholic family. Henry did venture to the Yukon, but not in 1897. He turns up in Whitehorse in 1903, where, true to form, he filed for a mining patent for 160 acres.

By 1904 Henry was back wheeling and dealing in Bothell. He took out a mortgage from the wonderfully named J.W. Nipple for $1,000 and paid off his 1901 mortgage. He paid off Mr. Nipple in 1905 and sold “All of the timber of whatsoever kind or nature standing or fallen” on his property to Woodinville Lumber Company for $2,700.

The Rosenburg family circa 1896. From left, Martin (b. 1886), Henry, Agnes (b.1885, d. 1899), John (b. 1889), Christina. (Photo courtesy of Robert Gerrish)

The Rosenburg family circa 1896. From left, Martin (b. 1886), Henry, Agnes (b.1885, d. 1899), John (b. 1889), Christina. (Photo courtesy of Robert Gerrish)

Henry would not let his Bothell homestead be debt free for long, and on February 10 th 1908, he took out a $500 mortgage on it and, ten days later, started selling it off in chunks to a buyer who paid for it one piece at a time. A month later he paid off the most recent mortgage and assigned his remaining interests to a Seattle attorney. The saga of the Bothell homestead that he had treated as an ATM, was over.

By 1908 it appears that Henry had decamped again, this time for Soap Lake, in Central Washington, where he was still listed as a bachelor. In 1915 he married again, and passed away in 1927.

In addition to the multiple mysteries of this story (why lie about his birthplace? Why a divorce when such practice was strictly prohibited for Catholics? Where did he get the money to pay all those mortgages, and, for that matter, what did he do with the money he borrowed?) is the curious way in which Henry was able to find people to lend him money on a property of dubious value (it was quite remote for that time) for perhaps unknown purposes.

During the run-up in property values and debt of the early 2000s, Americans were roundly chastised for borrowing excessively against their homes. But the Henry Rosenburg story shows that this was not a new practice. In fact, 19 th century literature is full of references to properties that were overly mortgaged.

Yes, the Eastside was built by Sturdy Yeomen tight with a dollar, but also by more than a few Henry Rosenburgs.

Thanks to Robert Gerrish, of the Bothell Historical Museum, for this story and the accompanying photos. If you have a compelling Eastside Story, contact us at info@eastsideheritagecenter.org


Learn more about the Eastside. Books available from Eastside Heritage Center include:

Lake Washington: The Eastside

Bellevue: the Post World War II Years

Our Town, Redmond

Medina

Hunts Point

Bellevue: Its First 100 Years


Our Mission To steward Eastside history by actively collecting, preserving, and interpreting documents and artifacts, and by promoting public involvement in and appreciation of this heritage through educational programming and community outreach.

Our Vision To be the leading organization that enhances community identity through the preservation and stewardship of the Eastside’s history.


Eastside Heritage Center is supported by 4 Culture

Eastside Heritage Center is supported by 4 Culture

Eastside Stories: Ferry Landings of Lake Washington--Part II

No. 8 | May 15, 2019

Eastside Stories

Ferry Landings of Lake Washington--Part II

Eastside Stories   is our way of sharing Eastside history through the many events, people places and interesting bits of information that we collect at the Eastside Heritage Center. We hope you enjoy these stories and share them with friends and family.

Eastside Stories is our way of sharing Eastside history through the many events, people places and interesting bits of information that we collect at the Eastside Heritage Center. We hope you enjoy these stories and share them with friends and family.

In the first part of our tour of ferry landings on the east side of Lake Washington we covered the north part of the lake, from Juanita to Hunts Point. Now we will pick up the story continuing around the Points.

For the most part, the public ferry docks and wharves were built and maintained by King County. Except for Kirkland, which became a city in 1905, the eastern shore of the lake was all unincorporated and county government was the default provider of local government services and infrastructure.

When a group of settlers decided they needed a road or ferry dock they would petition the County Commission and make their case for the investment. If the county agreed to build the facility, property owners would be required to donate the necessary land. Roads were usually unpaved at first, and residents would have to undertake the entire process again to get a road widened and paved.

Periodically the county would send out an intrepid engineer to inspect the ferry docks. The logbooks for these inspections are in the King County Archives and provide insight into the challenges of maintaining these critical links. At a time when treated lumber was a rarity, there were perennial problems with rot and dangerous conditions.

And as ferry service declined and then ended, the county was left with a collection of mostly decrepit piers that had been gradually adapted to public uses.

Fairweather Wharf. We'll begin just south of where we left off in Fairweather Bay, between Hunts and Evergreen points, with the strange case of the Fairweather Wharf. Where today there is an engineered yacht basin between the two points, there was originally a wetland. In 1918, after Lake Washington was lowered and the wetland more fully exposed, King County decided that a wharf was needed at this location. This required construction of an elaborate structure--the Boddy-Hindle Trestle--across the wetland, with a spur to the wharf.

While the Boddy-Hindle Trestle became an important route through the Points, linking Evergreen Point to the base of Hunts Point, where there was a school and market, the wharf was never much used. No one lived in the immediate area and more convenient wharves were available on the points.

The image shows Fairweather Wharf when it was relatively new, with the section to the left leading to the Boddy-Hindle Trestle. A wharf inspector's report from 1930 indicates that the wharf is badly rotted and that everything above the water needed replacing. An inspector's report from 1946 indicates that the wharf had completely disappeared and no sign of it remained. The inspector was not bothered, though, noting that the wharf "was in a location not suitable for any reasonable construction supported by piling or otherwise."

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Evergreen Point-Lake Lane . This pier served Evergreen Point and was a regular stop for the steamer Ariel. Its origin seems somewhat uncertain, as the Wharf Inspector of 1946 cannot find records of it having been built by King County. By 1946 ferry service had ended and the inspector noted that the pier was used for public access to the lake for swimming and boating--activities of which he approved! This location remains a public dock maintained by the City of Medina. (Photo courtesy of Washington State Archives)

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Original Medina dock . Medina enjoyed regular ferry service from Seattle as early as the 1890s, with this robust pier at the foot of what is today N.E. 8th Street, near the "Green Store" and post office. The lakefront land for the wharf was donated to the county by Thomas Dabney, one of the first residents of the area. When a new car ferry landing was built to the south, the new owner of the Dabney property, Captain Elias Johnston, went to great lengths to reclaim the land from the county.

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First Medina car ferry landing . The Port of Seattle introduced car ferry service to Medina and Bellevue in 1913, and this was the original wharf at the foot of Evergreen Point Road. This pier was left high and dry just a few years later when Lake Washington was lowered by nine feet with the opening of the new Ship Canal. The identity of the child on the beach is not known.

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Medina Ferry Terminal . Following the lowering of Lake Washington and the exposure of new shoreline, King County built a new car ferry dock and terminal building. The original dock was built immediately adjacent to the terminal building and later moved to the south as shown in this image. When ferry service ended, the terminal building became a community clubhouse and, later, Medina City Hall. A much-remodeled city hall and beach park remain on the site today.

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Clyde landing, Meydenbauer Bay, Bellevue. This pier stood at the foot of Clyde Road (now 92nd Avenue NE), which was named by an early resident with Scottish roots. It is not clear how much ferry service was provided to this location, as it is close to the main Bellevue dock. But the property did remain in public ownership and was converted into Clyde Beach Park, which is maintained by the City of Bellevue.


Learn more about the Eastside. Books available from Eastside Heritage Center include:

Lake Washington: The Eastside

Bellevue: the Post World War II Years

Our Town, Redmond

Medina

Hunts Point

Bellevue: Its First 100 Years


Our Mission To steward Eastside history by actively collecting, preserving, and interpreting documents and artifacts, and by promoting public involvement in and appreciation of this heritage through educational programming and community outreach.

Our Vision To be the leading organization that enhances community identity through the preservation and stewardship of the Eastside’s history.


Eastside Heritage Center is supported by 4 Culture

Eastside Heritage Center is supported by 4 Culture

Eastside Stories: Eastsiders Pay the Toll

No. 7 | May 1, 2019

Eastside Stories

Eastsiders Pay the Toll

Eastside Stories   is our way of sharing Eastside history through the many events, people places and interesting bits of information that we collect at the Eastside Heritage Center. We hope you enjoy these stories and share them with friends and family.

Eastside Stories is our way of sharing Eastside history through the many events, people places and interesting bits of information that we collect at the Eastside Heritage Center. We hope you enjoy these stories and share them with friends and family.

When tolls made their reappearance on the Evergreen Point floating bridge in 2011, many commuters traveling to and from the Eastside were not happy. But this was really a return to the historic norm: for most of Eastside history, it has cost something to take a car across Lake Washington.

All the early passenger steamers charged a fare, of course, and with the introduction of car ferries to Kirkland, and then to Bellevue and Medina, cars could cross the lake at a price. A ferry schedule for both routes from 1930 shows a fare of 50 cents one way and 75 cents round-trip for “light cars” and 60 cents one way and 90 cents round-trip for “heavy cars,” the cut-off point between light and heavy being 2,600 pounds. 

The Seattle-Medina ferry came to an end in 1940 when the new floating bridge opened between Mercer Island and Seattle. And as with most major bridge projects funded by state bond issues, it came with tolls. The toll plaza was located at the first turn onto Mercer Island from the floating bridge, and the toll was set at 25 cents for the car and driver, and another five cents for each passenger. The state removed the tolls when the bonds were retired in 1949.

The new bridge offered a much faster trip across the lake, and one at half the fare. The loss of the ferry turned Medina into a bit of a backwater, and the the new bridge raised the profile of the sleepy village of Bellevue.

A cheerful toll collector greets a driver heading across Mercer Island to Seattle in 1940.

A cheerful toll collector greets a driver heading across Mercer Island to Seattle in 1940.

By the mid-1950s, when the massive developments at Lake Hills, Eastgate and Newport Hills began to lure families “over the bridge and to a new way of living,” there were no tolls on the Mercer Island bridge and the commute to Seattle was an easy one.

By the late 1940s, as the Mercer Island bridge was filling up faster than planned, thoughts of a new bridge began to bubble up among Eastside leaders. Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, Congress was hashing out the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act that provided 90 percent of the funding for a national network of freeways.

States could keep tolls on existing bridges and turnpikes that were incorporated into the new Interstate network, but newly built Interstate freeways were supposed to be toll-free: Interstate 90 across Mercer Island would never have tolls, even on the new and very expensive bridge that opened in 1989.

 
Toll plaza on Mercer Island, looking across Lake Washington to Seattle

Toll plaza on Mercer Island, looking across Lake Washington to Seattle

The same could not be said for the new SR-520 corridor planned from Seattle to Redmond. It would not be part of the Interstate system and would need to be funded in-state. So, once again, tolls entered the picture. The new Evergreen Point Bridge, opened in 1963, had a toll plaza in Medina and collected 35 cents per car, with no extra toll for passengers. Commuters could purchase books of tickets that cost about 19 cents each. To encourage ridesharing during the energy crisis of the 1970s, tolls were reduced to 10 cents for cars with two or more passengers.

 
Toll plaza for the Evergreen Point bridge in Medina

Toll plaza for the Evergreen Point bridge in Medina

The ticket books led to one of the more curious criminal enterprises in Eastside history. In the early 1970s, a group of toll collectors began to purchase those 19 cent tickets and swap them for the 35 cent cash tolls they collected, which then went into their pockets. Over time, these 16 cent “profits” added up to many thousands of dollars. The perpetrators were eventually caught and a number of well-known faces in the tollbooths disappeared.

As with the bridge over Mercer Island, traffic volumes on SR-520 exceeded expectations and the state retired the construction bond early. Tolls came off the bridge in June of 1979.

It took some significant changes in state law to return tolls to the original SR-520 bridge in order to fund the new bridge that had not been built yet. And we can safely assume that those tolls will remain in place long after construction bonds for the new bridge are paid off.

Dignitaries celebrate the end of tolls on the SR-520 bridge in 1979. 32 years later, tolls would reappear, but without a toll plaza or toll collectors.

Dignitaries celebrate the end of tolls on the SR-520 bridge in 1979. 32 years later, tolls would reappear, but without a toll plaza or toll collectors.

Economists love tolls, as do government officials charged with paying for really expensive infrastructure. The popular (too popular?) Express Toll Lanes on Interstate 405 would seem to signal that the Eastside will see more, rather than fewer, tolls in the future.


Note on photos. All images in this article are the property of the Washington State Department of Transportation and are in the public domain. These images have appeared in EHC books. The Eastside Heritage Center has a vast collection of images that it owns, but also uses images from public domain sources to help tell its stories.

If you would like to display historic images in your home or business or use them in publications or presentations, please contact us at collections@eastsideheritagecenter.org


Learn more about the Eastside. Books available from Eastside Heritage Center include:

Lake Washington: The Eastside

Bellevue: the Post World War II Years

Our Town, Redmond

Medina

Hunts Point

Bellevue: Its First 100 Years


Our Mission To steward Eastside history by actively collecting, preserving, and interpreting documents and artifacts, and by promoting public involvement in and appreciation of this heritage through educational programming and community outreach.

Our Vision To be the leading organization that enhances community identity through the preservation and stewardship of the Eastside’s history.


Eastside Heritage Center is supported by 4 Culture

Eastside Heritage Center is supported by 4 Culture

Eastside Stories: Coal Mining on the Eastside

No. 6 | April 17, 2019

Eastside Stories

Coal Mining on the Eastside

Eastside Stories   is our way of sharing Eastside history through the many events, people places and interesting bits of information that we collect at the Eastside Heritage Center. We hope you enjoy these stories and share them with friends and family.

Eastside Stories is our way of sharing Eastside history through the many events, people places and interesting bits of information that we collect at the Eastside Heritage Center. We hope you enjoy these stories and share them with friends and family.

Newcastle, Coal Creek, Black Diamond. These place names in King County did not spring up by accident. They reflect the importance of coal mining in the evolution of the Puget Sound region in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

While pioneers were carving homesteads and logging camps out of the wilderness around Puget Sound, the Industrial Revolution was in full swing. And that revolution was powered by coal. Coal fired steam engines, smelted iron and heated the urban homes and factories that were coming to dominate American life. These industries and innovations were slow to come to the West Coast, but when they did, they needed a reliable supply of high quality coal.

Such supplies were found in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. Coal deposits had been discovered around the state and in British Columbia by the earliest explorers, and in 1859, just eight years after the first settlers established the new city of Seattle, coal was discovered in Issaquah. It took three more years for an enterprising miner to get a few loads to Seattle. Coal was discovered near Lake Washington—and easier transport to Seattle—in 1863, and the rush was on. This area would be dubbed Coal Creek and would be the site of mining for decades.

Mining camp at Coal Creek in 1910. (Photo courtesy of City of Seattle Archives.)

Mining camp at Coal Creek in 1910. (Photo courtesy of City of Seattle Archives.)

Scale was a problem at first. Seattle, at that time, was still a small place, with a limited number of houses and businesses that could afford coal--wood was still plentiful and cheap. And there was not a whole lot of capital to invest in mines and transportation infrastructure. But as with so many of the region’s dilemmas in the nineteenth century, the answer would come from California.

The same booming San Francisco Bay economy that was absorbing wood products from Puget Sound would absorb the coal being dug out of its hillsides. And investors from California, with piles of Gold Rush wealth, would supply the capital to make the mines of the Eastside and Southeast King County hum.

Mines began to operate from Newcastle to Renton and south into Pierce County (the town of Carbonado did not get its name by accident either). Railroads gradually came to the area, significantly lowering the cost of transporting coal. And towns sprung up, housing miners and their families, many of whom had immigrated from Europe and Asia.

 
This tramway in Newcastle transported coal to barges on Lake Washington, (Eastside Heritage Center Photo)

This tramway in Newcastle transported coal to barges on Lake Washington, (Eastside Heritage Center Photo)

In many ways, coal shaped the Seattle area as significantly as timber. Whereas lumber and logs were shipped from the anchorage closest to the source, coal was shipped primarily from the docks of Elliott Bay, helping develop the port. Railroads and regular steamship service to Asia arrived in Seattle in the early 1890s, and by 1910, Seattle was the third largest port in the country (after New York and Philadelphia) and the primary West Coast gateway to Asia. Local coal fired all those ship and locomotive boilers.

Local coal also drove one of the more curious economic development schemes in the region’s history: the Great Western Iron and Steel Company of Kirkland. With coal and newly-discovered iron ore in the Cascades, a group of investors set out to create the “Pittsburgh of the West” atop Rose Hill. This is a long story that will be told later, but suffice to say that without local coal, Kirkland might not have emerged as the leading city of the young Eastside.

The coal mines of the Eastside have been closed for decades, but the old shafts can still be visited on Cougar Mountain, and there is evidence of the old townsites and camps, if you know where to look.

Presentations, tours and field trips with EHC’s expert volunteers and staff can be arranged. Contact our education staff.


The bulk freighter Dominion takes on a load of coal at a bunker on the Seattle waterfront in 1910. (Photo courtesy of City of Seattle Archives)

The bulk freighter Dominion takes on a load of coal at a bunker on the Seattle waterfront in 1910. (Photo courtesy of City of Seattle Archives)


Learn more about the Eastside. Books available from Eastside Heritage Center include:

Lake Washington: The Eastside

Bellevue: the Post World War II Years

Our Town, Redmond

Medina

Hunts Point

Bellevue: Its First 100 Years


Our Mission To steward Eastside history by actively collecting, preserving, and interpreting documents and artifacts, and by promoting public involvement in and appreciation of this heritage through educational programming and community outreach.

Our Vision To be the leading organization that enhances community identity through the preservation and stewardship of the Eastside’s history.


Eastside Heritage Center is supported by 4 Culture

Eastside Heritage Center is supported by 4 Culture