How to mine history with hikes

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Categories: News


AKCHO President Alice Stenstrom opens the AKCHO membership meeting at the Issaquah Depot.

The Issaquah History Museums, one of the historical organizations that had received recognition earlier this year at the 2018 AKCHO Awards Program for its mining history hikes, hosted the June AKCHO membership meeting at its restored Issaquah Depot facility.

Doug Bristol, a docent at the IHM since 2012, regaled nearly 20 AKCHO members with stories from Issaquah’s mining history before leading the group on a short tour to the entrance of a Squak Mountain mine. 

Bristol noted that the “Issaquah Alps” range is 50 million years old – older than the Cascade Mountains by several million years. This cluster of foothills (comprised of Cougar Mountain, Squak Mountain, Tiger Mountain, Taylor Mountain, Rattlesnake Ridge and Rattlesnake Mountain) is one of only two east-west trending mountain ranges on the West Coast – the other is the Siskiyous. 

Doug Bristol leads AKCHO members on a hike through Issaquah to an historic mine entrance.

By 1862, settlers were aware that coal was plentiful in the local foothills, but it wasn’t until the railroad arrived in 1888 that it became financially feasible to convey the coal to Seattle. Over the next several years, Issaquah went from boom to bust and back to boom again. Mining ceased after World War II, but the opening of the Lacey V. Murrow floating bridge across Lake Washington in 1940 helped turned Issaquah into a bedroom community to Seattle.

As the town grew, it was built over mines that had been dug tens of hundreds of feet below the surface. Bristol said that because the mines were built with rot- and insect-resistant cedar beams, the mines have held up well for a century or more, but the recent appearance of a few sinkholes around town suggests that even cedar has its limits.

As AKCHO members headed out into the cool but sunny June morning to thread their way through the streets of downtown Issaquah and past the salmon fishery on their short hike to the mine entrance, Bristol paused periodically to point out areas such as the library parking garage which had to engage in special mitigation in order to avoid slumping caused by the mines deep below. 

This is just one of several popular hikes offered by the Issaquah History Museums throughout the year. For more information on the hikes, visit www.issaquahhistory.org.


ABOUT THIS NEWSLETTER

Heritage Advisor is published by the Association of King County Historical Organizations as a service to members and those who support its mission. We update our website continually throughout the month, and on the first of every month we e-mail a condensed version of Heritage Advisor to our mailing list – you can subscribe to this service by filling out the requested information in the right sidebar on this page.

AKCHO was established in 1977 to encourage cooperation among historical organizations; promote and encourage the study and preservation of the history and heritage of King County through member organizations, individual members, and the community they serve; and support such preservation efforts through public awareness and understanding of legislative issues.

The Heritage Advisor welcomes submissions of news items, calendar items, and opinion columns from AKCHO members, HA subscribers, and readers. Articles are limited to 300 words and they should have a strong relevance to historic preservation and heritage issues in King County, Washington. Submission of an article does not guarantee publication. AKCHO does not pay for published submissions. All articles are subject to review by AKCHO staff. Please send your article within the body of an email (no attachments, please) to heritageadvisor@akcho.org.

AKCHO welcomes new members year round. Individual memberships are $25, and we have a three-tiered system for organizational memberships, with dues dependent on budget size. For more information and an application form, visit http://www.akcho.org/members.

More than 150 individuals and organizations support heritage work and historic preservation in King County, thanks to their membership in AKCHO. Please join us!


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AKCHO was established to encourage cooperation among historical organizations and to promote and encourage the study and preservation of the history and heritage of King County through member organizations, individual members, and the community they serve, and to support such preservation efforts through public awareness and understanding of legislative issues.

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