September 9, 2013
NEWCASTLE, Wash. – The Newcastle Historical Society has received a grant to care for one of King County’s oldest cemeteries.
Newcastle Cemetery is two acres of history tucked away in a mesh of housing developments and commercial zoning.
More than a hundred years ago, Newcastle was a thriving coal mining town. During the 1880s, miners and pioneer families were buried in a picturesque cemetery near Lake Boren that has since been plagued by fire and vandals.
“You have to know were you were before you can know where you started going, in a way,” Russ Segner with the Newcastle Historical Society says.
Some markers are barely recognizable. Stone markers have names worn off, there are surviving wooden crosses for those who couldn’t afford headstones, along with circles of stones that indicate there may be another body below.
“It’s city property,” Segner says. “And the city has taken a very strong interest in the maintenance of this, and the presentation to the general community.”
A few of the graves have been traced back, like Viktor Nyman, a boy who died of carbon monoxide poisoning.
The grant is for $9,500, with a goal to preserve and restore Newcastle Cemetery. The first plan of action is to use sonar equipment to try to identify grave sites that are no longer visible.
Do to the extensive damage by vandals, the cemetery has been fenced off to the public, but plans to reopen it are in the works.