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The Newcastle Historical Society was formed in 1978 by the mining families of the area who were interested in protecting what remained of the Newcastle area coal mining.

President: Russell Segner

Vice President: Steve Williams

Secretary: Harry Dursch

Treasurer: Susan Day

Board Member: Kai Dalton

Board Member: Malcolm Lawrence

Board Member: Ray Lewis

President Emeritus: Milt Swanson

Vice President Emeritus: Pam Lee


Vickie Baima Olson’s commitment to preserve and celebrate the past recognized by King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn

A keeper of Newcastle’s History receives the MLK Medal of Distinguished Service

For Vickie Baima Olson, it’s the memories of hearing coal sorters “shaking the black chunks into the bunkers,” and the “whooshing” sound of coal dropping and sliding into coal delivery trucks. It’s a history that predates the city of Newcastle and it’s a history she is dedicated to preserving. Today, Metropolitan King County Council Vice Chair Reagan Dunn acknowledged Olson’s effort by presenting her the Martin Luther King, Jr. Medal of Distinguished Service.


“I am happy to award this Medal of Distinguished Service to Vickie Baima Olson,” said Dunn. “Vickie’s tireless work to capture the history of Newcastle is not only admirable but reminds us all the value of preserving the past for future generations.”

“Vickie Baima Olson has worked tirelessly to keep the history of Newcastle alive,” said Newcastle Mayor Rich Crispo. “Using her personal background of growing up in town, she has researched many former residents and concluded by becoming the most knowledgeable docent for our miner’s cemetery. Her drive to restore and maintain the cemetery is exemplary, and her tours on Memorial Day and Newcastle Days are very informative.”

Before it was a city, the community around Newcastle was the location of one of the last working coal mines in the region. It’s also the home of one oldest cemeteries in King County, the last resting place of the immigrants who help bring the coal from the ground. It’s where Olson’s Grandparents, Grandfather Bernardo Baima and Grandmother Andriena Rubat-Borelle are buried.

Olson says the “old-timers” would take time to help maintain and preserve the cemetery, cutting the grass, tending and repairing the gravestones. Olson’s father would give tours of the historic cemetery and after retiring from the Issaquah School District, Vickie Baima Olson decided to carry on her father’s legacy.

After completing her teaching degree at Western Washington University, Vickie returned to her Alma Mater; teaching in the Issaquah School District. In 1978 Olson joined a group of ambitious volunteers eager to keep Newcastle’s history alive and created the Newcastle Historical Society, of which she currently serves as Vice President.

“My work with the Newcastle Historical Society is to raise awareness of the rich history of Newcastle,” said Olson. “Conducting tours of the crumbling cemetery and telling stories of the lives of the men women and children buried there are part of my duty. I would like to thank Councilmember Dunn for this acknowledgement and extend an invitation to anyone who may be interested in attending a historic tour to join me this coming Memorial Day.”

Olson retired from teaching at the Issaquah School District in 2000, but acknowledges that while she may be retired, her teaching career is not yet finished. Her work for the Newcastle Historical Society includes presenting informative hikes, lectures, and hands on displays educating the public on Newcastle’s local history.

Olson not only provides tours of the cemetery, but researches the people who are buried there to help connect “old” Newcastle to the growing number of people who now call the city home. Since 2013 Olson has organized and led numerous volunteer restoration efforts of the historic cemetery and provided guided tours of the historic Newcastle Cemetery on Memorial Day and during Newcastle Days. She also provides educational outreach, and has spoken about her work at the Dante Alighieri Society in Seattle, the Renton Museum, and the Newcastle Library.

Olson is working with city officials in developing a long-range plan to preserve the space, turning the cemetery into a park-like setting where visitors can enjoy the “beauty and peacefulness.” She currently lives with her husband, David in rural King County where they enjoy hosting family and friends at their annual water-slide party.

Olson is one of nine citizens living across King County whose contributions to their community echo the incredible selfless leadership of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The MLK Medal of Distinguished Service recognizes those who have gone above and beyond in their efforts to make a difference in communities across King County.


Get a hold of us with any questions you may have.

3 Responses

  1. Laura Fouts
    Laura Fouts June 11, 2019 at 2:35 pm | | Reply

    Hello! I’ve taken my kids on the Coal Creek Trail twice now, and they’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading the signs and learning about our Coal Mining history. I heard there were a couple events this summer that involve opening a coal mine for the public. Is this true, and when does this happen? Thank you for any/all information!

    Laura Fouts

  2. Caleb King
    Caleb King July 19, 2019 at 2:34 pm | | Reply


    I am a member of a local Boy Scout troop and I am looking to do my eagle scout service project. I was thinking of working on the Newcastle cemetery. I would like to know if there is work that needs to be done (I.e. weeding, cleaning, documentation, etc.).

    Caleb King (425-463-8178)

    (you’re Send Message function is not working)

  3. Richard Kennedy
    Richard Kennedy November 14, 2022 at 10:24 pm | | Reply

    I am writing you in my capacity as the President of the Des Moines Historical Society (DMHS), a Washington State non-profit corporation that is recognized under §501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

    The DMHS is involved in a project to digitize over 60 years of our local newspaper. I see that your local newspaper has been digitized and placed online. I would greatly appreciate receiving scans or photos of the promotional materials used in your fundraising campaign. Thank you in advance for your assistance.

    — Richard T. Kennedy, President
    — Des Moines Historical Society
    — PO Box 98055
    — Des Moines, WA 98198-0055

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