1900 to 1910

Population: 1,176
Area: 1 square mile

By 1901 the area’s coal mining operations had brought enough people, problems, and progress here to allow the city to officially incorporate.

Seattle’s phenomenal growth (nourished by the Alaskan Gold Rushes) brought about the reopening of Renton’s coal mines and an influx of new cash. The Renton Clay Works opened on the banks of the Cedar River and began producing bricks, firmly establishing the town as the “Paving Brick Capital of the World.” In 1905 Pacific Car and Foundry (later PACCAR) relocated from Seattle to Renton. Industries such as these sustained the town. Unlike neighboring coal towns, Renton was actually using its coal for other manufacturing.

In response to a vigorous call for laborers abroad, newly arriving Italian immigrants built their homes in the Talbot Hill area. North Renton was also annexed into the city.

Miners laid the foundations for a thriving community, organizing churches, schools, and the first Renton Public Library. The city’s first high school students graduated from Central School in 1904. Renton also established a municipal water supply, a volunteer fire department, and a sewer system. By the end of this decade the Seattle/Tacoma Interurban Railroad and the Milwaukee Railroad crisscrossed the town. Although officially registered as a 3rd class town, Renton was on the map.

Photo: Renton Glass Co. and Renton Coal Mine (right) with Renton Hill in the background, ca. 1910.

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