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Renton Info Bytes

The Duwamish Indians inhabited a village in the current location of Renton long before white settlers arrived in the region. The White and Black Rivers converged into the Duwamish River, which flowed north towards Seattle. At this time these rivers were avenues and, as such important resources.

A man named Henry Tobin made his way up the Duwamish River and after seeing the convergence of the rivers staked his claim in 1853. This area provided the possibility for many different business opportunities and the running waters were the ideal location for a mill.

A man named Dr. R. Bigelow moved in nest to Mr. Tobin and quickly located coal on his land. Mr. Bigelow and Mr. Tobin were soon in business and built a lumber mill in order to provide timber for the mines.

It wasnít long before the arrival of numerous white settlers in the area wreaked havoc the way of life of the Native Indians, although they were very interested in the mill at first. Some tribes of these Native Indians started to fight back, which resulted in the Indian Wars. During 1855, these Indian Wars only lasted for a few months and resulted with all the Indians in the region being resentful. The settlers were driven away and the mill was burned down during the short Indian Wars. Mr. Bigelow left the area and Mr. Tobin died. Somebody else would have to cultivate their dreams of success.

A man named Erasmus Smithers, who was a landowner in the area, met the widow of Mr. Tobin, named Diana, and Diana still owned the claim that her late husband had made. They wound up owning almost 500 acres of land after falling in love and marrying. Additional settlers started relocating to the region, and Mr. Smithers filed for the first plat for the community of Renton.

Captain William Renton, who, some years earlier, had established the Renton Coal Company, is the namesake of the community. Mr. Smithers sold the mine to Captain Renton, who had the financial resourced and backing to expand it even further.

Renton was a hub for the railroad by the late 1800ís. Renton was also a commercial community as a result of the productive agricultural land in the river valleys. Other industries included lumber mills, a glass making plant, a cigar factory, and tile and brick plants. In many ways, Renton was a very prosperous community by the early 1900ís.

The year 1901 brought the incorporation of the community. Earlier, as a result of all of the heavy industry, the community didnít have any churches but did have nine saloons in 1885. Incorporation led to a more civilized and organized community, and by 1910 the community had a bank, an icehouse, a bottle factory, a bank, newspapers, schools, and churches.

In 1916, there was a topographical change in Renton. The Montlake Cut was completed and provided a canal between Lake Union and Lake Washington. The water level in Lake Washington dropped approximately nine feet, which resulted in the drying up of the Black River. The year 1941 saw the largest success in Renton when The Boeing Company introduced the Boeing plant in Renton. This plant was producing B 29 bombers at a rate of six every day during WW II.

Following WW II, the soldiers came back home and took over the jobs the women had been working during the war. Boeing started developing jet transportation and federal funding was providing with millions of dollars for infrastructure work, street repairs, and housing. Renton was ready to meet the challenge by the time Boeing was entering the jet age.

These days the industries in Renton such Boeing are providing numerous dollars for the local economy. Renton is sometimes considered the jet capital of the world. During the past century, Renton has transformed into a hub of rails and roads and into the sky from a confluence of waterways.

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