Blake Island, as seen from the west
|Location||Puget Sound, Washington|
Blake Island is a 475 acres (1.9 km2) marine camping park with five miles of saltwater beach shoreline providing unobstructed views of the Olympic Mountains and the Seattle skyline. There is a small marina and limited mooring buoys. The park is only reachable by tour boat or private boat. On the northeast end of the island is Tillicum Village, a showcase for Northwest Coast Indian arts, culture, and food. The island is home to a variety of wildlife, including deer that sometimes swim from the mainland to the island from Manchester.
Blake Island was used as a camping ground by the Suquamish tribe. In 1786, it was the birthplace of Chief Sealth, for whom the city of Seattle was named. The island was first noted by British explorer George Vancouver in 1792, as part of his exploration of Puget Sound, though it was not named.
In 1841, Lt. Charles Wilkes of the United States Exploring Expedition named it Blake Island for George Smith Blake, the officer in charge of the United States Coast Survey between 1837 and 1848, although it was known locally as Smuggler's Island for some time. In the mid 19th century, the island was logged for its timber.
William Pitt Trimble, a Seattle millionaire, purchased Blake island, and renamed it Trimble Island for a time. By 1917 he and his family lived there in a magnificent estate.
The Trimble family invited Camp Fire Girls from Seattle, and throughout Washington State to hold their first summer resident camp on Trimble Island, in 1920. The girls named their camp, Camp Sealth, in honor of the birthplace of Chief Sealth. They paid for a delivery of logs, but soon found them floating away at high tide. They scrambled to haul them back, and soon found themselves dealing with a fire on the island. Due to other plans by the Trimble Family, Camp Fire Girls of Seattle searched for a new, and permanent location for Camp Sealth. By the next summer the camp was moved to Vashon Island, where it remains today.
In 1929, the Trimble family's occupation of the island came to an end when William Trimble's wife Cassandra died in an accident in Seattle. After that, the island was abandoned and the house was left to decay. Trimble sold Blake Island to an investment company in 1936, and retired in Seattle.
In 1959, the state of Washington made the entire island a State Park.
- Hewitt, Mark. "The Story of Tillicum Village". Retrieved 2009-09-09.
- Kitsap County Historical Society, Kitsap County: A History, 2nd edition, 1981.
- Blake Island State Park Washington State Parks web site
- Blake Island Visitor Information
- Blake Island History Information from historylink.org
- Tillicum Village
- The Yukon Harbor Historical Society