Blake Island

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Blake Island
BlakeIslandWashington.jpg
Blake Island, as seen from the west
Geography
Location Puget Sound, Washington
Coordinates 47°32′15″N 122°29′33″W / 47.537601°N 122.492580°W / 47.537601; -122.492580Coordinates: 47°32′15″N 122°29′33″W / 47.537601°N 122.492580°W / 47.537601; -122.492580
Country

Blake Island is an island in Kitsap County in Washington state in the United States. It lies in the middle of Puget Sound, north of Vashon Island, south of Bainbridge Island and east of Manchester.

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.

History[edit]

Detailed map of showing relation of Blake Island to Seattle, Washington

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,[1] 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.

During the Prohibition, it was frequently used as a refuge for bootleggers smuggling alcohol from Canada.

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.

During World War II, a unit of the Coastal Artillery of the US Army was garrisoned in the Trimble mansion. The mansion burned during this time, leaving only the foundations visible today.

In 1959, the state of Washington made the entire island a State Park.

In 1993, U.S. President Bill Clinton invited member economies' leaders to Blake Island for the first APEC Leaders' Meeting.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Hewitt, Mark. "The Story of Tillicum Village". Retrieved 2009-09-09. 

References[edit]

  • Kitsap County Historical Society, Kitsap County: A History, 2nd edition, 1981.

External links[edit]