Blake Island, as seen from the west
|Location||Puget Sound, Washington|
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Blake Island is an island in Kitsap County in Washington state in the United States that is preserved as Blake Island State Park. The island lies in the middle of Puget Sound, north of Vashon Island, south of Bainbridge Island, and east of Manchester. On the northeast end of the island is Tillicum Village, a showcase for Northwest Coast Indian arts, culture, and food.
Activities and amenities
The 475-acre (192 ha) island park has five miles of shoreline providing unobstructed views of the Olympic Mountains and the Seattle skyline. The park is only reachable by tour boat or private boat. There is a small marina and limited mooring buoys. The park offers hiking and biking trails, fishing, shellfish harvesting, and sports fields. 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 about 1786, according to legend 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. 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. 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. Because the Trimble family had other plans for the island, Camp Fire Girls of Seattle searched for a new, and permanent location for Camp Sealth and by the next summer had moved it to Vashon Island, where it remains today.
The Trimble family's occupation of the island came to an end in 1929 when William Trimble's wife Cassandra died in an accident in Seattle, after which the family abandoned the island and left the house to decay. Trimble sold Blake Island to an investment company in 1936 and retired in Seattle.
- "Blake Island". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
- McClary, Daryl C. (July 28, 2003). "Blake Island". The Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History. HistoryLink. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
- "Blake Island State Park". Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
- Neyman, Russell (January 2009). "The 1948 Blake Island mansion fire is finally solved". Yukon Harbor Historical Society. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
- "Council History". Camp Fire Central Puget Sound. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
- Kitsap County Historical Society, Kitsap County: A History, 2nd edition, 1981.
- Blake Island State Park Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission
- Blake Island State Park Map Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission