Location within King county
|• Total||37.0 sq mi (95.8 km2)|
|• Density||290/sq mi (110/km2)|
|Time zone||Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)|
|• Summer (DST)||PDT (UTC-7)|
|GNIS feature ID||1512758|
Vashon is a census-designated place (CDP) in King County, Washington, United States. It covers an island alternately called Vashon Island or Vashon-Maury Island, the largest island in Puget Sound south of Admiralty Inlet. The population was 10,624 at the 2010 census and the size is 37 square miles (96 km2), slightly larger than Manhattan. There are no bridges to connect the island with the mainland, a big factor contributing to the island's relative isolation and rural character.
There is evidence of human activity on Vashon Island dating back to the last 10-12,000 years. Some of the Native peoples known to have lived on Vashon Island were the Marpole from about 7,000 years ago, the Salish about 1,000 years ago and the S'Homamish starting about 500 years ago.
The island was named on May 28, 1792, by the explorer George Vancouver after his friend James Vashon of the Royal Navy. Starting in 1824, different explorer and settler groups stayed on Vashon Island. The first logging on the island began in 1852. By 1855-1856, the S'Homamish people were interned at Fox Island. European-Americans settled Vashon Island between 1865-1890. During that time the main economies on the island were fishing and logging.
In 1890, Vashon Islanders started growing strawberries for sale. This became an important part of the Island economy during the next fifty years. In 1892, Vashon College opened in the Burton neighborhood on Vashon. During its operation, it was one of the leading colleges in the area. It later burned down in 1910.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 37.0 square miles (95.8 km²).
This region experiences warm (but not hot) and dry summers, with no average monthly temperatures above 71.6 °F. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Vashon has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate, abbreviated "Csb" on climate maps.
As of the census of 2000, there were 10,123 people, 4,193 households, and 2,838 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 273.9 people per square mile (105.7/km²). There were 4,867 housing units at an average density of 131.7/sq mi (50.8/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 93.61% White, 0.45% Black or African American, 0.70% Native American, 1.56% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.87% from other races, and 2.75% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.56% of the population.
There were 4,193 households out of which 30.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.2% were married couples living together, 7.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.3% were non-families. 23.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 2.86.
In the CDP the population was spread out with 23.2% under the age of 18, 4.6% from 18 to 24, 25.1% from 25 to 44, 34.0% from 45 to 64, and 13.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females there were 94.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.0 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $58,261, and the median income for a family was $67,010. Males had a median income of $50,201 versus $36,426 for females. The per capita income for the island was $31,983. About 4.6% of families and 6.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.2% of those under the age of 18 and 2.2% of those 65 and older.
Based on per capita income, Vashon ranks 32nd of 522 areas in the state of Washington to be ranked.
The economy of Vashon Island is heavily based on residents commuting to Seattle and Tacoma. While orchards and strawberry farms formerly played a major role in the Vashon economy, the pressures of suburban residential development have all but eliminated any major commercial agriculture on the island. Many small farms operate on the island, providing locals with fresh organic produce, milk, and eggs. Despite the changes, the island continues to observe the tradition of holding a strawberry festival every July. In certain areas like Dockton a majority of current property owned was occupied and consequently seized from Japanese-American citizens who farmed strawberries on that land until WW2 where they were moved to internment camps.
Vashon's economy took another hit in recent years when it lost two of its major industrial employers: K2 Sports moved its manufacturing to China, and the Seattle's Best Coffee roastery operation was closed shortly after SBC was bought by Starbucks. Currently, the largest manufacturer on Vashon is Pacific Research Laboratories, locally referred to as "The Bone Factory".
The southern terminus of the Vashon Highway is the Tahlequah Ferry Terminal, connected to the Point Defiance neighborhood of Tacoma by the Point Defiance-Tahlequah ferry. The northern terminus of the Vashon Highway is the Heights Dock at Point Vashon, which services the state ferry docks at Southworth, Fauntleroy in West Seattle, and Downtown Seattle.
Water Taxi service between the northern terminus and downtown Seattle for passengers only is provided by King County with three sailings in each direction during both the morning and afternoon, Monday through Friday.
Vashon Municipal Airport is on the northern half of the island. There is no regularly scheduled air service to the airport.
Public schools: There are three public schools provided by the Vashon Island School District #402:
Private schools: There are two private schools in Vashon.
- The Harbor School (grades 4 to 8). 65 students are enrolled as of September 2013.
- Carpe Diem Primary School (Kindergarten to 3rd grade). 26 students are enrolled as of September 2013.
There are no private high schools (grades 9 to 12) on Vashon Island.
Broadcast radio stations
In 2014 a small, non-profit media outlet, Voice of Vashon, acquired a Low Power FM radio broadcast license from the FCC. KVSH-FM went live on 101.9FM in October 2014, and is also available for live streaming at Voice of Vashon's website. (http://www.voiceofvashon.org) Voice of Vashon also operates a television station, Comcast Channel 21, and its Emergency Broadcast System at 1650AM. Each of these outlets serves Vashon and Maury Islands year round, 24 hours/day 7 days/week with Island generated or specific information, entertainment and emergency alerts.
Maury Island is home to numerous AM transmitters. KIRO 710 (built in 1941) has two massive towers for its 50,000 watts day/night transmitter. KTTH 770, which transmits 50,000 watts during the day and 5,000 watts at night, shares towers with KFNQ. KIRO and KTTH are owned by Bonneville International.
There was a tower originally built in 1946 for KEVR 1090AM, which later became KING radio, is now KFNQ and owned by CBS. It transmits 50,000 watts day/night and now operates 3 towers. This site is shared with KTTH.
On Vashon Island, radio station KVI 570 has a single tower on a beach in Tramp Harbor, nicknamed "KVI Beach". KVI transmits 24 hours a day at 5,000 watts. KOMO 1000 transmits 50,000 watts day/night and has a three tower setup on the northeast corner of the island. Both KVI and KOMO are owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group.
KGNW AM 820 propagates its signal from three towers in the center of the island. It operates 50,000 watts during the day and 5,000 at night. It is owned by Salem Communications. KJR 950 shares the towers at the KGNW site, transmits 50,000 watts day/night, and is owned by Clear Channel Communications.
These stations have located their transmitters on Vashon and Maury Islands because soil conductivity, important to signal propagation in the MW band broadcast frequency range, is greater than elsewhere around Puget Sound. The surrounding sea water is also helpful to MW propagation.
Vashon Island has been home to many notable individuals:
- Matt Alber, musician.
- Gene Amondson, Prohibition Party presidential candidate.
- Gene "Bean" Baxter, co-host of KROQ's Kevin and Bean radio morning show.
- Steve Berlin, of the Grammy Award winning band Los Lobos.
- Alex Borstein, actress noted especially for her work on Fox's MADtv and as the voice of Family Guy's Lois Griffin.
- Berkeley Breathed, author of the political satire comic strip Bloom County, resided on Vashon for some time. He wrote a children's book based on a bicycle in a tree. The real-life tree, growing around a bicycle, can be seen on the island.
- Michael Chabon, writer and 2001 Pulitzer winner. His novel Summerland (2002) is set on fictional Clam Island, WA, which Chabon has acknowledged having modeled on Vashon. Some of the stories in his collection Werewolves In Their Youth (1999) are also set on an island that strongly resembles Vashon.
- Donald Cole, abstract expressionist painter.
- Heather Corinna, feminist sex educator
- Karen Cushman, young adult fiction author.
- Pete Droge, musician.
- Booth Gardner, former Washington state governor.
- Rob Hotchkiss, founding member of Train.
- Eyvind Kang, modern composer.
- Betty MacDonald American author who specialized in humorous autobiographical tales, lived on Vashon and used the island as the setting of her book Onions in the Stew.
- Catherine MacNeal, actress, most notably from Days of Our Lives, runs a lavender farm on the island.
- Zach Mann, reality TV star from MTV's The Real World.
- Robert Miskimon, author.
- Susan Nattrass, a former world champion shooter from Canada.
- Frank Peretti, Christian fiction writer, grew up on Vashon Island.
- Basil Poledouris, film composer, spent the last four years of his life on Vashon Island.
- Austin Post, aerial photographer and glaciologist.
- John Ratzenberger, who played Clifford C. Clavin, Jr. on the television show Cheers, and also played varying roles in many Pixar flims, once lived on and still owns land on connected Maury Island. He also helped to start a school on the island.
- Peter Rinearson, Pulitzer Prize winner and entrepreneur.
- Dan Savage, editor of The Stranger and the author of "Savage Love," a syndicated sex advice column, formerly lived on Vashon Island with his partner and adopted son. By his own account, he moved from Vashon because he was unsure that the local public schools would welcome the adopted son of gay partners.
- Paul Seibert, author and principal of EHS-Design.
- J. Tillman, singer-songwriter, drummer with the Fleet Foxes, singer-songwriter for Father John Misty.
- Edith Derby Williams, historian, granddaughter of former President Theodore Roosevelt, lived on Vashon Island from 1949 until her death in 2008.
- Benjamin F. Wilson, recipient of the Medal of Honor for his actions in the Korean War.
Places of note
- The bike in the tree. A bicycle placed in the fork of a tree, allegedly when a child chained a bike to the tree decades ago and never picked it up, and the tree subsequently grew around it. This is a common local and tourist attraction, and has been subject to vandalism in recent years. The bike in the tree served as the inspiration for the Christmas book, Red Ranger Came Calling by Berkeley Breathed.
- Sea Breeze Farm. Pioneers of sustainable farming.
- Seattle Distilling Company. Microdistillery and Vashon's first legal distillery.
- Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie. Located in the heart of what was formerly the island's town center, this coffee shop is located in a building almost 100 years old, and one of the earliest locations of Seattle's Best Coffee.
- Point Robinson Lighthouse. Point Robinson beach on the east shore of Maury Island has been the site of a lighthouse since 1885. The current Point Robinson lighthouse has been fully automated since 1978.
- Fisher Pond. A 90-acre terrestrial and freshwater conservancy. The largest on Vashon Island.
- Jesus Barn Farm. A farmstead founded in 1893. During the 1960s it was turned into agrarian lifestyle commune. Local lore suggests this is when the iconic 'Jesus' was first painted on the side of the barn.
- Andrew Will Winery. Established 1989.
- Misty Isle Farms. 525 Acre farm that produces Misty Isle Angus Beef.
Vashon Island, including Maury Island, was circumnavigated via standup paddleboard, SUP, on April 25, 2015 in eleven hours, one minute by Ryan Anderson, Brien Marcus, and Matt Parker. 
- "Vashon". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
- "Vashon-Maury History Timeline: A Sense of Place". Vashon History. Retrieved 2015-06-09.
- Climate Summary for Vashon, Washington
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Vashon Island neighborhood bus routes, King County Metro, retrieved 2013-06-04
- Vashon Island School District website, retrieved 2012-04-02
- "Vashon, WA, Schools". Trulia. Retrieved 2013-12-23.
- "Vashon, WA, Private Schools". Private School Review. Retrieved 2013-12-23.
- Harbor School, retrieved 2012-04-03
- "Harbor School, Vashon, WA". Trulia. Retrieved 2013-12-23.
- "Carpe Diem Primary School, Vashon, WA". Trulia. Retrieved 2013-12-23.
- Reames, Arborsculpture: Solutions for a Small Planet, 2005 p.50 ISBN 0-9647280-8-7
- Dremann, Sue (27 September 2002). "The amazing adventures of Chabon". Palo Alto Weekly. Retrieved 2013-12-23.
- Breathed, Berkeley (1994). Red Ranger Came Calling: A Guaranteed True Christmas Story. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 978-0316102490.
- "Vashon Island, Washington: Bicycle Eaten by Tree". RoadsideAmerica.com. Retrieved 2013-12-23.
- Johnson, Eric. "Vashon mystery: how did the bike become embedded in the tree?". komonews.com. Retrieved 2015-05-19.
- Cohen, Lindsey. "Vandals strip Vashon Island's iconic 'bike-in-a-tree'". komonews.com. Retrieved 2015-05-19.
- Sea Breeze Farm
- Seattle Distilling Company
- Vashon Park District. "Point Robinson". Vashon Parks. Retrieved 6/9/15.. Check date values in:
- Fisher Pond. "Fisher Pond". Vashon Park District. Vashon Park District. Retrieved 2015-06-09.
- Cline, Chris. "About JesusBarn Farm". JesusBarn Farm. Retrieved 2015-06-09.
- Jonic, Chris. "History: Andrew Will Winery". Andrew Will Winery. Retrieved 2015-06-09.
- "BurienTrioPaddlesForPride=http://www.highlinetimes.com/2015/07/06/news/burien-trio-paddles-pride". WestsideWeekly.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Vashon Island, Washington.|
- Vashon Maury Island Non-Profits and Organizations
- Vashon College - founded 1892
- Vashon Chamber of Commerice
- Vashon-Maury Island Community Council
- Vashon-Maury Business Information and More
- Vashon-Maury Map
- University of Washington Libraries Digital Collections – Oliver S. Van Olinda Photographs A collection of 420 photographs depicting life on Vashon Island, Whidbey Island, Seattle and other communities of Washington State's Puget Sound from the 1880s to the 1930s.
- Vashon Island Heritage A collection of historic materials from the Vashon Library (King County Library System) and the Vashon-Maury Island Heritage Association.
- Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber Dec. 30, 2009 Vashon Bicycle in Tree Mystery Explained