Spring Beach Dock 1905

The Miramar Lodge, at Spring Beach resort, was built in 1905, it served as the resort manager’s residence, resort dining room, general store and post office.  By 1915 over 8,000 visitors were making the trip from Tacoma in the summer season. A small boat called the TOURIST ran back and forth from Point Defiance, The resort had fifty cabins and many tents to rent, along with, hiking trails, boat rentals, clambakes and fishing. There was a water fountain shooting into the air and landing in a pool lined with agates. The dock at Spring Beach was a private passenger only dock. and was never taken over by the county.

Promotional copy from the below Spring Beach advertisement:

Spring Beach is located on the southwest shore of Vashon Island, less than 3 miles north and in full view of Tacoma’s magnificent Point Defiance Park. Located as it is between Tacoma and Seattle, one can take a steamer any day in the year to either city for 25 cents. Hourly service to Tacoma during the camping season with a regular fare of 10 cents, or 5 cents each way. That makes the cheapest fare and best service to those going to and from their business every day of any resort in the vicinity of Tacoma or Seattle. This is NOT a PUBLIC place where all kinds of people can congregate, but is a PRIVATE RESORT, and those who wish to take their families to a place of this kind will appreciate the fact, when they find this is the only private resort of its kind in the district. Spring Beach has an excellent water system from springs on the property over three hundred feet above the beach, which furnishes an abundance of pure, sparkling water for fountains, and household purposes. Plenty of fresh milk, butter, eggs, fruit, and vegetables right at hand, also post office, grocery store, and refreshments; fine fishing, boating, swimming, and clam digging. All kinds of boats, tents, and cottages for rent furnished, at very reasonable prices, by the week, month, or season.

spring beach2.jpeg

Spring Beach dock and fountain, no date. Vashon-Maury Island Heritage Association


Magnolia Dock 1906

Magnolia Beach was platted in 1902, by Charles A. Cook a Tacoma resident, as vacation and summer properties. In his book Magnolia Beach Memories, Bob Gordon wrote,  

The next order of business was to get a dock constructed  One of the most essiential items for settlers anywhere along the shores of Quartermaster Harbor was a dock where the steamer from Tacoma could land…About 1905 the first dock was constructed at Magnolia. It consisted of a narrow walkway going out to a point beyond low tide. At the end, a ramp extended down to a float that was big enough for the passenger boats to land. All the inland boats at the time had a large opening on each side through which freight or passengers could enter from such float.

Ira Case came to Magnolia in 1906, it was Case who gave an easement on his property for the construction of a dock. Case started a small store and soon after Magnolia established a post office.


Magnolia dock, no date. Photo, Vashon-Maury Island Heritage Association.

Indian Point Dock 1906

Shortly after the Magnolia Dock was built a dock also was constructed at Indian Point, the community to the south of Magnolia Beach. The Magnolia Improvement Association owned and maintained the Magnolia, Indian Point and Harbor Heights docks. Records show hot arguments and threatened lawsuits over dock rights between residents and the association. The Association also put on water carnivals that were attended by the whole south end of the island and as Marjorie Stanley put it “at least half of Tacoma.” There were over 50 houses between Magnolia and Indian Point Docks in the early 1900’s.

Indian Point dock, looking east to Dockton, no date. Photo, Vashon-Maury Island Heritage Association.


Raeco 1906

A company from Seattle developed a flooring material that was similar to linoleum, the company, Raeco, bought property on Maury Island (present day Racoma Beach), for the quality of the sand found there. In 1906 a large factory building, a boarding house for the workers, a store, post office and dock were built along with an office building and three houses for the company heads. Several years later the factory building was destroyed by fire and the company denied to not rebuild. As Maury Island pioneer Bill Rendall wrote:

They had been unable to get adequate steamer service to their dock, plenty of service for freight in and out, but poor passenger service, though the large launch SUCESS had operated there for a while in the passenger service, but no arrangements could be made with the McDowell Steamship Co. Also the company by that time had succeeded in finding a supply of the sand required on the mainland.



Harbor Heights Dock, 1907

To the south of the Magnolia and Indian Point docks was the Harbor Heights Dock, originally built in 1907 and paid for by the residents of the vicinity. In 1939 the Harbor Heights dock was replaced by the county, this was a passenger boat landing at a point inaccessible by road.

Harbor Heights to Indian Pt
Bulkhead walk at Indian Point and Harbor Heights (in background), no date. Photo, Vashon-Maury Island Heritage Association.


Northilla Dock 1909

Northilla was platted east of Manzanita on the tip of Maury Island in 1909, by the Norton Company of Tacoma. The name was a combination of Eli Norton, president and F.D. Hill, secretary-treasurer. The developers but in a long stretch of bulkheads, and both summer cottages and year round homes. Phillip Norton wrote of the early days of Northilla in The Past Remembered:

The steamers provided fine service to Tacoma. Northilla residents were the best off, as they could leave later and get home earlier than those who lived at other landings: Manzanita, Harbor Heights, Indian Point, Magnolia Beach, Shawnee, Burton, Dockton, Quartermaster and Mileta. Many Quartermaster Harbor residents commuted daily as the schedule suited most workers and children attending school in Tacoma.

According to Norton as of 2008 only one of the original houses, the Norton house, which has been in the Norton family since James Norton started the development, still stands at Northilla.

Northilla Dock
Swimmers on the beach and the Northilla dock, looking west, no date. Photo, Vashon-Maury Island Heritage Association

Bates Landing 1909

William and Martha Bates came to Paradise Cove in 1908 purchased land on the beach, just north of Camp Sealth. They built dozens of cedar rowboats for rent and sale. They had a small fishing resort and a private dock for passengers coming to the resort.



Vashon Heights Dock, 1909

The original Heights Dock was built by the Vashon Land Company in 1909, and deeded it to King County in 1912.

Vashon Heights dock, circa 1909. King County Archive.
Vashon Height dock, loaded with cord wood for steamer fuel, looking west to shore. Photo, King County Archive.

Vashon Heights Dock looking west from the water. Photo, King County Archive, 1909.

Maury Dock, 1909

In 1890 Maury Island residents petitioned King County to build a dock on Maury Island so farmers could get their products to markets in Seattle and Tacoma. The petition was refused by the county, it was not until James Ogilvy, and other Maury residents formed the Maury Wharf Association in 1909 built a dock with funds from local residents. Three years after it was built the county took the deed and from then on maintained the dock.

Maury Dock
Maury Dock, looking north, circa 1909. Photo, King County Engineers bridges and wharves files.

Newport Dock 1910

The area between the Judd Creek bridge and Burton was known as Newport. The early route of Road #265 through Newport was said to be lined with trees and shrubs. It was thin, winding and closer to the beach than the present day road, and locally referred to as Lovers Lane. Newport was platted for lots in 1902 by Mr. McNair, many of the homes were summer homes for Tacoma residents. In I910 McNair built a dock that was a passenger only dock, known as McNair’s Landing In 1915 King County took control of the dock and built a new extended dock.

Newport dock
Newport dock, looking east, Portage area left of center, no date. Photo, Vashon-Maury Island Heritage Association.
Newport dock looking west to shore, no date. Photo, post card, collection of author.


Kingsbury Dock

The Kingsbury family came in 1888 and settled at what is now known as Kingsbury Beach. Between 1910-1914 Fred Kingsbury operated a small steamer MARGURITE between Quartermaster and Tacoma. Records of the build date of the Kingsbury Dock are not available. The first dock at Kingsbury was near the mouth of the lagoon. In 1920 King County built a dock to the north of the former Kingsbury Dock.

Kingsbury dock
Looking north at Quartermaster Harbor and the Kingsbury dock from the newly built golf course on Maury Island (same location as modern day golf course), circa 1929. Billingsley family photo.


Cedarhurst Dock 1912

To take advantage of his summer month off, the reverend William Spaulding of the United Presbyterian Church of Seattle, bought one thousand feet of waterfront property just north of Fern Cove in 1900. In 1912 the community built a dock and post office on the Spaulding property, with Spaulding’s daughter Lucile as the postmaster.


Cowley Landing, 1914

Cowely bought the property in 1914, he built a dock and around 1919 began to develop the property into what he called Twickenham Estates, lots were developed, twelve ponds were put in, there was statuary that included lions, goddesses, gargoyles. Today this property is called Winghaven and is a Vashon Park District park. The pond in the center of the above photo still exists and can be seen on the present day Winghaven trial, which is the former road, seen in the photo below.

Cowley Landing Dock
Twickenham Estates, Cowley Landing dock, far right, no date. Photo, Vashon-Maury Island Heritage Association.

Vashon Park / Sylvan Beach Dock 1915

Cowley Investment Co. had an office in Seattle and owned the Cowley Landing Twickenham property. The company also owned property nearly directly west on Colvos Passage. The unrecorded plat was called Vashon Park. Property maps circa 1915 show a dock at the Vashon Park property. King County property records show three homes built from 1910-1915 and twelve homes built in the 1920s. Possession and maintenance of this private dock was later taken over by King County.


vashon park
Vashon Park advertisement, Vashon Island News, 1915


In 1937, the Vashon Island News-Record reported on the repairs of the Sylvan Beach Dock, noting that,

A crew of county workers, working with a floating pile driver, tug and crew, are pulling the piling of the old Glen Acres wharf on the east side of the Island. The piling will be used in rebuilding the wharf at Sylvan Beach. Each winter the approach of the dock is badly damaged by high tides, due to the fact that the structure when built was at least three feet too low. This error will be remedied and the wharf when completed will be high enough to escape the battering of the water during coming storms. County Bridge Engineer Tom Blum is in charge of the work, and has spent several days on the Island. 

sylvan beach dock plans
Plans for the Sylvan Beach dock. King County Engineer, bridges and wharves files.

Rosehilla Dock, 1916

In 1916 a new dock had been built west of Northilla at Rosehilla. A Mr. Cook platted lots and had five houses built that were rented in the summer and vacant in the winter. At that time there were twenty one houses between the Northilla and Rosehilla docks. In 1918 steamer service to the Northilla dock ended and Northilla residents walked the bulkheads to the Rosehilla dock, in bad weather or high tide there was a trail through the woods to the Rosehilla dock.

morford rosehilla
Rosehilla dock, no date. Photo, King County archive.

Luseta Beach 1916 / Camp Sealth 1921

Luseata Beach Resort was developed by a man named C. T. Luther. The resort catered mostly to Seattle people who came out to fish and enjoy the country. In 1920 the Camp Fire Girls bought Luseta Beach Resort and over 350 acres of pristine forest with 1.5 miles of private beach. Riding the steamer Virginia V which served Colvos Passage starting in 1922 became a right of passage for Camp Fire Girls attending the Camp. The dock was a private dock serving passengers only and was never taken over by King County.


Luseta Beach Camp Sealth Dock
Virginia II loading passengers at the Luseata Beach dock, no date. Photo, Vashon-Maury Island Heritage Association.

Assembly Beach Dock 1918 / Biloxi Dock

Originally called Assembly Beach, with an unrecorded plat called Puget Sound Summer Assembly, property records show the first home was built in 1918, with more added in the1920s and 1940s. Maps show a dock at assembly beach circa 1915.

Legend has it that the area reminded Ruth Kellogg, who lived near Heights, of her native home of Biloxi MI. Kellogg painted a sign that said Biloxi and nailed it  to a tree, around 1918 it fell in a storm and someone nailed it to the dock and the name stuck.

At some point King County took over the dock, a 1963 King County dock inspection report states, “This dock was constructed by the county in 1936. Apparently no important maintenance has been done since.” The neighbors petitioned the county to have the dock removed and it was later removed.

old upperwest side
North end of Vashon, circa 1915. King County Map Vault.


Looking south to the Biloxi dock (in background), from Patton Palisade (under development), circa 1960. Photo, Vashon-Maury Island Heritage Association.

Dilworth Dock

There are no county records of the dock. This photo comes from Skip Riley’s history of Dilworth, according to Riley, “The Dilworth Dock was set on fire by the son of Daisy Dilworth Plat. He thought the dock was ugly and spoiled the view. He set in on fire at the shore end.” Details as to the extent of the damage are left to our imagination.


dilworth dock copy
Dilworth Dock, no date. Photo from Skip Riley’s history of Dilworth.


dillworth plat
Plat of Dilworth, no date. King County Map Vault.

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Blogging about Vashon Island past and present. I'm a 4th generation Vashon Islander, artist, dad and grandfather