1932 Roundview of the Seattle and Tacoma Yacht Clubs at Portage Washington enjoying Big Clambake at the Homestead on Echo beach at the Protage

I first saw this photograph posted by Susan Nix on the Facebook page, Seattle and Washington State Vintage Plus, at first I questioned if this photograph was labeled properly, I’ve seen photos of every old Mosquito Fleet dock on Vashon and I couldn’t readily place where this was, I thought maybe it was mistaken for Portage Bay in Lake Washington. Later Tom Conway posted it on the Old Vashon Pictures and Stories Facebook and like me many people questioned the labeled location. Upon seeing it again I reflected on my visual memory bank as a Quartermaster Harbor native and felt that it was taken looking west from the north end of Kingsbury Beach, and the dock we see in the background is the Quartermaster Dock, that would fit with the location suggested in the photographs label.

The first clue I was right came in Ann Donahoe’s comment on the OVPS Facebook post:

“It’s possible this is correct. Echo Beach is the unofficial name for the stretch of beach at Portage on Inner Harbor near the isthmus. Today’s view looks similar. In 1923, the current cabins would not have yet been built. The Malone/Mattson family would have been on Echo Beach and their place is known as the Homestead”.

Others thought the photograph was taken from Magnolia toward Dockton, but in 1923 you would see the Martinolich shipyard in the scene to the right of the Mosquito Fleet dock. I also felt the the distance from Magnolia to Dockton was much farther than the distance in the photograph. Look at the photo comparison below. The top photo I took from the end of Shawnee road, just north of the former Magnolia dock, looking toward Dockton, notice how the land masses in the photos do not match up, you can just barely see the tip of the Burton Peninsula on the far left at the arrow and Dockton point at the other arrow. There was a Mosquito Fleet dock at the point in Dockton in 1923, but this is not it.

I went down to Portage and walked the beach to the spot just south about 50 feet from the former Holy Names home, where there seems to be the remnants of an old dock, and shot the top photo, then compared it to the original, they match up perfect, the arrow points to the tip of Burton Peninsula. The Mosquito Fleet dock we see in the old photo is the “New”, 418 foot long, Quartermaster Dock built in 1919 at the foot of Monument Road, sticking out from west of the point. So the label is correct.

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