"Of all national assets, archives are the most precious:
they are the gift of one generation to another,
and the extent of our care of them marks the
extent of our civilization." Arthur Doughty.

About Us

My photo
San Juan Islands, Washington State, United States
A society formed in 2009 for the purpose of collecting, preserving, celebrating, and disseminating the maritime history of the San Juan Islands and northern Puget Sound area. Check this log for tales from out-of-print publications as well as from members and friends. There are circa 500, often long entries, on a broad range of maritime topics; there are search aids at the bottom of the log. Please ask for permission to use any photo posted on this site. Thank you.

10 March 2018

❖ WEST, WEST, WEST, the Westernmost Point of the USA ❖

A sign at the fork in the road two miles west of 
 Sekiu points to Cape Alava, 25 miles by road 
 and three more by trail to the westernmost point
in the United States. Photo dated, July 1954.
Original photo by Eric Wahleen from the archives
of the Saltwater People Historical Society©
Indian Island, Washington, off Cape Alava, 1954,
is connected with the mainland by a sandspit
which is under water only at very high tides.
Tiny islets are offshore. The island is the north end 
of a 50-mile ocean strip added to the Olympic Nat'l Park in 1953.
Click image to enlarge.

Original photo by Eric Wahleen,
from the archives of the Saltwater People Historical Society©

Elephant Rock
A natural formation on the Olympic Peninsula, WA.

Photo by Eric Wahleen for Smith's Scenic Views, Tacoma, WA.
from the archives of the Saltwater People Historical Society©
Rapids on the Quinault River,
Olympic National Park, Washington State.

Card from the archives of the Saltwater People Historical Society©

The Olympic National Park, a World Heritage Site since 1981, features spectacular Pacific Ocean coastline, scenic lakes, mountains and glaciers, and magnificent temperate rainforest. These diverse ecosystems are like visiting three different parks in one. To learn more about the modern-day fees and regulations for this beautiful home to very clever animals looking for your camp food, and visited by guests from all over the world here is a link to the Olympic National Park site. 

01 March 2018


Here she is seen along Blind Bay Rd, Shaw Island, for a photo by
the family matriarch, Lilie Marold Bruns in 1920.

The family lived on the island c. 1901-1945.
(Actually, Eber's mother, Lilie, arrived with a married sister 
before Statehood and taught at the first Shaw Island School.)
The gas screw was built at Reed's Shipyard on Decatur Is., WA.
She was launched in 1912 for Henry Cayou, his first power boat.
32' L x 10' W  x 4' D.
She had a 16 HP 2-cyl, 4-cyl Frisco-Standard, turning
a 28 x 28 Coolidge wheel. 330 RPM.
Click image to enlarge.
Some words from long-time mariner Eberhardt Bruns (1902-1982) from San Juan County, who was born on Lopez Island, went to grade school and married Atlanta Berg on Shaw Island, and then moved off to Orcas Island for an engineering job. 
      "We put the new wheel on her at Fish Creek [SJIs.] Speed about 8 knots. We bought her at Reeds in 1918 for $500 from a Mr. Peterson of Anacortes. She had been pulled up for over a year. We had Joe Reed recaulk her. I got the engine going and we ran her home to Shaw, late 1918 or early 1919. We cut off about 8' of after cabin, installed a fish hold and a fishing cockpit aft.
      Emil Wickstrom, Shaw Island, helped us in buying and fixing her up for fishing. He had fished at the Cape for years. Dad & I fished off Cape Flattery 1919. Dad didn't like boating and fishing but I did. Started out for the Cape 1920. Got storm bound west of Race Rocks. I came down sick so Dad brought us back to Shaw. Called the Doctor from Friday Harbor. He came over to Shaw and diagnosed appendicitis. Took me to Bellingham. I was not taken off the boat from Race Rocks to Bellingham. After about 10 days they operated. I survived. That is another story.
      We sold SKIDDOO in 1922 to a Mr. McTavish of Orcas Lime Co, Mosquito Pass, San Juan Island. He later put in a 4-cyl Fordson-Marine about 40-HP. Later she burnt up in Mitchell Bay. The 16-HP Frisco Standard was sold to a man on Sinclair Is. He installed it in a 30' troller, DAPHNE. Many memories, Eber Bruns." 
Eber Bruns to his son, 20 March 1985.
      Eber's young brother, J. Lee, is standing near cabin, aft deck. "My face is in the window. Mother took the picture standing on the rock in front of the cabin. I had put the boat there just to have our picture took. Float in the background. Old [Morrison] barn on the bank."

      This SKIDDOO photo was shared by Lee Bruns and also by his daughter, Nancy Bruns; the essay was shared by Eber's daughter, Ellen Bruns Madan. All helpful extended family contributing to the local history archives of this web admin.

      Eber Bruns, as he said, did enjoy the boats, and if you would like more written by the man, click  Chief Engineer without an Engine

19 February 2018


Steam ferry LINCOLN
580 tons, 147.3' x 43' x 12.6'
Built at Capt. John Anderson's
Lake Washington Shipyard, Houghton, WA.

Original photo from the archives of the Saltwater People Historical Society©
"The automobile ferry, which was to eventually replace the passenger steamboat fleet of Puget Sound, first became a familiar sight on Lake Washington, where a comparatively heavy population and the early construction of connecting roads on both sides of the Lake made the development of this type of water transportation a natural. 
      The steel steam propeller ferry LINCOLN was built at Houghton for operation by King County on Lake Washington with the WASHINGTON of 1908. The LINCOLN was placed on the Madison Park (Seattle)-Kirkland route.
Steam ferry ISSAQUAH 
288-ton double-ended vessel 
114.4' x 38.2' x 8.9'
Click image to enlarge. Unknown photographer.
Original photo from the archives of the Saltwater People Historical Society©
      The Anderson Steamboat Co. followed the same year with the construction of the steam propeller ferry ISSAQUAH at its yard on the Lake. Designed by Capt. John Anderson, with several new features incorporated, including double runways for automobiles and teams on the lower deck, and an adjustable loading apron. The ferry was placed in service between Leschi Park and Newport, making a stop en route to Roanoke, Mercer Island. At Newport the ferry connected with the new state highway to Lake Sammamish, Fall City, Issaquah, North Bend and Snoqualmie. Following her successful trials, during which she was in charge of Capt. Anderson, she was commanded by Capt. Fred Wyman. The ferry steamer was equipped with a hardwood dance floor and made moonlight excursions on the lake after her regular scheduled crossings during the summer months. The operation of ferry vessels on the lake, frequently at a loss which was underwritten from tax revenues, by King County and the Port of Seattle, was rapidly making a private operation of passenger and ferry steamers economically unfeasible. The ISSAQUAH and the little steamer DAWN were the last vessels built by Capt. Anderson for his own use and the ISSAQUAH'S career in the Northwest was brief, being sold in 1918 to Klatt & Hanford as the first vessel of the Rodeo-Vallejo Ferry Co. operating across Carquinez Straits, CA. Later she was operated in conjunction with the pioneer Puget Sound ferry steamer CITY OF SEATTLE by the city of Martinez."
Above text from H.W. McCurdy's Marine History of the Pacific Northwest. Editor, Gordon Newell. Superior Publishing. 1966

13 February 2018

❖ TWO MAP MAKERS ❖ 1946 with author/historian June Burn

Day 78
Shaw Island
San Juan Archipelago, WA.

Mapmaker Helene Graham (1881-1970)
A Wellesley College graduate who moved to Squaw Bay,
Shaw Island, the year of this photo in 1941.

Many years later, after at least one major renovation,
 the pioneer home was moved along the narrow road &
 across the cow pasture to Our Lady of the Rock Monastery.
Helene's first map was a sculpted version
of San Juan Archipelago,
as seen here photographed by
June Burn for her article, Day 78
of One Hundred Days in the San Juans
for the Seattle-P-I, published 1946.
Mildred Winter and I drive down a good graveled road back to the south shore of Shaw Island to visit the Grahams, to see her map. It is like the deep faraway countryside in here, no water visible anywhere, the little schoolhouse, where only two children go to school this year, standing all by itself in the woods.
       Some of the farms are enclosed by extra high fences against deer––a pest on this island, too.
      In no time at all, we swing down to Squaw Bay and stop in front of a yard so trim and tidy you would know it belonged to a civil engineer. Mr. Erret Graham is a retired railroad engineer from Indiana.
      You can tell how he loves this place, every stick of driftwood, every blade of grass. His woodshed is stacked with beach-combed sticks and more of them make a precise pile on the front porch. His workroom is filled with maps of the islands, detailed property maps a-making under his hand now, for he still surveys land [for San Juan County.] 
      From Mr. Graham's notes copied from the government survey of 1874, I learn that there were twelve families on Shaw at the time ( who were home at the time.) Oliver O' Hara was one of them. This Squaw Bay used to be called O' Hara Cove.
      Julien Laurence is mentioned as living on Blind Bay near where the Griswolds now live, Mr. Priceman near the present store on Blind Bay, Capt. C. C. Reed near where Dan Huff lives now. Who were the other settlers?
      Mrs. Helene Graham's map is here. This is what I came to see. Built up with contour sections of paper, thickened with a kind of rubbery plaster, the islands lie there as fat and sassy as if the tides washed there twice a day, too.
      Elevations are magnified four times to give them the look they have in life.
      Such gifted people on this small island. Busy creating beautiful things, their own orchardy place one of them. Old man O' Hara, your place has fallen into good hands.
      Mildred and I set out again, drive around another road back to the Biendls [John and Ruth.] Trees almost meet overhead.
      Thus in two days and two nights we have been clean around Shaw Island's 7.7 sq. miles.
      The 1874 government survey notes say that "the island contains sufficient good land for small farms but the larger portion is only good for sheep pastures." But McLellan, who gave it more study says it is the most heavily wooded of all the San Juan Islands.
      Shaw was named by the Wilkes Expedition in 1841 for a naval captain, John D. Shaw. Thirty families live here now--about 75 people in all. "People are going and coming so fast, it is hard to keep up with them," according to Mabel Crawford.
      The first Euro-American child was Emily Shaw Hudson (1886-1965) but she isn't an old woman by any means.
      The third and fourth and sometimes fifth generations of families which settled and left property and progeny are here now, recorded pioneers for researchers a hundred years hence!
      Goodbye, kind Mildred, Mrs. Ruth Biendl, and your beautiful farm. Goodbye, Shaw Island and all your friendly community. I climb and slide and almost don't get down this high bluff in a new place to find Farrar and the boat at the foot. It is lunchtime, but there's a breeze going our way. We'll sail and nibble as we sail--we're always eating!
      As we edge out from shore we look back down Blind Bay at the settlement built around that curve.
      "Now, we're leaving Shaw Island." I say and of course, Farrar says, "Oh, pshaw." (He can't help it.)
      See you tomorrow. June
Above words from Day 78 of 100 Days in the San Juans written by June Burn, for a series on contract with the Seattle P-I newspaper, 1946.

1946, May: Helene's well-known husband, Mr. Erret Graham, into his second career as an engineer, first began stamping his SJC survey papers this year with his new official seal, Prof. Eng #2081. For more local knowledge on the highly regarded, Old Town-canoeing-surveyor of San Juan County please see another Saltwater People post HERE

Shaw Island map (c. 18" x 24") drawn & 
hand-colored by the designer,
 Helene Graham, as a welcome gift for new residents.

The inscribed names are gone from the scene but at least
nine families have descendants still part of Shaw life,
one-half century later.
Click image to enlarge.
Map from the archives of the Saltwater People Historical Society©
      Circa one decade after the publication of this article by June Burn, Mrs. Graham centered her artistic talents on paper maps to document the property owners living on Shaw Island, as seen above. In 1959, Erret wrote in his diary that Helene had an original hand-drawn copy, done to a scale of 1' = 1200', prepared to mail to the Royal Blue Print Co in Seattle. The first print run was only ten copies but over the next several years she updated the landowners and hand-colored scores of maps to share as welcome gifts to new islanders and many friends throughout the county. There are still versions gracing the walls of island homes. 
      Helena taught mapmaking to the local Camp Fire Girls under the leadership of Gwen Yansen. She also lent a hand to Claire Tift and Earl Hoffman, sons of pioneers, when they were compiling the descriptive "Shaw Island of 1900 Map" sometimes on view in the Shaw Island Historical Museum.
      The fine contour map sculpted by Helene Graham (1881-1970) was donated to the Shaw Island Historical Museum in the 1990s by her scientist son, Ernest. Graham, also of Shaw Island. One of the property owners hand-colored maps has also been archived.

06 February 2018

❖ SCAYLEA: 50 YEARS of Honest History Records

Josef Scaylea
Courtesy of Josef Scaylea.com
Josef Scaylea spent a half-century photographing the scenery and faces that make the Northwest a rich, diverse place.
      His work behind the camera included 35 years at the Seattle Times, most as chief photographer, seven books, and more than 1,000 photography awards.
      I was highly overrated," Mr. Scaylea said in an interview, the twinkle in his eye indicating he was at least half-kidding. "I was very fortunate."
      So, too, were readers of The Seattle Times, where Mr. Scaylea's work, beginning in 1947, helped to bring magazine-style photography into weekend sections, onto the front page and, for years, onto a designated picture page.
      "Most any photograph can look good if you blow it up to eight columns," Mr. Scaylea joked.
Josef Scaylea
Loved to capture life below the
Montlake Bridge, Seattle, WA.
Dated August 1950

Low res scan from an original photograph from
the archives of the Saltwater People Historical Society©

      Those who knew Mr. Scaylea best credit his success to the dedication and hard work, not luck. Luck couldn't account for being named West Coast Photographer of the Year 10 times, and being named one of the 10 top Press Photographers of the Nation––also 10 times.
      He pioneered pictorial photography and portrait photography for us," said James B. "Jim" King, retired Times executive editor. "He would go on a pictorial shoot and he would be given two or three days. People would say, 'Where's Joe?' But he would always bring back something great."
      Raised in South Glastonbury, Connecticut farmland by Italian-born parents, Mr. Scaylea developed an interest in photography as he wandered the hills and fields, captivated by the interplay between weather and terrain. Dense, textured clouds were among his favorite features.
      After attending a photography school in New York, he found that with a large number of photo-oriented magazines and trade publications in those days, markets were plentiful for photographers.
Lake Washington 
Josef Scaylea
Black tug, orange trim, 13 April 1952.
Click image to enlarge.
Low res scan from an original photo from the archives
of the Saltwater People Historical Society©
      "Every big company had its own magazine. I did some work for Ford Times. You take a scenic photograph, and if they threw a new Ford in with it, that would help."
      Drafted into the military two days after the Pearl Harbor attack on 7 Dec 1941, Mr. Scaylea shot aerial battles in the Pacific for the Army Air Corps, footage over Japan, Okinawa and the Philippines that continues to show up in television documentaries. Stationed at Paine Field and Moses Lake, WA he discovered the great Northwest, vowing to make it home. He never left his Northwest home until he died at age 91.
      One Seattle Times photo that helped put Mr. Scaylea on the map was an overhead view of the UW crew team, shot from the Montlake Bridge. Look magazine named it the 1954 "Sports Photograph of the Year."
      Other magazines that published his work include Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, Life, and the Saturday Evening Post.
      Mr. Scaylea had suffered from heart disease and told friends that he had enjoyed his life and was ready to let go. And he demanded of a reporter "Don't make me look like a saint."
      Interpreting that remark, Mr. Scaylea's friend, nurse, driver, and business partner Jill Bennett said, "One could say that Josef's 'sainthood' was focused on shooting a technically precise and keenly interesting picture. He loved his subjects; he loved the Northwest. He was an eccentric––full of charm and an impatience for the ordinary."
Salmon fishing seiner near Pt. Roberts, WA.
Josef Scaylea
October 1979

Low res scan of an original photograph from the
archives of the Saltwater People Historical Society©
      Although he photographed many scenes and circumstances, Mr. Scaylea said he never enjoyed photographing celebrities and avoided it as much as possible. 'I wanted to show real people; a farmer in the Palouse, a horse breaker in the Yakima Valley, a Scandinavian fisherman."
Portrait of Capt. Adrian Raynaud
Falls of Clyde in background, Seattle, WA.
Dated 1963
By Josef Scaylea.

Low res scan from an original photo from the
Saltwater People Historical Society©

      In recent years, Bennett drove Mr. Scaylea to some of his favorite spots so he could continue to photograph them even as his health declined. We'd take trips to the Skagit every spring. Grayland in the summer. Leavenworth in the fall. He'd always say on the way; 'This year's going to be my last trip here.' He said that every year, every trip."
      And he loved to pass along this bit of wisdom to people both in and out of photography; "There are no great photographers," he'd say, "There are only great subjects."
Words by Jack Broom. Seattle Times, 21 July 2004, on the occasion of Scaylea's death at age 91 years. Photograph source as noted.

Archived Log Entries