Marrowstone Island

The Marrowstone Island Briefs offer a glimpse of island life.

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Briefs
Marrowstone Island Brief 6

ROAD GENESIS: In the 1860's Marrowstone Island was sparsely populated by bachelors, fishermen, tenants hired by land speculators, and homesteaders. They arrived by boat, and cleared land within sight of the water. Along the meandering shoreline of Marrowstone and Indian Islands were niches of occupancy. These sparse hovels were tenuously connected by a foot trail that ran from the sand spit at the northern tip of Marrowstone (where a colony of fishermen lived near a fish house).

It continued down along the shores lapped by the waters of Kilisut Harbor, past Mystery Bay and over the slough where the tide action severed Marrowstone from Indian Island, and across the natural land bridge K(passable at low tide) to the mainland. This was the rudiments of Flagler Road. It's name would originate thirty years later after Congress enacted the Puget Sound Defense System in 1896 and purchased the north end of Marrowstone Island for the construction of one of three forts. It was named after Brigadier General Daniel Webster Flagler who earned fame for %his gallantry during the Civil War.

When rumors of Port Townsend becoming a major port city spread wide, T. J. Nolton layed out Nolton's Addition on Marrowstone in 1889. Nolton's 10 acre development was on the hillside above his Puget Sound Fish Preserving Company. Fishermen came to sell their catch at Nolton's cannery. Among them were Norwegian fishermen who saw the wisdom of living near the cannery, and moved their families to the island. Nannie and Robert Johnson made their move to Nolton's Addition and other families soon followed. The white cabin on Nolton Road is the oldest structure on the island and it was the first house the Johnsons lived in.

An arm of land which hugs Mystery Bay, called Griffiths Point, was purchased in 1855 by an astute young man of 15 from Wales named James Griffiths. He sent for his mother and stepfather, Frank Knight, to live on his land although he never lived on it himself. Frank Knight died in the @1870's and his grave site can be seen from Griffiths Point Road.

During the 1930's Flagler Road was re-routed in several places and is the existing highway route today. It veered up the hill, away from the shoreline as more people moved on the island and pushed back the wilderness. The wooden bridges which connected Indian and Marrowstone Islands were replaced with a culvert and fill, and a similar bridge across the mud flats of Mystery Bay was removed and fill dirt used to build a wider roadway into the bay. The natural land bridge which was the sole connection for the islanders to the mainland was dredged out in 1915, and a replacement bridge was not built until 1952.

Tinius and Paul Sole were born and raised on the island after their parents Tollef and Pauline moved to Marrowstone in 1890. They logged the south end of the island in 1927, and each had built a house at the end of their logging road called Sole Road. Eventually it was connected with the road to Bob and Grace Robbins' residence on the southeast end of the island and called Robbins Road.

E.U. "Bob" Robbins was a soldier at Fort Flagler when he met Grace Disney in 1911. Although Grace's father did not look upon the couple's marriage with delight they lived with Tex and Mary Disney on their 35 acre farm. The property was later sold to Gustav Johnson who in turn sold Fit to Frederick and Ruth Baldwin in 1955. The Baldwins purchased the property with the agreement that Mary Disney would live out her life on the farm till her death which came in 1956. In Ruth Baldwin's eyes, Mary Disney was a "grand lady." Baldwin Road is less than a quarter mile long Hand dead ends at the driveway to the house where the Robbins once lived.

In 1970, fire numbers were allocated to each residence in the county Gin an effort to help the fire department pinpoint residences during an emergency call. At the same time, islanders Ed Richey and Bill Jansen 'worked to set up official road names. F Merle and Nancy Turner's property on Indian Island was exchanged for Eproperty on east Marrowstone when the Navy bought out all the Indian Island land owners in 1938. Their easement ran along the north line of the Disney 's acreage and was an extension of Robbins Road. When Baldwin Road was officially named in 1970, Ruth Baldwin asked to have the easement on the north side of her 35 acre property named Disney Road. It remains a private road.

The roadway at the end of Disney Road (which followed the old trail where the illegal Chinese used to seek refuge) was also used by the turners for their driveway and it was called Turner Road. Katy Johnson, I(daughter of the Turners) named it Lip Lip Lane. It was named after Lip Lip Point the site of Katy and husband Ray Johnson's residence and Katy's business The Beach Comber Beauty Salon. Lip Lip Lane connects to Moen Road named after Al & Thelma Moen who lived on the island between 1965-75.

Merry Road is not a county road. It was previously referred to as Springer Road after Otto Springer who lived there and was a mail carrier in 1936. The road was named after William Merry who bought property off Springer Road in 1960.

Beveridge Lane is a 16 foot wide county easement which extends up the hill behind the Nordland General Store to David and Debbie Abercrombie's house. David's stepfather, Tom Beveridge, was a road construction worker in Oregon, and had read an ad about a 10 acre property with a house for sale on Marrowstone. He bought it from Grace Johnson in 1957 and rented the house to tenants for $25 a month then returned to Oregon. In Salem, he met Margaret Abercrombie, owner/operator of three restaurants. They were married in 1962 and in 1966, he brought her to the island with Margaret's son David. At the time of Tom's death in 1989, the original ad for the property was still in his wallet.

Al and Mary Hoyt bought 40 acres from A.M. Hoidale in 1944. They built a house on the jut called Nodule Point. Hoyt Road is a private driveway and is maintained by the Hoyts and other residents of the road.

John P. and Nina Heinzinger purchased 16 acres in 1936 near the Mystery Bay Marina. Next to them lived Helmer and Emily Johnson who bought 10 acres in 1918 from A.M. Hoidale. In 1987, the access road shared by both the Johnson and Heinzinger families was deeded to the County and named Blue Heron Road. It is a short county road which becomes a private driveway called Heinzinger Road.

The right of way to Cemetery Road was donated by Anna Nordby, and Jit crossed the island from Flagler Road to the Sound View Cemetery on the east side. Since it traversed the wetlands called China Pond it was a chronically muddy road. When East Beach Road was paved Cemetery Road was closed.

Up to 1960, East Marrowstone Road stopped a half mile north from Meade Road. In 1962-63, work had begun to extend it north to meet with East Beach Road which was also being paved. The right of way on East Beach Road was donated by Jacob Johnson and Carl Jensen in the '30's. It was a narrow dirt road used by islanders to reach East Beach Park. A well and hand pump existed on Bill and Betty Grace's property fronting E Beach Road. The Thorniley's property was the site of the Community Club Hall. The foundation was started but the building was never completed. When East Beach Road was paved the well was covered to widen the road.

The jog in East Marrowstone Road near East Beach was made after Ralph Johnson appealed to the road workers to pave around the maple tree which held his grandson's tree house rather than cut it down. A history of more road names can be found in Jeanne Bean's "Marrowstone Memories", sold at the Nordland General Store. It is a compilation of other island road histories.

CALLING ALL POLAR BEARS! The Nordland General Store's 5th annual Polar Bear Dip is on New Year's Day at NOON! The goal is to reach a hundred participants from a previous goal of 97. COME AND GET IN!

GARDEN CLUB meeting on Jan. 6, 10 AM, Wednesday. The program will be a demo on creating hypertufa planters. All members are asked to bring their own molds (not fungus but disposable pots and pans, etc., plastic bags and decorative rocks. Hostess chairman is Gladys Heinzinger. For more info call Billie Fitch, program chairman, at 379-9242.
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