Here are some highlights of Allyn's Earliest History. There is much more but that will come later.
The North Bay area was formed around 13,000 years ago when glaciers advanced south just beyond Olympia. As the glaciers receded an ice dam across the Strait of Juan de Fuca broke loose, allowing the marine waters of the Pacific Ocean to rush into Puget Sound and mix with the river waters from the two mountain ranges to form this treasured body of water
Oystering became an important industry in the early days of Allyn. In the late 1890's and early 1900's there were as many as nine oyster growers, the largest being W.W. Waldrip on North Bay. In the mid 1900's there were only a few companies that were the main operators, Sargent Oyster Co. just north of Allyn, Allyn Oyster just north of Sargent and Coast Oyster in front of Allyn. Together they produced an average of 25,000 to 40,000 gallons of processed oysters per year. Several local growers in North Bay still sell oysters locally and Taylor Shellfish ships all over the world.
Allyn was already shipping out lumber, venison and huckleberries and as the little settlement grew it became well known in Tacoma and Olympia; Tacoma having been first settled just a year before Allyn. Brush picking and huckleberries provided a good living for many people but berry picking stopped many years ago and brush picking dwindled to the extent that Kirk Company sold their plant to the Port of Allyn. In 1995 the brush shed and an apartment building on the property were demolished and the Port administrative offices were built.
In 1792 English captains James Cook and George Vancouver charted the Pacific including the bays and inlets of Puget Sound. Vancouver continued his exploration into Admiralty Inlet, Hood Canal, and Puget Sound and on June 4th of that year and claimed it for Britain. He anchored the ships near modern-day Seattle and sent Lieutenant Peter Puget in command of two rowing craft to survey south in May 1792. Recent research by Hira Barbara Reid indicates that Peter Puget actually followed the sound all the way into North Bay of Case Inlet to its beginning near what is today known as Coulter Creek. In recognition of Puget's work, Vancouver named the area south of the Tacoma Narrows, Puget Sound.
Forty-nine years later, the Wilkes Expedition came to Puget Sound to survey the area and improve on Captain Vancouver’s maps. Lieutenant Augustus Case and a crew of men crossed over from the head of Hood’s Canal by way of an Indian trail to North Bay. Originally named Case's Inlet, Case Inlet was named for this man. The Native American trail that once existed between the head of Hood Canal and North Bay is shown only as a dotted line on the Wilkes map. It passed north of Lake Devereaux and probably across the land where the North Mason High fields are today and entering the bay near the mouth of Coulter Creek. It was called the Portage and was once the boundary line between Kitsap and Mason Counties.
Postal Route 1897
According to United States Postal records, the Sherwood’s Mill post office was established February 20, 1865 discontinued May 7, 1868. and reestablished December 22, 1868.
In 1889 Allyn was patiently waiting for her badly needed post office. Mr. P.M. Cole sold stamps and sold many more than were sold at the Clifton post office. In Dec. of 1889 it was announced that there would be daily mail deliveries to Allyn from Tacoma and the contract was let to the Otter.
In 1890 they tried again. It was taking from six to ten days to get mail from Tacoma or Seattle while going the other way usually took only two to four days.
In January of 1890, a petition signed by businessmen and others was circulated asking that a post office be given to Allyn under the same name. The problem was that Allyn conflicts with a similar name already given to another office in the State. An effort was made to have the name of the other office changed, but apparently without success. The people much preferred that the name of the office and town be the same but if they couldn't have what they wanted they were willing to take the office by some other name. The name "North Bay" was suggested in the petition.
On January 22 1890 a letter was received from Washington DC "Gentlemen, I have to inform you that I have succeeded in securing the change of name of the post office called Allen and that I have recommended the establishment of an office called Allyn. As soon as the department receives the date that they have called for I will make the recommendation of postmaster for the office. I am glad I have been able to serve you in this matter and trust that you may succeed in building up a prosperous village under the name of Allyn. Very truly, John L. Wilson (Congressman )
The new post office was established on March 24, 1890. It was closed for a while in 1900 and the mail was sent to Victor, across the bay. It was reopened in Allyn in 1901 with John Eberhart as Postmaster and was located on Drum St. where the current dock is today..in 1922.
Raisoni's Store about 1906
Frank, Mattie & Victor Raisoni
NEW STORE OPEN
The Allyn Trading Co. with Raisoni & Freeman as managers has opened a store in the Cole building with a full stock of groceries, dry goods, boots and shoes, flour and feed and everything usually kept in a general store. They will sell strictly for cash and goods will be marked down to the lowest living rates. The stock was received Wednesday and is now being marked and placed on the shelves and everything will be put in readiness to open for business Monday morning next. A share of the public patronage is solicited and fair dealing guaranteed. Allyn times 1890
**Vic Raisoni's great granddaughter still lives on the site of this store.
An interesting feature of North Bay is the presence of early aboriginal art in rock formations called petroglyphs, which are uncolored carvings in stone, that are believed to have been carved from 1,000 to 1,100 years ago. These were called Indian rocks by the first settlers. Circles are a common carving but there are also fish, animals and other things found carved in them. One might also imagine mountains, trails, streams and possibly even other tribes. Samples above are a depiction of the rock in Victor done by E.J. Cokelet in 1977.
It was reported that in 1909 the Alaska-Yukon expedition decided it would be a great feature attraction and an attempt was made to remove it. After tremendous digging they never reached the base of the rock and finally gave up. There have been other such attempts made over the years but none have been successful so it remains in place today. There are other petroglyphs around Case Inlet but the locations are not disclosed to avoid vandalism and/or removal.
In the mid-1800's there was much logging in the area. Silas Stiles, said to have come from Vermont, was one of the first in the area having arrived as early as 1848.
Joseph Sherwood, a millwright from Vermont, and his brother Warren arrived in 1854 and according to title records, obtained land at both Coulter Creek and Sherwood Creek.
On February 7, 1856 they, along with Mr. Allen Stewart, purchased a mill from Mr. Stiles. This was the first instrument filed for record in what was then called Suwamish County, now Mason County, and recorded by J.L. Morrow, County Auditor in Book 1. The contract reads:"This agreement Feb. 7, 1856, between Silas L. Stiles of Suwamish County, and Messrs. Warren and Joseph Sherwood and Allen Stewart, Stiles sells all right, title and interest in all property situated on North Bay of Case's Inlet, known as Claim and Privilege of Silas L. Stiles, improvements, and appurtenances thereunto belonging consisting of Houses, Mill Dam, Mill "Frime,(?)" Tools, Hogs, Hens, Nine Oxen, together with Yokes, Chains and all other articles, except bedding medicines and clothing, on following conditions; "Sherwoods and Stewart to pay $1600 in following manner; Immediately a certain note of Mr. Slaughter, dated Oct. 13, 1854 , for $335, cash $150, and a full cargo of piles for the Barque Oak, now on way to North Bay at rate of 3 1/2 cents per running foot; Balance to be paid on installments of half amount for every cargo of piles furnished to vessels by Sherwoods and Stewart the whole time for payment not to exceed two years. Sherwoods and Stewart to relinquish all claims against said Stiles to date, Stiles to relinquish lot of logs already out and a ship's launch. Signed and filed for records Mar. 27, 1856 by J.L. Morrow, County Auditor. It is unclear if this was on Sherwood Creek or Coulter Creek.
There is little known about Allen Stewart except that , according to Dorothy Clark Gornick in her book titled 1939-1989 Fifty Years In Sherwood Creek Valley, Sherwood Creek Road had been known as Stewart Road and could have been named after him. In her book Dorothy also talks about Joe and Warren Sherwood. According to her account Sherwood Creek was named after him. He built a water power sawmill a short distance up Sherwood Creek. He was one of a family of thirteen and followed two brothers from Vermont driving across the plains with a team of oxen. Only one of the other brothers, Warren, who like Joe was married to a native woman, worked with his brother in the mill which supplied the early settlers with lumber and also shipped a few schooner loads to San Francisco until an accident ended his career. In 1873, while rolling a log at the mill with a peavy the handle broke and the log rolled over his body, killing Joe instantly. Joe Sherwood was noted among the pioneers as man of great strength. Stories of him say he stood six feet seven inches tall and weighed 300 pounds. His widow moved back to the Skokomish Indian reservation from whence she came, with her two small children, a boy and a girl.
Warren continued the mill for a time and then left the country and died elsewhere. Over 100 years later, descendants of the Sherwoods still lived in Mason County.
The steamer Otter took away a boom of logs for Adam Sherwood in the 1890's so the company was a mainstay of the area for many years.
According to a history of Allyn written by Elton Cleveland, at the turn of the century, from three miles southward of the head of North Bay there were nine skidroad camps. He worked as a skidgreaser and spreader-tender as late as 1919 during school vacation. Allyn really went big time when E.E. Overton and his son Hubert brought in a railroad at the head of the bay in 1922. In 1933 or 34 they moved out. After that Hubert's son Peter operated the business. Today it is run by Pete's son David and daughter Laura.
THE TOWN IS PLATTED
Many influential people had visited the area and were impressed with the location and beauty, and it was a very popular vacation spot. Through the prodding and pushing of many business people and land owners, John and Delilah Eberhart and their son, George, joined with James and Deborah Wickersham and platted the town of Allyn and papers were filed September 6th, 1889. Wickersham named the town of Allyn after his friend, Judge Frank Allyn of Tacoma who was very influential in the early development of Allyn. Wickersham, a Tacoma attorney and judge, was experienced at platting towns. He also platted a town on Hood Canal called Bergen just south of Belfair.
John & Delilah Eberhart
THE TOWN DEVELOPS
By the time the town was platted there were already several buildings that had been there long enough to be well established. There were two contractors & builders, a meat market, dry goods store, grocery store, a hotel, general merchandise store, a mill, real estate office, newspaper and Northern Pacific Wharf with the Steamer Messenger carrying goods and passengers daily from Tacoma.
In the first edition of the Allyn Times, November 21, 1889, it was announced that there would be a "grand ball" given at the Allyn House Hotel on Thanksgiving night. Mr. Wroten, the owner, was adding an addition to the hotel so there would be "plenty of room for all who may come." There was also a "grand ball" at the Allyn House on Christmas eve with music and dancing and according to reports it was well attended by everybody in town and many from out of town.
In the final two months of 1889 a Mr. Doyle of Tacoma and Mr. McKenzie of Shelton proposed to put in a lumber camp on Sherwood Creek, and a boat yard and wagon shop was to start up soon across the bay in Victor. The Malany Brothers' new steamer, the Detroit, planned to run into Allyn on a daily basis coming from Tacoma; stopping first at Shelton, and a Mr. Baldwin planned to open a barber shop.
By 1890 Allyn had a post office, school, two saloons, and barbershop. In due time a doctor arrived, a drug store, real estate offices and businesses flourished. The Allyn Times, was published telling of the advantages of living in Allyn. The L.W. Daniels and Son saw mill had an ad running for rough and planed lumber and shingles.
Feb 13, 1890, The Allyn Times announced that "Allyn finally has a good sidewalk completed running the whole length of the town." It was built near the waterfront along Gross Street from one end of town to the other. According to the plat map filed in1889, Gross Street ran from Uhlman St. next to the Windermere Office, to Kaufman St. which is just north of Wade St. According to a lifelong local resident Gross Street was known as ‘Bottom Street’ when she was a child.
Also in early 1890, the question of organizing a 'Board of Trade' for Allyn was being discussed and later established.
There were orders at a local mill for enough material to build 12 buildings in the town and a long public wharf was planned and later built just north of where today's Allyn dock is located.
Mrs. Foyle a dressmaker of Tacoma had recently placed a filing on a forty acre tract one mile east of the head of the bay and would have a house erected and would occupy it in a few weeks with her family.
Mrs. E. Neal, formerly proprietor of a millinery and dressmaking establishment at 715 E. St. in Tacoma erected a house on her claim two miles northeast of Allyn. It's not clear if there was a connection between these two ladies who arrived at the same time.
Also in December11, 1890 it was announced that the Secretarial Institute of the YMCA of the Pacific Northwest, comprising Washington, Oregon and British Columbia, would be located at 'The Beautiful Lake Deborah, Near Allyn" . (known as Lake Devereaux now).
From the Shelton Sentinel: Allyn people are in high glee just now and its real estate is advancing. The Peninsular railroad scheme is going ahead. The trustees of the Secretarial Institute of the Pacific Northwest have decided to locate their secretarial school at Lake Deborah, a beautiful sheet of water just back of Allyn. The YMCA have also purchased a number of lots and expect to make a summer home there, 320 acres has been given to the Secretarial Institute, which has already shown itself a success, having an attendance of about fifty at their first meeting last July and being unanimously considered by those fortunate enough to attend a great success. The possession of a home of their own will undoubtedly stimulate their work,
buildings will be erected on the grounds as they are required and as means are obtained. The grounds are easily accessible being near the line of the Peninsular railroad. The capital stock of the institute $25,000 is being rapidly taken.
Jan 1, 1891: Work commenced on Mr. Rush's boarding house and the new blacksmith bought lot 6, Block 80 in the Plat of Allyn (just north of the Sail On Inn on SR3), and was fitted up and ready for business.
In the late 1800's there was much land speculation as Allyn, Union, Detroit Township (near Grapeview) and Lilliwaup all expected to have railroad connections with the rest of the country. Wickersham and his law partners organized a corporation to build a railroad between Allyn and Bergen. (Bergen was located near where the Storage Unit on SR 3 is located today). It was just west of Clifton and Belfair. Bergen never prospered and was later abandoned and Clifton became part of Belfair. It is commonly believed that Belfair was named Clifton and later renamed to Belfair but early maps show Bergen, Clifton and Belfair as three distinct towns. (SEE MAP BELOW)
In the 1889 issue of The Allyn Times it was reported that “President James Wickersham of Peninsular Railway was in Allyn last week to look over the proposed route of survey for a railroad to Hood's Canal.” Allyn was referred to in these articles as Portage City referring to the geography of the area between Case Inlet and Hood Canal.
April of 1890 Mr. Beach the engineer for Peninsular Railway reported he found a "light grade" down to Hood's Canal. The Terminus was at a place known as "Moran's Camp".
From Tacoma News Paper: "It is likely that the railroad between Allyn & Hood's Canal will be completed by spring. " Several firms subscribed to several thousand dollars worth of stock.
Not long after that a railroad was built running from Allyn to Bergen. It followed the route of current SR3 up past Lake Devereaux (then known as Lake Deborah) and down to Bergen where the traffic light is at SR3 and 106. (SEE MAP BELOW)
In the fall of 1891 and the approaching world recession (1893) it became apparent that the railroads throughout the area were not to be, and many investors lost heavily. The communities at Detroit and Lilliwaup went broke. Allyn survived as logging, farming and oystering continued. Some not so fortunate other small towns throughout Puget Sound, like Bergen, disappeared altogether and are lost to history.
-Maps courtesy of Washington State Archives
A small area adjacent to Sherwood Creek was originally known as Lightville, established June 24, 1874 by Caroline A. and Erastus Light. They sold the land to Puget Mill Company on October 9, 1875 and Lightville was discontinued. The land extended from Sherwood Creek Road to SR3. Sherwood Creek wound through the property for about a thousand feet.
The mosquito fleet was a multitude of private transportation companies running smaller passenger and freight boats on Puget Sound and nearby waterways and rivers. This large group of steamers and sternwheelers plied the waters stopping at every waterfront dock. They were the life blood for industry and passenger traffic until into the 1920's when roads were built connecting Allyn and the North Mason area to the outside world.
Malany Bros., whose logging camp was about 2 miles north of Allyn had a new steamer, the Detroit, running daily from Tacoma and parties were negotiating for the privileges of the new wharf that was built. A water tank was put on the wharf to supply steamboats. The traffic from Hood's Canal that formerly had gone by way of Port Orchard to Seattle was diverted to Tacoma by way of Allyn. The distance is much shorter to market and by coming to Allyn a walk of at least 6 miles was saved.
In February of 1891 the Otter won the contract for daily service between Allyn and Tacoma.
Other steamers servicing Allyn included the Messenger, Colby, Jessie and the Captain Wilson.
The following was written by Elton Cleveland in 1984 while Vic Raisoni , Franks son was still living. "Frank Raisoni operated a grocery store on the site of Vic's present home and owned a succession of three boats hauling supplies for himself as well as others from Tacoma to Allyn servicing other stores along the way. His first boat bought in 1906 was the Bertha which was used until one foggy stormy day she ran into the slag pile at the smelter in Old Tacoma and sank, apparently with no loss of life. Following the Bertha came the Victor 1 which served for several years and was highly regarded by her passengers. She finally became unseaworthy and was beached by the old Allyn Dock and gradually was beat to pieces by waves and wind. Then came the Victor II, a much larger boat than the two previous ones. The tragic capsizing of this boat, resulting in the loss of the lives of two children, plus the increasing popularity of truck and auto traffic, gradually brought an end to the Raisoni boating business in 1914.
Allyn's First School Built 1890
Allyn School With Expansion 1919
THE PORTAGE CITY
Allyn Times, 1890
15 REASONS WHY INVESTMENTS IN ALLYN WILL PAY:
1: Allyn is situated so as to become the distributing center for the great Hoods Canal and North Bay Country
2. it is growing rapidly and will have of 10,000 people in five years or less.
3. Because the Peninsular Railway Company is under contract to build a road from Allyn to Hoods Canal before April 1st 1890.
4. Because there is the largest area of valley land tributary to Allyn of any town on Puget Sound
5 Because it is on the direct line of the proposed Tacoma and Olympic Railway and Navigation Co's road.
6.Because it is only eight miles from the Port Orchard Navy Yard. And on the line of any railroad to that point.
7.Because it is the point to which all supplies for the rich and yet undeveloped region of the Olympic Mountain country must go for distribution.
8.Because the Coulter Railroad from Allyn is a standard gauge road, well ballasted, steel rail, good engines and cars and four miles long in the direction of Port Orchard.
9.The land in the vicinity is the richest in agricultural and timber resources in the State of Washington.
10. It is now undeveloped, cheap, and easily obtained. Property can be bought for small sums.
11. The most magnificent mountain and water scenery in the world is found in this locality - the great white dome of Rainier (south of Seattle)"Tacoma for the balance of mankind is reflected from the clear and transparent depths of the bays and lakes. To the west the jagged peaks of the Olympic range are distantly seen midway between the Sound and the Ocean.
12. The rich, undeveloped mineral region of the Olympic Mountains lies within twenty miles of Allyn. Coal, iron, copper, and the more precious minerals, are known to exist.
13 Because Allyn is situated on the portage between North Bay and Hood's Canal and cannot be passed by when railroads are built into the rich Olympic Region, or the great peninsula, where all the large mills of Washington are built.
14 Because when the government excavates for the canal to joining the waters of Case's Inlet and Hoods Canal, Allyn will be the terminus.
15 Because Allyn now has a wharf, four stores, a saw mill, shingle mill, school house, saloon, hotel, law, real estate and insurance office, newspaper, four miles of railroad in actual daily operation. and many other enterprises built in the last 6 months.
16 Because the Illinois Investment Company owns thousands of acres of land at Allyn, and in that region, and will bend every energy to make that town a success.
"Judge Allyn has sent a handsome gift to the fund which is being raised for the building of a school house in the new town in Mason County, which has been named to his honor." Allyn Times, January 2, 1889.
By January of 1890 the lumber for the school house had been cut and Mr. Saul was waiting for a break in the weather to begin construction . The following week January 9, 1890 Victor Sahl began building the schoolhouse located on block 65 (SW corner of Blackwell & Drum streets today).
According to school records of District 18 an entry dated April 4, 1890 reads: "Completed organization of District 18 with John Eberhart, PM. Cole, W.E. White and John Driscoll, Clerk" Classes opened with 47 students and one teacher" the school Superintendent was C.S. Brumbaugh.
By May they were taking applications and in December the school was opened with Mr. H.S. Wallace as teacher. "The district was fortunate in securing the services of Mr. Wallace, as it is believed he will give us an excellent school. He is eminently fitted for the place and is an earnest and energetic worker in whatever he undertakes." Dec. 1890 Allyn Times.
As it turned out, Mr Wallace didn't have the right credentials and was quickly replaced by Mr. Stuhrman to complete the school year.
In 1909 the school was expanded to include another classroom and partial basement. and moved to Wheelwright Street one block north of Lakeland Drive. Lots 5-10 block 67.
Classes were held at the Allyn School until the spring of 1976 and at that time was the oldest school in Mason County still housing students. It was hoped by some that it could be used as a museum or community hall if it's time as a school had come to an end. "a building that had served the community as a school church, polling place, and community hall, until shortly before 2:38 am on August 12, 1976 when some present-day criminal lit the match that destroyed part of a community." Lou Donnell, Huckleberry Herald
The School bell was saved and still hangs in the square near the Post Office in Allyn Center.
IN COUNTY BUSINESS Nov. 1889: Commission meeting "Petition of Francis Gill and thirty others for the road districts of North Bay and Clifton to be established to conform to the voting precincts of the said places". The districts were established and in
December 1890 an election was held to choose a road overseer for the Allyn District and Mr. A. Knight was elected road overseer.
In 1890 the county was clearing stumps and brush to finish the main road, Sherwood Avenue (SR3) to within a mile of Clifton. In December of 1890 a stage was put on to run daily between Allyn and Clifton.
October 1, 1891: "Notice is hereby given that at a meeting of the county commissioners a petition asking for the laying out of a wagon road to commence at the county road at the southeast corner of Section 14, township 22 Range north Range 1 west, thence west two miles on section line to the southeast corner of section 16, same town and range; thence south one half mile on section line; thence west one half mile, thence south one half mile, thence west to Case Inlet." This is now known as Victor Road and it started at the Wright Bliss Road in Kitsap County.
The county supervisor for the district, Mr. Stephen Willett, decided to open the county road on the east side of Mason Lake to between the outlet of Mason Lake, three miles south. The Road Supervisor, Mr. A. Knight directed the work and this three mile stretch completed the opening of the road between Allyn and Shelton sufficiently to allow wagons to pass over it.
In her Book Fifty Years on Sherwood Creek Dorothy Clark Gornick recalls that Sherwood Creek Road was originally called Stewart Road No. 61 and it went to Mason Lake. For many years it was the only way to get to Shelton unless one went by boat from Allyn. When they arrived in 1939 they could drive over it but much was corduroy and rough going. According to maps in the Mason County Engineer's office in the court house in Shelton, the first road out of Shelton went as far as Oakland Bay and a "trail" road went from Mason Lake to it. As early as 1916 there was a passable road to Shelton from Allyn. Over the years it was improved , straightened out and finally became a black topped highway and the rough road to Shelton from Allyn via Mason Lake was abandoned. In 1937 the State took over the Shelton-Allyn highway and called it SH 14A. In the early 1960's the State Department of Highways changed it to SR3. In the beginning Stewart Road No. 61 began as a dirt trail curving around stumps for easiest travel and gradually became a wider but still winding dirt road. The families living on the road in 1955 signed a petition in April of that year to have the county black-top the road. The county agreed to do it if they had someone bulldoze out the stumps and make it a better road. They got together and paid Earl Anderson to do the work.. Finally on August 17, 1955 the county black-topped the road, seal coated it on Sept. 1, 1955 and it became Sherwood Creek Road.