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Contributing Institutions

Vashon Library

(206) 463-2069

17210 Vashon Hwy. S.W.

Vashon Island, WA 98070


Vashon-Maury Island Heritage Association

(206) 463-7808

10105 Bank Road SW

P.O. Box 723

Vashon Island, WA 98070


Vashon College

(206) 408-8022

18850 103rd Ave SW, Suite 220

Vashon Island, WA 98070


About This Collection

The Vashon Island Heritage Collection merges items of historical value from a number of collections on Vashon and Maury Island. Maps, photographs, and memorabilia illustrating the Island's past and now held by the Vashon-Maury Island Heritage Museum have been merged with memoirs and clippings from the Vashon Library and documents from Vashon College to provide information in four subject categories.


The first, Journals & Memoirs, presents memoirs, journals, and local history by Islanders, together with photographs of them and their neighborhoods. Marjorie Rose Stanley's Search for Laughter is an account of life on Vashon Island from 1877 through 1965, especially rich in stories of Burton and the inner Quartermaster Harbor. Florence Harger Burd brought her daughter, Florence (Tad), to Paradise Cove in 1923, and kept a journal, Florence Montague Burd, 1923-1926, narrating their day-to-day activities. Bill Rendall, who was a boy when his family moved to eastern Maury in 1885, wrote Memoirs of Maury Island describing pioneer activities there in the 1890s through 1935.


The second subject collection, Maps and Periodicals, documents community settlement patterns and culture through contemporary maps, several newspaper issues, and a short-lived magazine. The maps, dating from c.1895 through the 1920s, clearly portray the early orientation toward the saltwater shoreline. Served by the Mosquito Fleet of competing steamboats, small communities grew up around the island perimeter long before roads connected them. People went to the markets in Tacoma and Seattle to sell their produce and procure their necessities. The famous "strawberry" issue of the Vashon Island News, dated June 17, 1915, and two issues of the Vashon Island Press from August 25, 1896, and January 26, 1897, give glimpses into the issues of the day and the activities of community leaders. Islander Janet Haugen, born in Cedarhurst Canyon, founded a monthly magazine called the Nor'Wester, published for Seattle and vicinity in 1934. Its seven issues produced colorful portraits of the cultural scene of the day and featured many fascinating stories about Vashon farmers and pioneers, including an account of Lucy Gerand, a native S'Homamish who lived most of her life in Quartermaster Harbor.


Lucy features prominently in the third subject collection, Vashon's First Peoples. She was born in a longhouse on Quartermaster Harbor in the 1840s, was present at the Treaty of Medicine Creek in 1854, was interviewed about Vashon place names by anthropologist T.T. Waterman between 1918 and 1920, and gave testimony before a U.S. Court of Claims in 1927, describing the number, size, and occupants of the longhouses that lined the shorelines of Quartermaster Harbor in the middle of the 19th century before the S'Homamish were removed to the Puyallup Reservation. A few native people continued to live on Vashon into the early 1900s, as photos illustrate, digging clams, and riding Mosquito Fleet boats to Tacoma to sell them. Baskets and tools from the S'Homamish are displayed at the Vashon Heritage Museum, along with a plaque of their Vashon place names, carved by Marshall Sohl.


Vashon College operated from 1892 to 1912, when fire destroyed key buildings. This collection includes photos and memorabilia of the first college on Vashon Island, the original contract between the Vashon College Board of Trustees and the first college president, the 1904-05 Vashon College and Academy catalog, an issue of the College Exponent written by students, and a copy of the Blue Book of Vashon College and Academy detailing rules of behavior and the daily schedule.

Rights & Use

Some items from Vashon Island Heritage are under protection of copyright. You must contact the Vashon Island Library, Vashon-Maury Island Heritage Association, or Vashon College for permission to use the items in this collection.

By the use of these digital images, texts, audio, and video recordings, users agree to the following:

View the Washington Rural Heritage copyright statement for additional information.

About This Site

Vashon Island Heritage is a project of Washington Rural Heritage, a collection of historically significant materials residing in libraries, heritage institutions, and private collections throughout Washington State.  The collection includes photographs, documents, and artifacts which tell the stories of Washington's small and rural communities.

Vashon Island Library

The Vashon Island Library is a branch of the King County Library System, whose mission is to provide free, open and equal access to ideas and information to all members of the community. The Vashon Library maintains a small archive of historical materials and primary sources documenting the past of Vashon and Maury Island. It includes maps, memoirs by early residents and pioneers, microform collections of Island newspapers spanning 115 years, photographs and sketches of historic buildings, a file of materials about Island author Betty MacDonald, and collections of clippings, photographs and reports on historical topics, including the first peoples of the Island and the development of ferry service.

Vashon-Maury Island Heritage Museum

The Vashon-Maury Island Heritage Museum is housed in a 1907 former Lutheran church in the town of Vashon. The building was renovated to serve as the primary exhibit facility for the collections of the Vashon-Maury Island Heritage Association, whose mission is to collect, preserve, exhibit and interpret the history of Vashon and Maury Islands. Collections include artifacts, maps, books, newspapers, indexes, clippings, school yearbooks, phone directories and an extensive photo archive.

Vashon College

The first Vashon College started in 1892 and was one of the oldest colleges in Washington State. In 1912, classes were suspended due to an extensive fire. The second Vashon College was incorporated as a Washington State nonprofit in 2005, and in 2006 classes resumed with the inaugural class, "Vashon 101". The mission of Vashon College is to provide lifelong learning opportunities to meet the interests, needs, and requirements of our Island community and beyond.

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