Scope it out… west

Looking straight out from the bungalow’s seawall,  the majestic backdrop of the Olympic Mountain range dominates the view to the west. The Olympics dictate the weather patterns for the entire region. The Pacific Ocean side of the range features rain forests that garner 200+ inches of avg annual rain. Then onto the north east side of the range where a rain shadow effect only allows 16 to 20″ of rainfall.


The Olympic range looks more spectacular than the actual elevation would suggest. The highest mountain is Mt Olympus (not visible from Seattle) which is just a hair under 8000 feet. It’s the steep slopes that give the range world class ruggedness.

The most prominent peaks viewed at the seawall are from left to right… Mt. Ellinor, Washington, Stone, The Brothers (double peak) and finally Mt Constance being the highest in view at 7,756′.

The small settlement of Rochester can be seen just south of where the WA State ferries make their way out of site through Rich Passage. The town of around 5000 people enjoy great views of the Seattle skyline, Mt Rainier to the southeast, a close up view of the west side of Blake Island & of course, us.

Once the main dock was built in 1908, Rochester was a regular stop for the historic Mosquito fleet steamers that once served most all of the cargo/passenger needs in Puget Sound. In 1925, a regular ferry route was established between West Seattle’s Alki & Rochester until the Alki terminal washed away in 1936. The run shifted to downtown Seattle until it was permanently discontinued in ’49.


This photo courtesy of Trip Advisor, highlights Manchester’s view of Blake Island, distant Seattle skyline and the dock that yours truly uses to tie up on when waiting for the crab pots to fill. They have a great bar about a block up to enjoy your favorite beverage!

Blake is the small island looking straight across. The entire island was designated a State Marine Park back in 1959. Prior to that, it is rumored that Chief Sealth of the Suquamish tribe was born on the island back around 1783. The city of Seattle was eventually named after the peace keeping chief. The island was renamed Trimble Island back in the early 1900’s when a Seattle millionaire with same name purchased it. The Trimble’s lived in their island mansion until the late 20’s & eventually sold it to investors in ’36.

The island was said to be used extensively by bootleggers back in the prohibition years. Whiskey from Canada would make it’s way down the sound where the island could be used to hide out. Long time West Seattle residents tell stories of a resident bootlegger that squatted on the island to make hootch.



More recently, Blake Island was used by President Bill Clinton as the site for the first APEC meeting. Argosy Cruises conducts scheduled runs to the island out of the Seattle waterfront typically starting mid April through late September. A native Indian longhouse hosts a traditional salmon bake and dance performances. I personally enjoy hiking the island with my dog and watching the deer grazing out in front of the small marina. It’s a true utopian gem set in the middle of large populations.


Tillicum Village and the marina breakwater can be seen from the seawall with help of the binoculars.

Coming soon… south

Scope it out… north

In case you’re wondering what landmarks are lying out in front of the bungalow’s seawall, here’s a brief description from north to south.


The strip of park you see just a few houses up the shoreline is named Emma Schmitz Memorial Viewpoint. Pioneers Emma & Ferdinand Schmitz built their homestead mansion named San Souci just across the street from the lower walkway in what’s now called Mee Kwa Mooks Park. The Schmitz used to launch their yacht named the San Souci II on rails just off the beach. You can still see the concrete footings to the day.


If you lean over the seawall and follow the shoreline to the right for about a mile, you’ll see the Alki Pt lighthouse which was established in 1913 to replace a kerosene lantern that was mounted on a post. The lighthouse marks the southern point of Elliot Bay which serves Seattle waterfront & shipping. Want to tour it? The Coast Guard Auxiliary typically conducts tours during the weekends starting on Memorial Day until sometime late in the summer. Please contact the Alki Lighthouse Project Officer at if you have any questions.


Looking straight up Puget Sound is the route to Admiralty Inlet, Jaun de Fuca Straits and then west out to the Pacific Ocean. Notable towns and landmarks along the way on the east side are the cities of Edmonds and Everett as well as the 4th largest island (55 miles long) in the lower 48 named Whidby Is. On the west side of this passage are the peninsula towns of Kingston and historic Port Townsend who’s proud slogan is “We’re all here because we’re not all there!”

Looking up the sound on the other side of the water is 10 mile long Bainbridge Island. You’ll see the regular Seattle-Winslow ferry run pull in & out of Eagle Harbor around mid island. The other ferry route you’ll notice is the Seattle-Bremerton run that sails around the south end of Bainbridge through Rich Passage terminating near the naval shipyard in Bremerton. It’s not too uncommon to see aircraft carriers or subs using the same route. The SW end of the island (near Restoration Pt) is where the most filthy rich Seattlittes built their mansions back in the 20’s. The exclusive gated plat features a 9 hole waterfront golf course and a homeowner’s restriction that no property is allowed to have a mortgage lien!

Bainbridge is the actual island that the acclaimed movie Snow Falling on Cedars was based on.  Much of the Japanese community prior to WWII originated from working at the lumber mill located in Blakley Harbor. From the late 1800’s through the early 1900’s, the Port Blakley Mill Company along with Hall Brothers Shipbuilders were considered to be the largest lumber producer in the world. Several ethnic based communities were built along the small harbor providing labor and support for the mill. They even fielded their own baseball club that played other large scaled Puget Sound area mills. When the wind really starts picking up in early Fall, I’ll pull anchor & sail sv Pointless over to Blakley Harbor for cover from the south westerlies.



Part 2 covers the west…

As the story goes…

This home looked quite a bit different when it was originally built in 1926.  IMAG1324
As the story goes, this home was built to live in while the main home, a white Mediterranean two story home, was under construction. The Mediterranean home, which was built in 1928, has not seen the same dramatic changes to it’s exterior as the “Beach Drive Bungalow” has over the years.

We have lived in the property next door for just over 10 years and have heard many stories about these two homes. We’ve been told that both homes were originally built by a ship captain. When I look at this historic photo with the port hole windows, I believe it! The home is also very boat-like with lots of cubby-styled storage and the small downstairs bathroom feels like a ship’s head (bathroom on a boat).

Over the years, the home has been added onto from just about every side possible.


In this photo, you can see a small portion of our home’s tile roof, set back behind the bungalow. Our two properties were together until they were separated in the 40’s. The white two story home actually has a driveway that curves through the bungalow’s lot to their garage and carport. The other white house with the chimney to the right is the grey cape-cod style home two houses own from the bungalow. The fence in the front yard in this picture has been replaced with a hedge.

We purchased the bungalow in December 2015 and are happy to finally have the properties “reunited” together again. We’re enjoying sprucing up the bungalow…who knows, maybe she’ll have port hole windows once again!