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Catalog Number WF 0596
Caption Deception Pass rock quarry
Description View of rock quarry on south side of Fidalgo Island, along the north side of Deception Pass. Manned by prison labor, the rock quarry was established in 1909 when a law was passed that year providing for prison labor to be used to generate road building materials. Funds were allotted for the "installation and operation of rock-crushing plants in different sections of the state. An appropriation of $100,000 made for that purpose; an additional fund of $24,000 made for convict quarters at several of the quarries." Contracts were let that year and by 1910 the camp was in operation with convict housing on nearby Strawberry Island. The 1-27-1910, ANACORTES AMERICAN reported, "State camp has recently undergone great improvements; new engines and boilers installed and sleeping quarters for convicts and officers erected." See WF 0597. The article went on to report that a stockade had been built around all the buildings as the plant was operated by convicts from Walla Walla, "about 30 at present." Crushed rock was used in state highways. The place is a great location "due to rock supply, shipping, and the difficulty of escape." The 8-10-1911, edition did report, however, that "Convicts make good their escape.... One was the cook, the other employed in washroom. Guards had been withdrawn from surveillance on 'long bridge' that led to quarry due to expense of maintaining the surveillance." The rock was obtained from the cliff located 200 feet above the waters of Deception Pass. Electric current was transmitted to the crusher from a powerhouse 2000 feet west near a wharf on the pass; the crusher was capable of producing 600 tons of crushed rock per day. After being crushed, rock was sized and delivered by gravity into bins on a bunker at water's edge and then handled by water transportation. The water supply came from Pass Lake by means of a water ram; see also YARNS OF SKAGIT COUNTY. The 3-16-1911, ANACORTES AMERICAN reported, "Fidalgo quarry has banner month: 1167 cubic yards crushed rock. Presently there are 48 convicts and five officers there. Superintendent is M. H. Gilliam." By 1912, however, state funding for the plant had apparently slowed dramatically. Only six prisoners were reportedly there that year. The 6-12-1912, edition reported that the Pomona Grange protested to state officials against the Deception Pass rock crusher because it "wasn't efficient and too expensive." The plant was apparently abandoned around 1913. The 12-17-1914, paper reported on the death of the plant's caretaker Robert McIntyre, "a pioneer of Fidalgo Island". McIntyre was killed in a freak accident when he slipped off his boat, the BONITA, while docking and was crushed between the boat and the dock at the Deception Pass Rock Plant while his wife "made a futile effort to free him." That article said that McIntyre and his wife had been appointed as plant caretakers a year ago, had lived there alone, and "The plant had not been in operation for some time." After McIntyre's death, the state apparently abandoned the quarry and it was dismantled in 1924.
Photographer Unknown
Collection Wallie Funk Collection
Subjects Place - Fidalgo Island
Structure - quarry
Credit line Donated by Wallie Funk, Wallie Funk Collection
Place Fidalgo Island, WA
Search Terms Deception Pass Rock Quarry
rock-crushing plant
Pomona Grange
convict camp
Deception Pass
Fidalgo Rock Quarry
Object Name Print, Photographic