Museum logo
Museum logo

Photo Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Catalog Number D.IX.089
Description The Deception Pass ferry ran between Cornet Bay on Whidbey Island and Yokeko Point on Fidalgo Island. In 1920 Berte Olson bought the line and telegraphed her husband Augie in Alaska to return from fishing to help run the ferry. During the early 1920s, they used their launch RAINBOW and the launch FAVORITE (owned by their partner R. Neil) to tow scows to carry autos and trucks across the pass. In 1922 they commissioned L. H. Coolidge of Seattle to build a ferry big enough to carry twelve Model T Fords. He built the boat pictured here, DECEPTION PASS, at Henry Fryverg's in Ballard; it was 64' long with a 24' beam. They charged 50 cents for a car and 10 cents for passengers. The Olson's ferry was a lifeline to the Whidbey Island community, particularly in times of medical emergency as the island lacked a hospital. Many elderly residents recalled it in their oral histories taken for Ebey's Landing National Historic Registry (NHR); see ELNHR oral history subject index. The Olsons also actively promoted the boat with the tourist trade. The 7-11-1930 ISLAND COUNTY TIMES reported in an article titled "Deception Ferry Busy", "Whidbey Island is growing to be more of a tourist paradise from week to week reports Mrs. Agnes Olson of the Deception Pass ferry line ...[which is] doing much to call attention to the Island." According to the article, the Olsons established rhododendron parks on Whidbey (near Penn Cove) and gave their passengers free tickets entitling them to pick any quantity of our state flower in the parks. The Olsons also vehemently opposed the construction of the Deception Pass Bridge, often personally lobbying in Olympia. The 4-10-1930, ISLAND COUNTY TIMES reported, "Ferry line is defended". Mrs. Olson is quoted in the article about her lobbying efforts in Olympia. Olson maintained "her family had all they owned invested in the ferry and stood to lose the entire amount of $30,000 if the bridge were built. She maintained that when bridges were built across the Columbia River, ferry owners were compensated. She's not anti-bridge, just trying to fight for preservation of the savings of a lifetime." According to the Olson's son, Gil, his parents "received only token payment for the loss of their livelihood." See WF 2200, 3294, 3298. After the bridge's construction Berte Olson moved to Hood Canal and ran the ferry at Shine; she became known as "Tugboat Annie".
All of the images in 2001.048 were donated by Frank Castiglia. He was a member of the CCC Company 266 from New York. The first camp was set up in 1934 on the south side of the Deception Pass bridge construction site. Castiglia was 1st cook. At 5'5" he had many interests and buddies which are captured in these images.

There were two Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camps in the area. One was located at Rosario on Fidalgo Island (camp #948) and the other at Cornet Bay (Camp #266) on Whidbey Island. The men, ages 18-25 (though some were younger), worked on making picnic and kitchen shelters at Bowman Bay, a ranger house at Deception Pass State Park, the road to Bowman Bay campground, approaches to Deception Pass Bridge, Deception Pass Bridge and Park, constructed the log railing along the road (Hwy 20) by Deception Pass State Park. They also built Hwy 20 and other roads, cut hiking trails and blasted rock for parking lots, and more. There was generally 206 men in 2 companies, with 60 to each barrack. Work days were 8 hours, 5 days a week.

The workers earned $30.00 per month, of which $25.00 was sent home to the family (which was deducted from any federal subsidy, i.e. welfare received), leaving the worker with $5.00 per month.
Date 1930c.
Subjects Transportation - Maritime
Place Fidalgo Island, WA
Search Terms ferry
Hoypus Point
Yokeko Point
Deception Pass
Object Name Print, Photographic