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Catalog Number WF 2153
Caption Rosario Beach
Description View of Rosario Beach. One cabin is visible on the left side of the photo. The postcard image is labeled, "#28, Rosario Beach, Brady."

The Rosario area, long used by Indians of the region, was first settled by whites in the late 1870s with Thomas Sharpe, formerly of Minnesota, leading the way. The 3-29-1884 NORTHWEST ENTERPRISE reported, "Tom Sharpe has opened a good road from his place to Deception Pass. All obstructions have been removed and it is now possible to travel with a wagon and horses from Anacortes clear through to the pass." By April 1884 Dr. A. C. Bowman, brother of Anacortes founder Amos Bowman, had settled at Rosario with his family and mother, naming his new home Mt. Hygeia. He became the namesake of Bowman Bay. But by that time the Rosario area had already gained renown for its beauty -- and its draw for tourists. The 9-20-1880 Puget Sound Mail noted, "A pleasant little picnic party of ladies and Gentlemen of LaConner at Deception Pass." The 5-17-1884 NORTHWEST ENTERPRISE reported, "A party of picnickers chartered the ARROW for a trip to Deception Pass to spend the day." On 6-14-1884 that paper reported, "The grand and picturesque scenery about Deception Pass and the splendid camping grounds on the beautiful bays on each side of the Pass are making that place a famous resort for picnic parties. Scarcely a week now passes that parties do not go there for a day or two of outdoor enjoyment on the seashore facing the Straits of Fuca."

Much of the Rosario area, however, was a military reservation at the time, a component of the War Department's Military Reservations numbers 14 and 15 on either side of Deception Pass. The 10-25-1884 NORTHWEST ENTERPRISE reported, "The commission of artillery officers appointed by Gen. Miles to examine the military reservation at Deception Pass came over on the steamer Holyoke last week and their reports recommending earthworks and torpedoes laid down the pass will be made at the opening of Congress. The 4-5-1893 SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER recommended that military forts be built at Port Wilson, Admiralty Head, Marrowstone Point, and Deception Pass which is "excellent for batteries and could quickly be made impregnable to hostile attacks." While the first three forts were constructed, action was never taken to build a military complex at Deception Pass. In 1922 the military ceded all claim to the area around Deception Pass. The 2-25-1922 ANACORTES AMERICAN announced, "Rosario Beach to be given to state for a public park." It was not, however, a completely altruistic offer from the War Department, which had intended to sell land to private parties at the highest bid. When word of the proposed sale leaked to the public, it "aroused a storm of protest from all parts of the state, " including many from Fidalgo who knew that Rosario had "one of the few bathing beaches along the Sound that was not held by private individuals and which was open to the use of the general public without payment of toll to private owners." Douglass Allmond, Anacortes businessman, founder of the ANACORTES AMERICAN, and head of the Deception Pass Park Committee, conducted "negotiations with Federal and State authorities whereby the government cedes military reservations on Fidalgo and Whidbey Islands to the Sate of Washington for park purposes." The land was transferred on July 20, 1922, and the first resort was soon in operation with a restaurant, cottages, and rowboats.
Date 1920s c. late
Photographer BRADY, Ferd
Collection Wallie Funk Collection
Subjects Recreation
Place - Fidalgo Island
Park
Credit line Donated by Wallie Funk, Wallie Funk Collection
Search Terms Rosario Beach
cabin
boats
Object Name Negative