Oak Harbor in Island County, Washington — The American West (Northwest)
Oak Harbor's Ties to the Sea
'Why do we love the sea? Because she has the power to make us think things we like to think.'
- Robert Henry
The Old Wharf and Steamships
Look offshore toward Maylor's Point and you will see a concrete block that remains from Oak Harbor's historic Maylor Wharf, built in 1893 and destroyed by fire in 1966. In the 1800s logging was big business, with tall ships transporting the island's logs worldwide. By the 1900s, steamships of the Puget Sound Mosquito Fleet visited daily to load passengers, freight and farm products. Farming and shipping were the heart of island life. Big changes came in 1935 when Deception Pass Bridge opened and in 1941 when the Navy arrived and built the PBY Seaplane Base and Ault Field, transforming the economy. The hulk of one early vessel, the steamer Whidby, still lies on the bottom at Maylor's Point where she drifted and burned in 1911. Fire in 1920 destroyed the nearby Byrne Wharf and part of Old Town, just upslope from here. The business district gave up on the area and rebuilt westward.
The Garry Oaks
Remnants of a Garry Oak savannah, for which Oak Harbor is
Our Changing Shoreline... and Flintstone Park
Where you are standing was once a swampy lowland. The Navy completed major dredging of Oak Harbor Bay in 1942, and in 1968 the city further dredged the bay in front of you for a marina. But this marina site was later exchanged for the current location to the southeast. With the dredge spoils the city filled the swampy lowland for a shore-side street. They asked anyone with large rocks, fill or other material to dump it here. The resulting jumble prompted an offhand crack about the Flintstone cartoon characters. The name stuck. The road became Flintstone Freeway and this spot Flintstone Park. A local businessman built the stone car.
[Photo 1 caption reads]
Steamer Whidby was one of many vessels that visited Oak Harbor regularly till the boat burned at Maylor's Point in 1911. Photo courtesy Peggy Darst Townsdin.
[Photo 2 caption reads]
Maylor's Wharf was busy in 1912. This view looks shoreward toward the Oak Harbor waterfront and the area of today's Flintstone
[Photo 3 caption reads]
Maylor's Wharf and Crooked Spit on Maylor's Point nearly touched in the 1940s. The spit was dredged away by the Navy to create space for seaplanes to land. Photo courtesy Peggy Darst Townsdin.
[For more info, visit] www.islandcountymrc.org
Erected by Island County Marine Resources Committee, City of Oak Harbor, and The Oak Harbor Rotary Club.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Horticulture & Forestry • Industry & Commerce • Settlements & Settlers • Waterways & Vessels. A significant historical year for this entry is 1893.
Location. 48° 17.18′ N, 122° 38.85′ W. Marker is in Oak Harbor, Washington, in Island County. Marker is along the waterfront near the former wharf location, in Flintstone Park, south of Dock Street and Bayshore Drive. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Oak Harbor WA 98277, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Flintstone Park Flagpole (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Oak Harbor’s Early “Town” (approx. 0.3 miles away); Beeksma’s Corner (approx. half a mile away); The Skagit, a stately society (approx. 3˝ miles away); U.S. Navy Patrol and Reconnaissance MemorialThe Jolly Boat (approx. 4.8 miles away); Zylstra Law Office (approx. 4.8 miles away); Original Home of Seattle’s Best Coffee (approx. 4.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Oak Harbor.
Also see . . .
1. City of Oak Harbor, Washington. (Submitted on May 26, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Island County Marine Resources Committee. (Submitted on May 26, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Credits. This page was last revised on October 14, 2020. It was originally submitted on May 26, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 386 times since then and 7 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on May 26, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.