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Deception Pass State Park in Island County, Washington — The American West (Northwest)
 

Deception Pass

A Mysterious Channel

 

— Welcome to Deception Pass State Park —

 
Deception Pass Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., May 19, 2014
1. Deception Pass Marker
Inscription.  

The swirling waters that pass in and out of the narrow channels between Whidbey Island and Fidalgo Island have captivated visitors to this area for thousands of years. Salish Native American tribes were the first human inhabitants of these islands and navigated the waters in cedar canoes as they traveled westward to the San Juans to fish. The first European explorers to chart the islands in the late 1700s mistakenly assumed Whidbey and Fidalgo to be part of the mainland and thought the powerful currents flowing between them indicated a mighty river to the east. Captain George Vancouver realized this mistake and coined the name "Deception Pass" on the 10th of June in 1792 as he explored the Northwest Passage.

The Deception Pass Bridge
Whidbey Island residents began lobbying the state government to fund the construction of a bridge to Fidalgo Island, which already had a bridge to the mainland in the 1890s. After decades of broken promises and two vetoes, a bill was finally passed and construction of the bridge began in August 1934 during the Great Depression.

The Wallace Bridge and Structural Company was
Deception Pass Marker Detail image. Click for full size.
By Deception Pass State Park, undated
2. Deception Pass Marker Detail
hired to build the two-span bridge at a cost of $420,000. Much of the physical labor was done by local out-of-work farmers. Young Civilian Conservation Corps enrollees also assisted with the approach routes, using dynamite to blast through the rock on both sides. Construction took just under 12 months. The bridge was completed on July 25th and dedicated on July 31st, 1935. Construction would have been finished a day earlier, but when it came time to lower the final section, it didn't fit. An engineer quickly realized that the hot summer weather had caused the steel to expand. At 4 a.m. the steel had cooled and the last piece was lowered into place.

The Bridge by the Numbers
• Total length: 1,487 feet (Canoe Pass span: 511 feet, Deception Pass span: 976 feet)
• Road width: 22 feet
• Height: approximately 180 feet from the water (depending on tides)
• Roughly 15,000 cars cross the bridge each day
 
Erected by Deception Pass Park Foundation, Deception Pass State Park, and the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Bridges & ViaductsEnvironmentSettlements & Settlers
Deception Pass Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., May 19, 2014
3. Deception Pass Marker
Waterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) 🏞️ series list.
 
Location. 48° 24.593′ N, 122° 38.827′ W. Marker is in Deception Pass State Park, Washington, in Island County. Marker is on Washington Route 20, on the right when traveling south. Marker is along a pull-out about 100 yards northwest of the Deception Pass Bridge. 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 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Crossing the Pass (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named Deception Pass (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named Deception Pass (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named Deception Pass (approx. 0.4 miles away); a different marker also named Deception Pass (approx. 0.4 miles away); U.S. Navy Patrol and Reconnaissance Memorial (approx. 4.8 miles away); Douglas Fir (approx. 5.6 miles away); Ship Harbor (approx. 6.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Deception Pass State Park.
 
Deception Pass Looking East From Bridge image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., May 19, 2014
4. Deception Pass Looking East From Bridge
Deception Pass image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., May 19, 2014
5. Deception Pass
Looking NNW from bridge toward marker
(not visible in distance)
 
 
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 368 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on May 26, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.
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Feb. 26, 2021