Deception Pass State Park in Island County, Washington — The American West (Northwest)
Before the Bridge
Welcome to Deception Pass State Park
It's hard to imagine Deception Pass without the bridge. But until 1935, the gap between Fidalgo Island and Whidbey Island could only be crossed by boat. In 1924 a small ferry called the Deception Pass began running between Yokeko Point and Hoypus Point. It was owned and operated by Berte Olson, the first female captain in the state of Washington. Service was, by most accounts, infrequent, and the route was often canceled due to turbulent water conditions. Patrons summoned the ferry by hitting an old saw with a mallet. Fares were 50 cents for a car and driver, and 75 cents for larger vehicles. Though she was barely five feet tall, Olson was known as a force to be reckoned with. For years she fought to prevent the construction of the bridge, even persuaded the governor to veto a bill funding the project that had passed the state legislature unanimously. The ferry went out of service shortly after the bridge was completed.
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 Wallace Bridge and Structural Company was 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 Bridges & Viaducts • Environment • Man-Made Features • Waterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) series list. A significant historical month for this entry is July 1850.
Location. 48° 24.46′ N, 122° 38.649′ W. Marker is in Deception Pass State Park, Washington, in Island County. Marker is on State Highway 20, on the left when traveling south. Marker is located on Pass Island, between the northern and southern sections of the Deception Island 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. A different marker also named Deception Pass (a few steps from this marker); Crossing the Pass (a few steps from this marker); 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. 0.2 miles away); U.S. Navy Patrol and Reconnaissance Memorial (approx. 4.7 miles away); Douglas FirTown of La Conner 1873-1914 (approx. 6.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Deception Pass State Park.
More about this marker. This marker has replaced by the Crossing the Pass marker that was in the same location.
Credits. This page was last revised on October 14, 2020. It was originally submitted on May 29, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 541 times since then and 13 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on May 29, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. 2. submitted on May 26, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. 3. submitted on May 29, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. 4, 5. submitted on May 26, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. 6. submitted on May 29, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.