Search

Cultural History Pages:

Search for a tour by category:

Search site:

Portage

A narrow spit of land that connects Vashon with Maury Island, which is not an island but a mile-wide peninsula that parallels Vashon Island for five miles along its southeastern border. An alternate name used on some maps is Portage Landing.

Lying between the two insular bodies is the picturesque bay of Quartermaster Harbor, a long, slim, twisting body of water. Portage received its name from the early settlers who carried their small boats from Quartermaster Harbor across the low strip of land at this point to Tramp Harbor on East Passage.

Images

Ca. 1914 view of Van Olinda Store at Portage, Vashon Island.

Source: Washington State Historical Society

Ca. 1905 view of Portage.

Source: Washington State Historical Society

Points of Interest Points of Interest icon

Portage Store

The former Portage Store (1910), originally served as a general store and post office.

Tramp Harbor

On the east shore of Vashon and Maury islands, on East Passage, northeast of Quartermaster Harbor, this place got its name from travelers who carried small boats across the spit from Quartermaster Harbor to Tramp Harbor. Indeed, it was quite a tramp, unless there were several persons to assist. It is shown on maps published in 1894 as Trump Harbor.

Quartermaster Harbor

A long, narrow bay between Maury Island and the south end of Vashon Island on Dalco Passage, once an important shipbuilding and dry dock center. It was named by the 1841 Wilkes Expedition for the petty officers known as quartermasters serving in his fleet.

Portage Ferry Dock

Now known as the Tramp Harbor Dock, this small park on the eastern shore was the site of Vashon Island’s first automobile ferry, which traveled to Des Moines between 1916 and 1922. Previously, Japanese American farmers and other islanders had used the site to access the steamers of the “Mosquito Fleet.”

Return