South of Burton, the highway follows the winding shore, ascending high sand bluffs with an ever-widening panorama of small bays. Here, the country becomes rougher in character, broken by huge thinly timbered ravines.
Shawnee House embodies in its construction, design, ownership, and history an urban affluence which found its expression in the building of homes on the beaches of Puget Sound in the first quarter of the twentieth century. The western shore of lower Quartermaster Harbor on Vashon Island was the location of one such community, Magnolia Beach, which was founded by wealthy Tacoma-area residents. The imposing architecture, expansive gardens and grounds, and major Mosquito Fleet dock make Shawnee House the grandest estate of this era. Shawnee House is also significant due to its architect, Max A. Van House, who moved to Vashon Island as a young child, lived close to the Shaw family, and designed Shawnee House while working for the Tacoma architectural firm of Heath and Gove. While Shawnee House is significant in its representation of an era, the original Shaw property is also important to Native peoples, historically as the site of the major outlet of the Fisher Creek Watershed, today known as Fisher Creek.