A Serene Evening at the Steilacoom Dock

Drive into the historic waterfront town of Steilacoom and the first thing you’re sure to notice is a large readerboard proclaiming all of its ‘firsts’. First incorporated city, first sawmill, first jail….and the list goes on. Not sure why anyone would advertise the first jail, but marketing isn’t my strong point. But get through all the quaint historic homes build by sea captains of yesteryear, and the recent monstrosities build by the nouveau riche and you’ll find the real charm of the place; the waterfront and old dock system.

Steilacoom Dock


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Behind the Photo

I believe that the first thing people notice when looking at this photograph is the vista of Puget Sound fading off into the background. The dock is framed by Anderson Island and the bushes. They work in concert to draw your eye to the dock and M/V Christine Anderson which service the residents of both Anderson and Ketron Island. That was what first caught me eye.

But that’s not what prompted me to take the photo or what I was really trying to capture in this shot. It’s the texture. Look at the middle, back and foregrounds a second time and see if you can see what I’m talking about. I’d welcome your comments and thoughts below.


Apparently the origins of the name for this city of first are lost to history. There are more theories than I’m willing to write down, but I think it’s safe to say it’s a butchering of a local tribes name for the area. We do know that it was founded by Lafayette Balch, a sea captain from Maine, which I love. He sounds like he should be a central character on “Black Sails”!

At one time it was a thriving little hamlet, with as many brothels and churches which again just seems to fitting. Yep, our little town if full of color.



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