Tag Archives: Steilacoom

There was a famous aquarium at Salter’s Point


Dear daughter, her dear friend and I were looking for relieve from the heat on June 5 and we decided on a beach. Dear daughter suggested that beach where one goes on a footbridge over the railroad station. So after my online community and I figured out where that was, Salter’s Point at 91 Champion St. in Steilacoom, off we went. The footbridge is now a steep metal affair with gates on both sides of the stairs. It was constructed in 2014 after the prior wooden bridge was damaged and closed. About 60 trains a day pass along the tracks.

I was expecting to find some natural beauty, relief from the heat and perhaps a couple of small crabs. And indeed I found all that, but I also found an interesting history.

The covered picnic area built in 1939 as part of the Federal Works Progress Administration (WPA). Per Wikipedia the WPA “was the largest and most ambitious American New Deal agency, employing millions of unemployed people (mostly unskilled men) to carry out public works projects, including the construction of public buildings and roads. In a much smaller but more famous project, Federal Project Number One, the WPA employed musicians, artists, writers, actors and directors in large arts, drama, media, and literacy projects.”

The remains of a marina and store is located at the southerly end of the park. The property was destroyed by fire in 2009. The fire commanded the attention of three fireboats and more than 50 firefighters from eight fire departments. In 1987 there was a homicide at the store (Wang’s Maritime Marina); two teens killed the store’s owner. In close proximity to the marina ruins was the Soundview Inn and Boathouse, which was a boardinghouse with family style meals. They also had boat rentals.

The site of the Deep Sea Aquarium is also located at Salter’s Point. It was constructed by Ed Bair, brother of Bair (Bair Drugstore). The aquarium featured an extensive collection of sea life including a seal that lived under the porch where it could swim depending on the tide. The aquarium was promoted all over the western states, but closed in the 1930s.

Here are some interesting articles about the location.

A first person account about the aquarium 

“The evolution of Saltar’s Point,” Steilacoom Historical Museum Quarterly, XIV (Summer, 1985) p. l, 3-6.

City of Steilacoom Park Info

Fire destroys Steilacoom Marina and Store


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Steilacoom Ferry Landing

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The Steilacoom-Anderson Island ferry has its primary ferry landing in Steilacoom. Ferries depart to Ketron Island and Anderson Island and previously McNeil Island. The ferry route is owned and operated by Pierce County. The first ferry went into service on April 1, 1922. 

Bair Bistro in Steilacoom

Today I had lunch with my dear friends at Bair Bistro (Living Museum, Restaurant & Country Store) at 1617 Lafayette Street in Steilacoom, WA 98388, (253) 588-9668. Everyone in the group seemed to enjoy their meals and the service was good.

This building, which was constructed in 1895 used to be Bair Drug and Hardware. Information provided by the business via Yelp states “The Bair Drug and Hardware building has been in existence since 1895. Since that time, it has been a post office, drug store, hardware store and restaurant. Currently, the Bair Drug and Hardware building is home of The Bair Bistro. However, the dining area is full of relics, tools and gadgets from its earlier days.”

The newest use, The Bair Bistro, opened on Mother’s Day in 2010

Their Facebook page is here

Let The Holidays Begin — The Orr House, Steilacoom

 So many great potentials for today’s New Place of the Day…the Steilacoom Library (libraries are always good), the Bair Drug and Hardware Store (a restaurant) and the Orr House, which is part of the Steilacoom Historic Museum Association. The one I’m least likely to get back to anytime soon is the Orr House, so that is the New Place of the Day. Construction on the house began in 1857 and originally the first floor was a wagon shop. The house which is at 1811 Rainier Street and has lovely marine views. Best of all, it was decorated by volunteers for the holiday season. The volunteers were dressed in period attire and spent quality time sharing information about each of the rooms.

Each room, except two, had a mouse and a clock, though I didn’t manage to find them all.