Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Old Postcard Wednesday--Deception Pass Bridge, Puget Sound, Washington

First, let's get our bearings on the location:
Puget Sound is a sound in the U.S. state of Washington and part of the Salish Sea. It is a complex estuarine system of interconnected marine waterways and basins, with one major and one minor connection to the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Pacific Ocean — Admiralty Inlet being the major connection and Deception Pass being the minor. Flow through Deception Pass accounts for about 2% of the total tidal exchange between Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Puget Sound extends approximately 100 miles (160 km) from Deception Pass in the north to Olympia, Washington in the south. Its average depth is 205 feet (62 m) and its maximum depth, off Point Jefferson between Indianola and Kingston, is 930 feet (280 m). The depth of the main basin, between the southern tip of Whidbey Island and Tacoma, Washington, is approximately 600 feet (180 m).

The term "Puget Sound" is used not just for the body of water but also the general region centered on the sound. [Source: Wikipedia]

Next, let's watch something for some historical background with a surprising twist from a videographer's point of view (video runs 6:10 interesting minutes) .......

Here is another way of knowing Deception Pass....from a poet's voice:

                                 —by Karen Swenson

A child's microcosm of monsters—
tide pools linger behind the sea in Deception Pass.
Who's the ogre in your ladle-dip of rock
surrounded by bruised knuckle ridges of mussels?

The hermit crabs hand out of their orphaned shells.
Are they curious women at slum windows?
Or only epigrams for adolescents
on how to outgrow philosophies?

Sea anemones—underwater dandelions -
are a forest of faceless women
with long hair for Don Juan to adore.
The ultimate in retractable females
they become stumps at a touch.

Do you prefer the Jonah crabs
who do-si-do invisible partners
on the points of their claws, eyes hanging out
like Christmas balls on barren trees?

Or would you leave the masquerade of mannerisims,
these calcarious individuals—the animals are one by one—
to build a mortal fortification,
a sand castle without tenants, waiting
for the eviction of the sea in Deception Pass.

.....and from a photographer's eye:

Deception Pass Bridge by ~midnightfaery on deviantART

This is a snippet from a post by a travel writer for Sights in Seattle (click link for full post and great photos):
The Deception pass bridge connects Whidbey island to Fidalgo Island which form the gateway to the San Juan islands. This bridge falls on the western part of I-20, also known as the north cascade scenic highway. We had planned to visit the North Cascades National Park and while researching , found out that I-20 runs on the south end of the park and is also referred to as the scenic highway. So, when we traced I-20 to the west of the park, it went over many islands. Zooming in on the route in Google Earth, deception pass bridge emerged out of nowhere and looked awesome. So, we took a deroute to fit in this place also into our itinerary. We were glad we did so :-)

Evidently, the travel writer and family did not consult Google Earth in early 2011 when a certain glitch made the bridge look not so welcoming! The Daily Mail described the situation on March 24, 2011:

Meltdown at Google Earth: New 3D function goes awry as bridges flop like
a Salvador Dali painting
Warped and mangled beyond recognition, they look like a computerised version of a Salvador Dali painting.

But these pictures are not the work of a Surrealist - they are what happened when Google tried to tinker with its images of Earth.

Technicians have added elevation to the Google Earth tool but due to glitches the change had a bizarre effect on some of the world’s most famous roads and bridges.

The 746ft tall Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco has been made as thin as paper and stuck to the surface of the water beneath it.

In other cases, bridges no longer go over ravines - instead they roll down the sides and go along the bottom before coming back up the other cliff face.

The images were created when Google tried to extrapolate 2D images on to a 3D landscape but did not get it quite right.

They were spotted by artist and programmer Clement Valla who has trawled Earth to collect a string of weird sights.

The ‘Postcards From Google Earth, Bridges’ are 60 images from the virtual globe which show what happens when 2D and 3D don’t get along.

Check out the linked article above to read the rest of it and to see some of the eerie images. This is the Google-Dali image of Deception Pass Bridge!

No backbone: The Deception Pass Bridge in Washington could prove difficult to cross

To close, let's go straight for the historical viewpoint. I am quoting only some key parts from History of Deception Pass Bridge by Elizabeth Guss and you can complete the reading HERE.
The Deception Pass Bridge began as a dream, became a convenience, and developed into an icon. Curving gracefully between Fidalgo and Whidbey Islands, it crowns the most visited state park in Washington. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982, this bridge is recognized for its engineering and the elegant architecture that complements the scenic and geologic wonder of Deception Pass. Its history brings together the place, the people, and the popular park that draws visitors from around the world. . .

. . . This great achievement began with an idea from a New England seaman, Captain George Morse, who sailed through the narrow, turbulent waterway called Deception Pass and eventually settled in the tiny village of Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island. Pointing at the two promontories of Whidbey and Fidalgo in the 1880s, he told his children that "one day we will have a bridge across this pass with Pass Island as a center support." Fifty years later, with the persistent work of citizens and legislators, and the public works support of the Great Depression, the bridge became a reality.

. . . About 20,000 cars now cross the bridge 180 feet above its swirling water every day. Dramatic and intriguing, the bridge is the Pass's great connector. It links three islands together and interweaves history, recreation, commerce, nature and more. . .

. . . Carved by glaciers, the steep cliffs and sharp edges of the islands create natural barriers and divert tides flowing from the Strait of Juan de Fuca past Whidbey and Fidalgo Islands. Deep, mist-shrouded forests add a touch of mystery to the appearance. Tidal flow can be extremely rough and low tides create standing waves, huge whirlpools and roiling eddies. With the small islands (Ben Ure, Strawberry and Pass) between them, Whidbey and Fidalgo Islands appeared to many early explorers to be sides of a small bay or perhaps the mouth of a river. It probably looked too dangerous to sail into the waters of the pass. . .

. . . European and U.S. settlers arrived in the mid-19th century and the pass entered a new era. Smugglers of people and goods found the waters and islands of Deception Pass good for their nefarious business dealings. With steep cliffs and craggy edges, the pass appeared to have strategic military value. In 1866, more than a thousand acres were set aside for a military reservation that was partially fortified during World War I. From 1910-14, a prison rock quarry operated on the eastern side of Fidalgo Island with barges taking the quarried rock to the developing Seattle waterfront. In the 1920s, the military sold its land to Washington State who set it aside for a park in 1923. Small boats ferried travelers between Fidalgo and Whidbey over the swirling waters of the Pass. To call the ferry, they banged a saw with a mallet, sat back and waited.

By 1900, the idea of a bridge increasingly gained popularity. . . a model was built and displayed at the Alaska-Yukon Expedition in Seattle (1909). In 1918, the bridge was promoted as a necessary war effort and in 1921 state legislators wrote an appeal to Congress citing its military importance. The American Legion helped form the Deception Pass Bridge Association which encouraged state legislators to pass the 1929 Bridge Bill. The bridge's time was coming. . .

. . .During the Great Depression, the Public Works Administration sent the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) to build park facilities and bridge approaches. . . About 200 young men built kitchen shelters, ranger residences, roadways, trails, restrooms and the log railings along the highway. In less than one year, from August 1934 to July 31, 1935, the bridge fabricator Puget Construction Company of Seattle built the two-span bridge. CCC workers helped build the road bed leading to the bridge.



Anonymous said...

I am over-awed by the huge amount of research you go through for your Old Postcard posts.

I'm learning such a lot about the States!

rosaria williams said...

Wow! This is so imformative. I didn't know any of this. Thanks, Lydia for putting all these perspectives side by side.

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

Well two things, three technically - really strike me here.

Firstly the name Deception Pass - there's a name and a half! Secondly - there has to be a song or a book in that name somewhere...

Secondly - it is definately time that Google offered an official option to Salvador Dali the earth.

Thirdly - on the subject of maps: i miss the days of google earth when some wit had programmed it so that if you said you wanted to go from London to Paris the directions would get as far as Dover and then say "swim 1 mile"

Also - on the subject of changing maps Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman wrote a spoof of The Omen (called Good Omens) where a Demon deliberately changed the route of the M25 motorway so that it became a satanic symbol - which a) explains a lot about rush hour on the M25 and b) could well be what is going on in the google map picture above!

Lydia said...

jane~ Glad you find it interesting. I get wrapped up in the research nearly every week and am learning right along with you!

rosaria~ Having found out so much more than I ever knew about Puget Sound I now think it would make a most excellent vacation (and so close to home, actually). :)

Pixies~ There's a comment-and-a-half! I think you would probably be one of the most interesting persons to just sit and listen to. Your head is so full of eclectic and fascinating information! Thanks for sharing.

mythopolis said...

So interesting about the google map thing. What if what actually happened is that they went through a worm hole and saw things in the future?...the earth is melting!

kj said...

lydia, that google photo of deception bridge stops my breath. terror! that's my breathless reaction!!!

ah these old postcards. they have a commonality about them that is so comforting and classic. i too am amazed and impressed by your research. sometimes i don't linger long enough to do all your hard work justice, or i read and don't comment, but i am always grateful ♥

have fun lydia!!!


Fireblossom said...

That boneless road looks like it's made from a giant strip of bacon!

Lydia said...

kj~ You are just amazing to apologize for not lingering at OPW need to feel that way at all! I go into depth and detail sometimes fully knowing that people won't have time or inclination to involve themselves with it all. I enjoy learning about the places in the postcards and usually just follow where they take me!

Fireblossom~ Why, yes it does. That is the best description for it, most definitely!

Kathe W. said...

Lydia- awesome research that you do for our edification- amazing process!

Lydia said...

Kathe~ Thank you so much! I enjoy it lots. :)



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