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About Seabeck

Seabeck is a former mill town in Kitsap County, Washington, United States, on Hood Canal.

History

Seabeck was founded in 1856 by Marshall Blinn and William Adams, doing business as The Washington Mill Company. Their lumber was in such demand they built a second mill, then a shipyard to build boats to haul the lumber to California, which had high demand due to the California Gold Rush. Eventually, along with four saloons, the town had two general stores and two hotels. In 1876, there were over 400 people living in Seabeck. After decades of success, in the 1880s, the demand had eased, and most of the easily accessible trees had been harvested. In 1886 a spark from the ship Retriever started a fire that consumed both mills, along with other buildings. Rumors flew that the mills would not be re-built, so most residents moved to other towns with mills, notably Port Hadlock, turning Seabeck into a virtual ghost town.

Currently there is a marina on the water across the road from the center - though it is currently in the process of being torn down and rebuilt - next to a general store, coffee shop, antique store, a small cafe, and a pizza parlor. There are also a few houses in the general vicinity, and a now-closed elementary school that serviced the areas around Seabeck. Otherwise, it is mostly a rural area, although developments are beginning to put larger houses along the coastline and begin to bring Seabeck back to its former glory. Many very large and high class homes have been built up on hills next to the town of Seabeck, such as Leeward Avenue. There are several finished and developing homes there.

Conference center

In the early 1900s, Laurence Colman and Arn Allen of Seattle formed a partnership to build a facility for YMCA and YWCA groups to hold summer conferences. In 1914 Lawrence Coleman and his brother George purchased much of the original Seabeck site. In 1936 Laurence Colman's son, Ken Colman, incorporated the conference grounds as a private, non profit corporation. He deeded to the corporation the 90 acres (360,000 m2) that now make up Seabeck Christian Conference Center.

Seabeck Elementary

The town's school, Seabeck Elementary, offered kindergarten to sixth grade. It had a long, interesting history and thus was supported by the community. However, recent events beginning in the 1990s have questioned the value of the school; the reasons included various health and safety issues. Also, the local school district has claimed to need budget cuts. Because of this, the school closed at the end of the 2006-7 school year. The future of the site has not been decided.

Footnotes

  1. ^ Melton, Charles (2008)

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