“This tree of deep and secure harbors, whose trunk, Admiralty Inlet…surprised its Spanish, American, and British explorers with suddenly-discovered little harbors, like hidden fruit among thick leaves–quiet, lovely nooks, embosomed in green woods…And they are the loveliest bits of creation. Would that I had the wealth to covenant with man never to bring into these paradises of harbors the axe! The ideal sacrilege of chopping the Garden of Eden to feed a saw-mill is realized daily here by the remorseless Americans who feed the hungry gangs of the Sound mills with the king tree and the queen trees of the world.”
Samuel Wilkeson, Wilkeson’s Notes on Puget Sound–Being Extracts from Notes by Samuel Wilkeson on a Reconnoissance of the Proposed Route of the Northern Pacific Railroad Made in the Summer of 1869.
Doing some research on Puget Sound’s infamous Mosquito Fleet. I have been trying to locate the origin of the term. There doesn’t seem to be any consensus, though the earlier uses refer exclusively to military vessels. So far I have traced the usage of Mosquito Fleet back to 1777 and a letter written by Governor George Clinton (he uses Musquito instead of mosquito), in reference to fighting on the Hudson River. Benedict Arnold also commanded a Mosquito Fleet on Lake Champlain at this time. There are also references to Mosquito Fleets in the War of 1812 and the Civil War.
But my favorite discovery is this wonderful map from the August 22, 1908, Seattle P-I. We may think we have a good ferry system that carries people throughout Puget Sound but it certainly pales compared to the routes displayed on this map.
Or consider that a 1901 P-I article lists 195 ports of call, quite a few of which I haven’t a clue as to their location. In the days before the automobile took over, the Mosquito Fleet ruled the transportation routes of our inland sea.