Small Town News


Allyn: The best-kept secret in Mason County

Shelton-Mason County Journal of Shelton, Washington

- Advertisement -


Good morning, Mason County. Hello again to my old friends and to new friends that I haven't met yet. The Journal has given me the opportunity to share what's going on in my little corner of the world, so I'll be writing a column now and then.

Most of you know where Allyn is, since you pretty much have to drive through it to get out of Mason County going north, but not many know anything about its history. So first, I want to share a little of our early history.

Allyn was established in 1853 when Joe Sherwood started a logging operation on, you guessed it, Sherwood Creek.

Most people in the area-depended on logging and the shellfish industry during the late 1800s and into the 1900s for their livelihood, and today there are at least nine commercial shellfish growers on North Bay.

The town was platted in 1889 and it was a busy place even then. According to articles in the Allyn Times, a weekly newspaper that was published here between 1889 and 1893, there was a planing and shingle mill, and a sawmill with orders for materials for 12 houses and a large order for lumber to finish the building of a dock. Two contractor/builders were busy building houses and two general stores (a third on the way) provided everything from ladies hats to bales of hay and everything in between.

The Allyn Meat Market was advertising fresh meat for sale and a new restaurant was nearing completion. There was even a hotel with a second one being built on Gross Street along the waterfront.

The Steamer Detroit was making a daily round trip from Tacoma to Allyn, and the Steamer Messenger made round trips on Mondays and Fridays.

For many years nearly everybody and everything in North Mason came and went from the Allyn Dock. These steamers were part of what became known as the "Mosquito Fleet" that continued to be active in Puget Sound into the 1920s.

In 1921, the Port of Allyn port district was formed by a vote of the people and a public dock was built about a block north of where the current dock is.

During the next couple of years, Allyn prospered, but in 1893 there was a worldwide depression and many of the small towns that had sprung up around Puget Sound and Hood Canal (or Hood's Canal as it was known then) basically faded into history.

Allyn was established enough by then to survive those early years. Sadly, most of the original buildings are long gone, but the Allyn Historic Church, built in 1909, is still used today for church services and weddings. During Allyn Days, July 15, 16 and 17, the church will be open to the public and they might even let you ring the bell.

In future columns, I will be sharing more of our history along with what is going on today.

Bonnie Knight lives in Allyn with her husband, Richard, and three dogs. She was exeeutive director for the Port of Allyn for 15 years, and now runs an ice cream shop in Allyn and is president of the North Bay Historical Society. She can be reached at bk

Copyright 2016 Shelton-Mason County Journal, Shelton, Washington. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: June 23, 2016

More from Shelton-Mason County Journal