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Whidbey Island
and The Legend of Deception Pass

Chapter Two

Bridge Makes Headlines

In 1985, the "Golden Anniversary" of Deception Pass Bridge, the Whidbey News-Times published a supplement titled, "Deception Pass Bridge Fiftieth Anniversary," 48 pages of pictures and history of the construction in the center of Washington State's most popular State Park.

Featured was a story written by a "Miss Burn," editor of the Puget Sounder, a weekly Northwest publication.

"All the world loves a bridge, and next year at rhododendron time on Whidbey Island, most of the Puget Sound world will drive across our brand new bridge to see the stately flowers.

"From the immense headlands of Fidalgo Island, over the bare rocky hilltop which is Pass Island, across to the high bluffs of Whidbey, they have flung the arching steel frame of Deception Pass Bridge, one of the most beautifully set bridges in the world.

"One hundred and eighty-five feet above the water, the majestic arches, 900 feet long, span the wickedest channel in Puget Sound!

"From the decks of big freighters wallowing and tossing those vicious whirlpools beneath, men will hear the cars rolling easily across the bridge up over head and they will say, 'We knew this place when...'

"'The bridge is a good thing for the country' they will say as their old steamer twists her way through the dangerous narrows, out into Rosario.

"Maybe it's a wine-sparkling day and under the longer span they will see Mt. Baker's shining crown above a mist. Or maybe it is drizzling and the slanting rain will soften the great masses of concrete and steel and tangle the bridge with the trees and distant blue hills and make a picture to break their hearts as they sail off to China, home behind them. One can feel how the bridge will soon be a close part of life in Puget Sound and something to be homesick for in far places.

"Mr. Jarvis, one of the partners of the Puget Sound Construction Company which has the bridge building contract, says he and Mr. Ward have built bridges in Montana, Idaho and all over the Northwest, but that this is the most beautifully located bridge of them all. The location offered much challenge and the finished bridge will thrill them the most!"

The supplement continues: "Fifty years later it fails to show its age... and who among us who have been around a while can honestly say that? If anything it cuts an even more attractive figure from the air, from the waters below and the various vantage points on the land and bridge itself. It is a classic in design and function, a tribute to all who had even the slightest role of this majestic structure."

The Deception Pass Bridge was the effusive topic of conversation among architects, builders and artists in the Northwest. Some of the most beautiful photographs have been taken from planes flying at sunset, with the golden colors of the western sky forming the background for the outline of the bridge. When the Whidbey Naval Air Station came to North Whidbey, pilots of the smaller planes found excitement in flying beneath the Deception Pass Bridge, until the matter came before the admiral. "Flying over, yes! Beneath it, no!"

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