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Whidbey Island
and The Legend of Deception Pass

Chapter Twenty-One

Sadie Morse Davis Writes about Her Father

Sadie Morse Davis, daughter of Captain George Morse, "Father of Deception Pass Bridge" will long be remembered on North Whidbey Island as a bright and shining light throughout her years at Oak Harbor. She was a musician, a pianist who lent her talents to many a community sing-along or dance in its early days, and whose happy outlook on life has remained in the memories of the few "old timers" left who knew her.

In 1935, the year the Bridge was dedicated, the following was written by Sadie Morse Davis, and appeared on the front page of the Farm Bureau News:

"When the Deception Pass Bridge is completed, it will mean the fulfillment of a dream that dates back as many as fifty years. Captain Morse, the originator of the move for the bridge, seemed always to know that someday the Pass would be spanned.

"In the early days as he drifted through the Pass in his sailing vessel, he took note of the small island located therein and often told his children that it was placed there for a pier. He predicted that they would live to cross the bridge, but no one seemed to give much thought to these dreams of the farsighted Sea Captain who had traveled and visited every port in the World.

"Later he was elected Representative to the legislature in Olympia and in 1907 his fondness for his beloved Whidbey Island and his hometown, Oak Harbor, was expressed through the legislature calling for the erection of a bridge. The next year he obtained an appropriation of $20,000. A miniature of the bridge was on display at the Alaska-Yukon Exposition in 1909.

"Captain Morse's nephew, Joseph M. Snow, who was State Highway Commissioner, assisted in making the survey and blueprint. Some of the old field notes were used in the survey. It was one of the greatest disappointments of Captain Morse's life when the bill was later thrown out and the money used elsewhere.

"In his last days the Captain often spoke to those around him of his great disappointment from his heart's wish that had been denied him. At his grave today can be seen a mound of crushed rock from old Goose Rock. Let us hope that he will see it all, in spirit!"

Deception Pass Bridge was not only a substitute for the little "cup-and-saucer" ferry that ran hourly between Fidalgo and Whidbey, beginning with a scow tied to a small launch. It was the beginning of a new era, new growth, new people, a future that began with the vision of an early day sea Captain George Morse.

Editor's note: The grave of Captain Morse is in Oak Harbor's small Pioneer Cemetery on Oak Harbor Road, just north of the Catholic church, where most of the Irish immigrants to Whidbey in the 1850s are buried.

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