Mason County would like to invite you to attend a celebration of the phase I improvements at Oakland Bay County Park, which will be opening shortly for use by the public. Improvements include improved entry road, parking area, and hiking trails. The park is 80 acres and was acquired under a partnership with the Capitol Land Trust.
Date is Wednesday, December 19, 2:00 p.m. at the park site 1570 East Agate Bay Road, Shelton.
Directions: Either north or southbound on SR 3, take the E Agate Road, past Pioneer School and the park is on the right hand side of the road about half mile past the school. GO in the entry road to the park site. We’ll have a sign on the road showing you where to go.
Hope you will help our County Commissioners dedicate this wonderful park along with thanking our partners including the Recreation and Conservation Office, Capitol Land Trust, and Mason Conservation District.
Funding for the project was from an RCO grant, Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Please spread the word, anyone interested is invited to attend.
The Malaney-O’Neill House, originally built ca. 1892 and likely enlarged around 1901, is historically significant as a property that embodies the distinctive characteristics of its period of construction and possess high artistic values. It was just considered by the state’s Advisory Council on Historic Preservation for listing on the Washington Heritage Register and the National Register of Historic Places in October of 2012. The home is one of the largest extant examples of the Carpenter Gothic style in the state. Built with the best timber from an area known for its logging, the house represents through its size, site and construction the ambition and optimism of its original owners, the Malaney’s and the financial success of the second owners, the O’Neill Family. The house retains a high level of integrity with intact Gothic fenestration, massing, roofline, and interior features. The period of significance begins in 1892, the date the home was initially constructed and ends in 1901, the presumed construction date of the addition.
Located at a site near the salmon-bearing Malaney Creek and overlooking Oakland Bay, an arm of Hammersley Inlet, the house has been little altered over its 100 plus years, still reflecting on both the interior and exterior the building style and materials of its 1890-1910 construction era. Although the house is situated on open grassland, its setting includes part of an historic orchard, scattered first growth fir trees and 51 acres of woodland, the size of the original land patent. The house is fronted by 2,000 feet of Oakland Bay shoreline and 1,500 feet of Malaney Creek shoreline runs on the southwest side of the house site. Associated with Thomas O’Neill family of Mason County, who were prominent in the business and political life of the county, the house was historically accessed by boat and is fronted by oyster beds.
Located east of Oakland Bay in Mason County Washington in what was a primary logging and timber area and fronting oyster cultivation grounds, the Malaney-O’Neill property beachfront likely was the site of shellfish harvesting and processing by the ancestors of the present Squaxin Island Tribe because of its proximity to fresh water and access to salmon and shellfish resources (Birge Interview).
The property has strong relationships with the 19th and 20th century history of the natural resources industries of the Shelton area. The Malaney family’s history is illustrative of the 1890s boom times in logging industry in the Shelton area. The subsequent ownership by the Thomas O’Neill family illustrates the commercial history of the area as well as another important resource industry of Mason County, oystering.
Mason County, originally, Sahewamish or Sawamish County, was settled by Euro-Americans in the 1850s who logged and created farms in the area which was served by steamboat service by the 1870s. Logging railroads including the Puget Sound & Grays Harbor Railroad and the Mason County Central Railroad line, changed logging practices from harvesting logs just near the water to being able to cut logs inland and bring them to water transit over rail lines. The railroads opened up commercial harvest of the huge first growth trees in Mason County. The Port Blakely Mill Company was established in 1864 by Captain William Renton who built a mill on the southeast side of Bainbridge Island where logs could be stored and ships could load lumber. Early on, logging was done with horses then donkey engines helped load the logs onto trains. The logging railroad then dumped the logs at Kamilche Bay and steam tugs towed the logs in rafts to the mill at Bainbridge Island. The mill had a ravenous appetite for logs—turning out 200,000 board feet of lumber per day by 1882.