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Colorful history, and characters, of Point No Point | Kitsap Week

John S. Maggs, was a man of many interests: Legislator, land developer, dentist, and lighthouse keeper.                               - U.S. Lighthouse Society
John S. Maggs, was a man of many interests: Legislator, land developer, dentist, and lighthouse keeper.
— image credit: U.S. Lighthouse Society

HANSVILLE — Some interesting facts about Point No Point Light Station.

— Point No Point was known by the region’s First Peoples as Hahd-skus. Twenty-five years before the lighthouse was illuminated and the keepers’ residence was built, representatives of the Chemakum, S’Klallam and Skokomish nations and the United States negotiated and signed a treaty here, opening “the land lying from the crest of the Olympic Mountains to Puget Sound” to non-Native settlement.

In the treaty, indigenous leaders retained for their descendants the right to fish and harvest shellfish in Admiralty Inlet and throughout their historical territory. An 1881 inspection report noted that local indigenous people were harvesting dogfish for oil off Point No Point in summer and fall.

— Point No Point Lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse on Puget Sound. It stands at the entrance to Puget Sound.

— The lighthouse’s first Fresnel lens arrived and was installed Jan. 10, 1880 (Fresnel lenses capture and direct light by prismatic rings to a central bull’s-eye where it emerges as a single concentrated beam of light). The lens was 1 foot 8 inches high and weighed approximately 300 pounds. It was illuminated by a kerosene lamp and was visible for about 10 miles.

The lens was upgraded in 1898 to the lens that is currently on site.

— John S. Maggs, the first lighthouse keeper, is arguably one of the more colorful — and accomplished — keepers in the history of the lighthouse.

Born in Pennsylvania in 1832, he mined in Calaveras County, Calif. from 1853-57, ranched in the Sacramento Valley in 1858, and in 1859 was lighthouse keeper in Victoria, B.C., after stopping there en route to the Fraser River during the Gold Rush and finding prospects had been overestimated. He then went to Neah Bay, where he clerked in and managed a trading post; he was living in Neah Bay when he represented Clallam County in the territorial legislature from 1869-71.

Maggs returned to Pennsylvania in 1872 to study dentistry, married in October 1873, and two months later returned with his bride, the former Caroline Marshall, to Seattle where he opened a dentist’s office. They lived on a 27-acre farm on Lake Union, which he had bought in 1865.

Maggs served as lighthouse keeper at Point No Point from 1879-1884 (and acquired 25 adjacent acres). He donated 10 acres of his Lake Union land to the Seattle & Walla Walla Railroad Co. and, in 1887, platted 10 acres on Lake Union for development. He helped organize, and served as president of, the Seattle Dry Dock & Ship Building Co.

Maggs died Apr. 8, 1894 and was interred at Lake View Cemetery in Seattle. He and his wife had three children, George, Mollie and Marshall.

— John S. Maggs is believed to have built the house west of the keepers’ residence; the house is now a rental owned by Kitsap County.

— The first signer of the Point No Point Light Station visitors log, Aug. 29, 1895, was Lafayette Heath, a civil engineer for the mill in Port Gamble.

— Point No Point’s third lighthouse keeper, Edward Scannell (1888–1914) was paid an annual salary of $800 — roughly $19,500 in today’s dollars, according to MeasuringWorth.com.

— Five men served as keepers of Point No Point Lighthouse from 1880 to 1939. In the same timeframe, 14 men served as assistant keeper.

— The women of Point No Point Light Station were shattering glass ceilings long before that term became part of the American lexicon.

When her lighthouse keeper husband died March 9, 1888, Mrs. W.H. Jankins took over, serving until April 23, 1888.

Mary Scannell, wife of keeper Edward Scannell (1888-1914), was postmaster of Point No Point for 21 years.

Cora Cary, wife of keeper William H. Cary (1914-1937), owned and operated the general store in Hansville and three times a day reported weather readings to the National Weather Service at Boeing Field.

Mrs. Cary sold the store to the Hansville Grange in 1922.

 

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