bricks in the background



and the foreground, and underground.. There really are bricks all over the place here at the Harper Estuary. For the unfamiliar, a historical primer on Yukon Harbor and the Harper Brick Factory:

In the early 20th century the Harper Brick Factory was built on top of the salt marshes and beaches of Harper Estuary on the east shore of Kitsap Peninsula, where Harper Creek flows into Yukon Harbor. During more than 30 years of operation, from about 1900-1932, the mining and manufacturing facility shipped bricks via flat-bottomed boats, called scows, out of Yukon Harbor to points all around the Puget Sound, and also dumped reject bricks directly into intertidal and estuarine areas. Later, a road (Olympiad Drive) was constructed over the nearby Harper Creek, with only an undersized, under-road culvert providing access for the inflow and outflow of tides.

Today, this area represents a severely damaged ecosystem; obstructions between land and marine areas include the dumped bricks, other roadway fill, the undersized culvert, a relict roadway embankment, and relict bulkhead. Tidal processes are seriously impaired, and plants and animals that might normally populate the estuary and adjacent salt marshes may no longer be found. Even so, this area is well frequented by walkers, kayakers, and often simply “parkers” – people sitting in their cars and enjoying the seaside view momentarily. It is an informal, and unofficial, mini-park. Adjacent to Olympiad Drive, the rejected bricks and other fill have created a decent parking area, access to the beach, and a rudimentary gravel boat launch.

The parking area is sometimes nearly inundated by a high tide.


Visit this excellent site for more historical information about the Harper area:




2 thoughts on “bricks in the background

  1. We used to live on Stolton road. I believe it was Harper creek that ran through the back of the property. The ravine was used as a ‘midden’ by everyone living along it. I remember as a 6 year old the joys of playing in all that garbage and old appliances, even seeing dead livestock and pets thrown in there. Yuk! Also was wondering, Dad called Harper Hill drive ‘Chinamen’s Hill’. That was during the 60s. I did not go to gradeschool with any children of Chinese descent so I wonder where that label came from. There were lots of old abandoned farms up there and we would go up there to hunt for bottles and pick the fruit and asparagus that was growing. I always figured these were farms abandoned after WW2 was over for taxes.


    1. We’ve really come far in environmental awareness since the 60s! I know that part of the hope for restoration is that the creek will once again be able to support spawning salmon. It would be interesting to know the condition of upstream Harper creek today – it sounds like it might be a kind of archaeological study area.


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