is a former mill town
A mill town, also known as factory town or mill village, is typically a settlement that developed around one or more mills or factories .- United Kingdom:...
in Kitsap County, Washington
Kitsap County is a county located in the U.S. state of Washington, named after Chief Kitsap of the Suquamish tribe. As of 2011 state estimate, its population was 253,900. Its county seat is at Port Orchard, and its largest city is Bremerton....
, United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...
, on Hood Canal
Hood Canal is a fjord forming the western lobe, and one of the four main basins, of Puget Sound in the state of Washington. Hood Canal is not a canal in the sense of being a man-made waterway—it is a natural waterway.-Geography:...
The name Seabeck comes from the Twana
The Twana language or Skokomish language belongs to the Salishan family of Native American languages. It is believed by some elders within the Skokomish community that the language branched off from Lushootseed because of the region-wide tradition of not speaking the name of someone who died for...
, from /ɬ-/
, "far", /qab/
, "smooth, calm", and /-aqʷ/
Seabeck was founded in 1856 by Marshall Blinn and William Adams, doing business as The Washington Mill Company. Their lumber was in such demand they built a second mill, then a shipyard
Shipyards and dockyards are places which repair and build ships. These can be yachts, military vessels, cruise liners or other cargo or passenger ships. Dockyards are sometimes more associated with maintenance and basing activities than shipyards, which are sometimes associated more with initial...
to build boats to haul the lumber to California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...
, which had high demand due to the California Gold Rush
The California Gold Rush began on January 24, 1848, when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California. The first to hear confirmed information of the gold rush were the people in Oregon, the Sandwich Islands , and Latin America, who were the first to start flocking to...
. Eventually, along with four saloons, the town had two general stores and two hotels. In 1876, there were over 400 people living in Seabeck. After decades of success, in the 1880s, the demand had eased, and most of the easily accessible trees had been harvested. In 1886 a spark from the ship Retriever
started a fire that consumed both mills, along with other buildings. Rumors flew that the mills would not be re-built, so most residents moved to other towns with mills, notably Port Hadlock, turning Seabeck into a virtual ghost town
A ghost town is an abandoned town or city. A town often becomes a ghost town because the economic activity that supported it has failed, or due to natural or human-caused disasters such as floods, government actions, uncontrolled lawlessness, war, or nuclear disasters...
Currently there is a marina on the water across the road from the center - though it is currently in the process of being torn down and rebuilt - next to a general store, coffee shop, antique store, a small cafe, and a pizza parlor. There are also a few houses in the general vicinity, and a now-closed elementary school that serviced the areas around Seabeck. Otherwise, it is mostly a rural area. The population was 1,015 at the 2010 census.
Seabeck is also the hometown of figure skater Ashley Wagner
Ashley Wagner is an American figure skater. She is the 2008 and 2010 U.S. bronze medalist and 2007 and 2009 World Junior bronze medalist.-Personal life:...
In the early 1900s, Laurence Colman and Arn Allen of Seattle
Seattle is the county seat of King County, Washington. With 608,660 residents as of the 2010 Census, Seattle is the largest city in the Northwestern United States. The Seattle metropolitan area of about 3.4 million inhabitants is the 15th largest metropolitan area in the country...
formed a partnership to build a facility for YMCA
The Young Men's Christian Association is a worldwide organization of more than 45 million members from 125 national federations affiliated through the World Alliance of YMCAs...
The YWCA USA is the United States branch of a women's membership movement that strives to create opportunities for women's growth, leadership and power in order to attain a common vision—to eliminate racism and empower women. The YWCA is a non-profit organization, the first of which was founded in...
groups to hold summer conferences. In 1914 Lawrence Coleman and his brother George purchased much of the original Seabeck site. In 1936 Laurence Colman's son, Ken Colman, incorporated the conference grounds as a private, non profit corporation. He deeded to the corporation the 90 acres (360,000 m2
) that now make up Seabeck Conference Center. The Conference Center is available for events during the year. For over thirty years, The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc.
The Lighthouse for the Blind Inc. is a private, non-profit agency providing employment, support, and training opportunities for individuals who are blind, deaf-blind, and blind with other disabilities....
has held its annual Deaf-Blind Retreat
there, hosting Deaf-Blind visitors from across the nation and world at the Conference Center.
The town's school, Seabeck Elementary, offered kindergarten to sixth grade. It had a long, interesting history and thus was supported by the community. However, recent events beginning in the 1990s have questioned the value of the school; the reasons included various health and safety issues . Also, the local school district has claimed to need budget cuts. Because of this, the school closed at the end of the 2006-07 school year. The future of the site has not been decided.