Ketron Island: 10 things to know


Ketron Island, where a Horizon Air mechanic crashed a Bombardier Q400 passenger aircraft late Friday after making an unauthorized takeoff, is a secluded spot in southern Puget Sound in Washington state, located about 40 miles southwest of the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

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Here are 10 things to know: 

⧫ Ketron Island is separated from the mainland by the Cormorant Passage in Pierce County. The island has a land area of 220.67 acres.

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⧫ According to the 2010 census, the island had a population of 17 persons.

⧫ Peter Puget of the Royal Navy called the island “Long Island” when he surveyed the southern area of Puget Sound in 1792, according to the Tacoma Digital Library’s collection. 

⧫ The island was once known as Gove Island when Captain Warren Gove lived there, according to the Tacoma Digital Library’s collection. 

⧫ It was named Kittson Island by Charles Wilkes, an American naval officer, during the late 1830s. William Kittson was an employee of the Hudson’s Bay Company who supervised the construction of Fort Nisqually in 1833, according to the book “Washington State Place Names” by James W. Phillips.

⧫ The island was misspelled as “Ketron” by Wilkes’ cartographers.

⧫ In 1926, the island was bought by the Ketron Island Fur Company for $15,000, according to a report by the Chelahis (Washington) Bee-Nugget newspaper. The company used the island to establish a fox fur industry, the newspaper reported.

⧫The island is only accessible by a ferry from Pierce County that arrives four times a day. The closest mainland city is Steilacoom. There are no stores or mail delivery on the island.

⧫ In May 1942, The Associated Press reported that an army bomber crashed near Ketron Island and sank, killing its three-member crew.
⧫ J.C. Morris, an entrepreneur from Anchorage, Alaska, bought the island in 1946. He wanted to build 200 homes on the island but was thwarted by the high cost of installing sewer lines. Morris’ mansion, built in the 1960s, was designed in a style that borrowed from architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Marion Chenaur and her husband bought the mansion in 1990. She sold the property in 2015 to Nicole Pham and her husband Jim Porter, who were restaurateurs in Thurston County, Washington.


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