Vashon Island

From Academic Kids

Vashon Island is Puget Sound's largest island south of Admiralty Inlet. Part of unincorporated King County, Washington, it had a total population of 10,123 as of the 2000 census. It is locally known for its liberal politics.

Vashon has two ferry terminals. The southern terminus of the Vashon Highway is the Tahlequah Ferry Terminal, connected to the Point Defiance neighborhood of Tacoma by a Washington State Ferries run. The northern terminus of the Vashon Highway is the Heights Dock at Point Vashon, which services the state ferry docks at Southworth, Fauntleroy, and Downtown Seattle.

The island was named on May 28, 1792, by the explorer George Vancouver after his friend James Vashon of the Royal Navy, who also explored the area on H.M.S. Alert. At that time, Vashon Island was separate from the neighbouring Maury Island, but today the town of Portage sits on an isthmus built by the U.S Army Corps of Engineers that connects the two.



Location of Vashon Island, Washington
Vashon Island is located at 47°24'58" North, 122°28'6" West (47.416198, -122.468211)Template:GR.

According to the United States Census Bureau, it has a total area of 95.8 km² (37.0 mi²).


As of the censusTemplate:GR of 2000, there are 10,123 people, 4,193 households, and 2,838 families residing on the island. The population density is 105.7/km² (273.9/mi²). There are 4,867 housing units at an average density of 50.8/km² (131.7/mi²). The racial makeup of the island is 93.61% White, 0.45% Black or African American, 0.70% Native American, 1.56% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.87% from other races, and 2.75% from two or more races. 2.56% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 4,193 households out of which 30.9% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.2% are married couples living together, 7.9% have a female householder with no husband present, and 32.3% are non-families. 23.8% of all households are made up of individuals and 8.0% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.40 and the average family size is 2.86.

On the island the population is spread out with 23.2% under the age of 18, 4.6% from 18 to 24, 25.1% from 25 to 44, 34.0% from 45 to 64, and 13.1% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 44 years. For every 100 females there are 94.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 91.0 males.

The median income for a household on the island is $58,261, and the median income for a family is $67,010. Males have a median income of $50,201 versus $36,426 for females. The per capita income for the island is $31,983. 6.0% of the population and 4.6% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 5.2% of those under the age of 18 and 2.2% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.


The economy of Vashon Island is heavily based on residents commuting to Seattle and Tacoma and coming back to the island to spend their earnings. Vashon Island is home to the K2 Ski Corporation.

People of Note

Vashon Island and has been the home many people of note. Novelist Betty MacDonald once lived on Vashon and used the island as the setting of her book Onions in the Stew.

Vashon is also home to 2004 Prohibition Party presidential nominee Gene Amondson.

Berkeley Breathed, author of the political satire comic strip Bloom County, resided on Vashon for some time as well. He wrote a children's book based on a bicycle in a tree. The real-life tree, growing around a bicycle, can be seen on the island.

John Ratzenberger, who played Clifford C. Clavin, Jr on the television show Cheers, onced lived on and still owns land on connected Maury Island.

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