Deadwater Slough


With a name like Deadwater Slough one must wonder if somewhere in history there lies a story. I did some research and encountered trouble finding its origins, but what did surface was an account of the Tragedy at Deadwater Slough.

It was the winter of 1917 and temperatures were nearing freezing. Somewhere around 1:30 a.m. in Marysville, Wa a group of passengers bundled up and loaded into a Ford Touring sedan to return home after attending a dance. Meanwhile, in Snohomish, Wa another group was doing the very same thing, but they were headed the direction that the Ford was leaving.
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// 2 a.m. that fateful night the two parties met at the old, narrow wooden trestle that led over what was already named Deadwater Slough. At only a pace of 15 MPH the Ford attempted to pass by the other dance goers in their Abbott-Detroit car, but ended up locking wheels and pushing it through the railing. The Abbott-Detroit drug both of them 15 feet below the surface of the Slough. Despite tireless efforts 4 died that cold, sorrowful night. 2 of which were recovered the next day by use of grapple hooks from a boat. The 4 survivors were rescued by bystanders with use of blankets and rope tied together. Below is a photo taken from the rescue scene. I can’t help but imagine that the two antique machines still rest at the murky bottom of Deadwater Slough to this day.

My experience today, however, was much more cheerful. I was actually headed out to help my dad with some farm work he was doing in the Ebey Island area when a little gravel parking lot caught my eye. I had some time to spare, so I took the chance on a rather boring looking trail that led me nearly a mile along a pipeline, veering right once I came to a clearing.

The trail opened up to a grassy field and it didn’t seem to get much use at all. I waded through the tall grass in hopes to find a window through the sticker bushes of what I assumed was the Slough. Sure enough, she showed her face and stole my heart as every Slough before it has. It was the stillness of the water, the fertility of the land that vibrantly frames it and the fact that at that moment maybe I was wild too that metaphorically swept me off my feet. Today’s find was simply sweet.


Corner of 51st Ave SE and Home Acres Rd (beneath the Highway 2 trestle)

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Alise says:

    I went here today and on my drive home (maybe half a mile east, just before you go up the ramp to join 20th) I happened upon another small parking area and a gravel raised path along ebey slough. I didn’t get a chance to hike to the end but it was beautiful and I plan to go back. I’m not sure what the hike is called, I couldn’t find anything online.

    1. Liz Duncan says:

      I bet you are talking about the Snoqialmie Wildlife Reserve. That will be coming to the blog very soon. It’s a beautiful walk!

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