Monday, March 7, 2011

McNeil Island Visit

I'm back! Spent half a week on the west coast, visiting with my parents and friends, but mostly visiting McNeil Island. My parents live a couple of hours away in Monroe, but we drove down to Steilacoom (where the ferry to the island docks) every day of my trip, and were lucky enough to get to spend two days on the island.

McNeil Island

Here's my dad walking around the old neighborhood of Center Hill. This part wasn't sad, it was just weird. Half the houses were boarded up, but a lot looked like people could still be living in them. It was less like visiting home, and more like wandering around the set of a horror movie.

McNeil Island

View of Still Harbor from Lt.'s Row.

McNeil Island

And this is why we lived on the island, despite everything- that's my little sister Liz and her fiance Erin, standing feet away from a freakin' bald eagle! Driving around we saw herds of deer, otters, harbor seals, coyotes, feral cats, and all kinds of birds. The parts of the island that aren't leased by the prison are owned by the Department of Natural Resources, it's an untouched nature preserve.

The rest of the photos are here. And the comic is coming along (relatively) soon!


  1. Shoot, I meant to preorder & forgot! I totally want to pick one up, though. I do likes me some place-based comics (unsurprisingly).

  2. My ancestors were some of the original settlers . My uncle who just died at age 90 was born on the island in 1922 . As was most of his siblings the eldest that still lives is 92 . They owned and ran the wood mill on the island . We would like to get on the island but don't know how to go about doing that . Any info you could provide would be greatly appreciated .

    1. Hi Marvin! It's always good to hear from people who've heard of McNeil, and I talk a little bit about the early settlers in my book "Island Brat". I haven't been there since the "closing ceremonies" over a year ago. There's a McNeil Island Historical Society on Facebook, or you might try contacting the Special Commitment Center (which is the only industry left out there) and request a visit-