Camp Discovery on Dabob Bay

Chris Bath, Summer 1978


Camp Harmony was established and operated under the leadership of Edward G. Maul as a Christian Science camp. After 1913 his boat was the main source of transportation for the Dabob area.

Prior to that time a boat named the Buckeye made the run from Seattle to Quilcene three times each week, delivering people and supplies at various destinations along the way. Adjoining parcels began to be purchased in 1907 by several people.

“In 1910 lumber was obtained from a mill and a rustic camp was built on the Maul tract. The cool water of a lovely stream was used to keep food cool during the hot summer. Mr. Maul named the place “Harmony.”

A freight and passenger boat named the Buckeye left Seattle at 7 a.m. three times a week. It stopped at Harmony after a long day’s trip with no definite schedule (usually between 4-8 p.m.)”

Rowboats took passengers out to the boat. “Camp Harmony expanded and tents were purchased and set around the rustic cabin which had finally been completed with a kitchen and a living room and dining room combined…Families came regularly each summer and children were always welcome”. No road lead to the place and there was no dock. Edward maul died in 1930.

Frank Rich looked like one of the pirates in the story Treasure Island. Frank and Dora Rich’s property at the head of the bay later became a camp for boys known as Camp Discovery. After the Buckeye stopped its Seattle to canal run, Frank Rich took over the transportation from Seabeck to the other side of the canal with his launch which campers at Camp harmony called the Gray Ghost.

“On leaving Seabeck with passengers and supplies, Mr. Rich, wearing his old slouch hat, hanging his once black vest, now green with age, on a peg near the engine, would begin to mother the piece of machinery giving it a drop of oil here and a drop of oil there until they finally reached Camp Harmony and the passengers were rowed to shore.”

Ann Thomas McCall Camp Harmony Ann Thomas was just two years old in 1921 when her parents built a cabin on their property near Camp Harmony. They had purchased the land in 1912 and used it as a summer camp. As soon as school ended each June, Ann and her mother would pack up and head for their cabin in the woods. They stayed all summer, packing up again in September just before school started again. Mr. Thomas was able to come out and stay with them for a two-week vacation from his job each summer.

In order to get to the cabin they caught the ferry to Bremerton, where a touring car that held about eight passengers. Met them for the drive from Bremerton to Seabeck. Once at Seabeck, Frank Rich was alerted that he had passengers to pick up in his boat. Frank met the Thomas’ at the Seabeck dock and took them up Dabob Bay. Once in the vicinity of their cabin, he anchored out while a small rowboat actually took them into shore. The road was virtually non-existent when they first began going out to their property, so boat transportation was depended upon.

Ann and her mother seldom went down to Coyle from their more isolated location. They did sometimes go by boat to both Quilcene and Seabeck. A big event would be for ten or more people from the area to pile in a small boat, with an equally small motor, towing another small boat with perhaps an equal number of people piled into it and head over to Quilcene. They beached the boat on the shore and walked up to the main road where the store was. The kids all got a treat of ice cream. When a similar trip was taken to Seabeck, Ann always got to choose one special cookie when they got to the store.

Residents could also get a ride to Seabeck on the mail boat (which may have been the Discoverer) that went between Seabeck, Coyle, and Brinnon. Ann remembers that there was a downstairs salon that had red plush cushions. On one stormy day in 1925 the water in Dabob Bay was very rough and the passengers had to stay on the boat for a long time. They were finally able to get a dingy into shore from where they walked about six miles to the Coyle general store. Mr. and Mrs. Hoffman, operators of the store, brought the Thomas’ in and dried their clothes before the wood stove until they could continue on their voyage.