Mabel Anderson


Kyla Fairchild

The Swedish immigrant and logger Nils Anderson (know as “Peg Leg” due to a permanent logging accident) moves his family from South Whidbey to South Camano, joining the existing Swinomish & Lummi inhabitants.

Over time Anderson builds a logging camp, a store and a 900-foot dock. A narrow-gauge train runs along the dock to transport logs and other freight, passengers and mail to and from docked freighters.

Anderson names the settlement “Mabana,” combining the first syllable of his oldest daughter’s name (“Mabel”) with the last syllable of his wife’s (“Johanna”). He gives land for a school and Mabana Schoolhouse is built in 1916.

Island County buys Mabana Dock from Anderson and establishes the Port of Mabana.

In 1949, the Mark Clark Bridge is built (replacing a spindly 1909 swing bridge) across the Stillaguamish River to maintain automotive connection between Seattle and the mainland with the Island.

By the late 1970’s, the dock built by Nils Peg Leg Anderson has been replaced by a mod beach house, blazing with the well preserved tones of a more recent epoch. Its first owner, Norma Sommers, came from a local family that homesteaded nearby. Along with her husband Johnny, she owned the Red Apple Market chain. by 1980, when construction was complete, it had been Norma’s penchant for opulent interiors and her seemingly unlimited budget for the finest finishes of the era that defined their swank and sophisticated vacation home.

In 2005 a new owner, Kyla Fairchild, discovers the Mabana Beach House, acquiring some of its furnishings and other contents—improbably preserved, thanks to Sommer’s meticulous ownership which included installation of hurricane shades that keep out the sun when the beach house is unoccupied.

Kyla, a music industry professional and Seattle tastemaker, publisher of Americana music magazine No Depression and co-owner of hip Ballard bar Hattie’s Hat, keeps the best of everything at the Mod Beach House: Burnt orange wall-to-wall carpet and custom wallpaper. Burlwood tables and atomic age bric-a-brac.

In 2010, the Mark Clark Bridge is replaced by the new Camano Gateway Bridge, improving transport for visitors and islanders and continuing the ease of access to this magical place.

Spring 2016, 100 years after the Port of Mabana was proclaimed, the Mabana Schoolhouse is placed on the Washington Heritage Register. It’s now owned and used as an art studio by the oil painter Linda Demetre, an island resident since 1989 and one of over 100 artists who live and work in the area.

The new owner of the Mabana Beach Pad continues to breathe life into the memories made there and creates more with family and friends, adding contemporary artwork by Dan Amell and Susan Dory. She commissions landscaping by acclaimed garden designer Brandon Peterson (of The Palm Room in Ballard) that dramatically accentuates the sky and water. Readying the beloved beach house for its next custodian. The coming chapter in its extraordinary story, yet to be written.

Vintage Features

Built upon site once occupied by historic Mabana Dock

Rare, pristine 1970’s era vintage home

Full height 60’s ranch style home-style stone fireplace

Vintage pinch-pleated draperies

Fab high-pile wall-to-wall carpet

Array of vintage original wallpaper

Groovy built-in black-mirrored wet bar

Time-piece kitchen with customized drop ceiling, vintage appliances including double oven

Some original furnishings, potentially available for purchase

Photo Courtesy of Stanwood Historical Society: Mabel Anderson, Mabana Hotel, Parking Area, Port of Mabana, Dock at Port of Mabana – Photo Courtesy of David O. Anderson Family: Mabel Anderson

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