Location: 650 Marine Dr NE

wiseman landingFred Wiseman’s plane landing, May 18, 1911, courtesy of Washington State Historical Society Swantown Marina

Swantown Marina today (2013), Port of Olympia photo

The Carlyon Fill project in 1910-1911 added 29 blocks to the central peninsula of Olympia, eliminating the Swantown Slough that had divided much of east Olympia from downtown, and adding most of what we now know as the port area. Just after the fill was completed, in 1911, aviator Fred Wiseman piloted his tiny aircraft, billed as the “fastest machine in the world,” to make several landings in the newly filled area. Wiseman went so far as to bring a film cameraman aboard, and the resulting footage was shown in local movie theaters. The little airplane is now on display at the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum, as it was the first airplane to carry mail.

The area where Wiseman landed is now the Swantown Marina, echoing the transportation theme inaugurated by Wiseman’s historic first landing in Olympia.

Thanks to Emmett O’Connell for unearthing the Wiseman story and the location of “Olympia’s first airport.”

Additional resources:

Historylink article

Youtube video on early years of Port of Olympia

Washington State Historical Society, enter the following catalog number in collection search box: C1943.2x.30

Copyright © 2022 Deborah Ross