On June 16, 1906, a group of University of Washington professors and their wives organized a summer camp near Kingston, Washington on the Kitsap Peninsula. A communal undertaking, the project was called the University Outing Club. It occupied over 30 acres facing Puget Sound on Apple Tree Point.
At the first official meeting of the Outing Club in July, 1906, several signatories would have long and important roles in the growth of the University of Washington. They included F.M. Padelford, Judge J.T. Ronald, Henry Landes, and William Savery. Later, Pulitzer Prize winner and influential literary critic Vernon Louis Parrington came aboard. Committees were formed to stock and maintain the commissary, organize transportation, cope with issues such as health, sanitation, grounds, general behavior, and entertainment. In 1907 a common building was erected, with a communal kitchen added later. Water supplies were identified, a boat landing erected, and paths built.
By 1908, five cabins faced the log-strewn beach. A local family, Ida and Ole Hauan, served as majordomos. Ida became famous for her fried chicken, also creating tender biscuits and a variety of prune dishes. Succeeding cooks and kitchen masters had a difficult challenge rising to the services of the Hauan family.
Entertainment in this highly educated settlement evolved around simple ceremonies and games, such as Costume parties, walking to the village of Kingston for baseball games, reading, exploring the shoreline, preparing meals, hiking through the woods, telling Tall Tales, and small-boat adventures.
In August of 1915, a nine-mile hike to Gamble Bay was organized. Participants started off at 2 am, using smoky lanterns to light the way through thick fog and darkness. At dawn, near Port Gamble, the party prepared a beachside breakfast of eggs and bacon. After exploring the mill town and shopping at the General Store (one still in operation), most of the group took a stage coach back to Kingston. A few athletes decided to walk back, arriving in camp about 9 am with blistered feet.
In February of 1916 a storm battered the Outing Club’s frame buildings. Part of the bank slid into the water, taking a cabin two onto the beach. A launch called “The Doxy” helped retrieve supplies, ferried survivors to Kingston, and brought materials to re-build the crumbling buildings and the perilous cliff.
Today, a couple of descendants of the Outing Club occupy year-round homes on the original site. The beach remains raw, though roads are now paved and cars and ferries are at hand. The communal aspects of the University Outing Club were abandoned long ago, as the UDub turned into a major research university. But the muses and spirits of Parrington, Padelford, and Savery linger on the shores of Apple Tree Point.