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Dawn on the Island

In 2003, Islander Jill Davis and her mother, Jacqueline MacRae of Seattle, donated $10,000 to the Mercer Island Community Fund. They said they would like it to be used for a "special project". Foundation past president Kathy Erickson took the idea of history film to John Gordon Hill, a long-time member of the film industry, who grabbed the concept and ran with it.

The result? A 56 minute video featuring narration by Islander and radio host, Dave Ross that weaves together recollections of longtime residents with historical photos and background music. Ten of the 11 interviewees still lived on the island at the time of the video's creation. Hill mixed 12 hours of resident vignettes along with selected historical photos from the 300-400 he examined to create "a sense of how magical a place it was in those prewar years", according to Hill.

Many of those interviewed had fond memories of riding the ferry Dawn back and forth to Seattle, the best way there before the floating bridge became reality in 1940. People would often ride the same ferry back and forth to work, using the time to catch up with neighbors and news events of the day.

The film is now available to view on-line, courtesy of the Mercer Island Historical Society.

Many thanks to interviewees Bill Bain, George Clarke, Lee Clarke, Nuki Fellows, Ruth Mary Close, Ted Rand, David Garrison, Bob Lewis, Ed Maloof, Irv Pratt, and Aubrey Davis.

More about the ferry steamer Dawn