Blakely Island Rediscovered
In a sense, the island paradise known as Blakely Island was rediscovered in the early 1050’s. Floyd Johnson, a sales rep for a Cessna dealership in Portland and also president of a recreational flying club, searched the west coast from Canada to Mexico for a piece of property that could be developed as a private fly-in resort or second home location for friends in the aviation community. After some serious and creative negotiating, as well as financial sacrifice, Johnson bought the entire island for $60,000.
Business partners came and went, but in spite of it all, Johnson went on to clear and plat the northwest end of the island. Power was provided and water was brought down from Horseshoe Lake in the middle of the island via three miles of pipeline. Loggers hacked out a crude airstrip. A labor intensive basic marina was constructed. A handful of pilots believed in the project and built the first homes in the development.
Realizing the development was place for prospective buyers to both stay and eat, Blakely House Restaurant and a handsome Panabode structure called Skytel were built. The latter consisted of six large rooms with fireplaces. Quickly gaining popularity with visiting pilots, potential lot owners, and friends, this definitely put change in motion for Blakely Island.
The following is from a tourist guide published in the early 1960’s:
BLAKELY ISLAND SKYTEL AND RESORT
A privately owned island community commonly called “The Paradise Isle of the San Juans”. Deluxe motel accommodations, excellent restaurant with marine view, complete marina with facilities, groceries, tackle, boats, laundry, showers, etc. Also has unusual real estate homesite program with 200 sites in the San Juan Aviation and Yachting Estates. Fine air strip and daily scheduled air service,
The first class airstrip is now surfaced and lighted. It is private, for the exclusive use of property owners. The marina is now extraordinary, the store still exists, but the resort is no longer a part of the Blakely community. A very special place, Blakely Island continues to flourish in its own exclusive way.