WHEN COAL WAS KING: Lake Wilderness in Maple Valley

Last week’s column detailed how the widespread introduction of automobiles, plus increased leisure time from the 40-hour work week led to a proliferation of private resorts built near water features or other scenic attractions. In south King County, Gaffney’s Lake Wilderness became one of the most popular after three competing resorts combined into one. A summer highlight of a trip to Gaffney’s was a climb to the top of the 40’ high Otter Slide and the thrilling ride and splash below. The slide can be seen to the left of this south-facing photo, which captures a glimpse of summer frivolity. The dock enclosed a one-acre swimming area located in a cove about 750’ south of the present-day dock and beach. A three-level high dive is further right and beyond that is the famous “flying trapeze,” which will be featured in next week’s column. This photo number P.00.15.53 was taken by J. Boyd Ellis of Arlington and comes courtesy of the Maple Valley Historical Society. Background information was provided by its President, Dick Peacock.