Place Names R-S

Red Pine Plain

This plain south of the main portion of Fort Lewis is east of Dairy Plain and west of the North and South Muck Plains. The Puget's Sound Agricultural Company used the plain for its flocks of sheep and herds of cattle from the 1830s to the 1860s. Edward Huggins, in a letter to F. Cole of Tacoma on September 26, 1898, wrote that plain, three thousand acres in size, had a stand of red pine that was cut and used for decking of the Hudson's Bay Company steamer, the Beaver. Huggins also wrote that he had collected seed from these trees for the Kew Gardens in London. There have been some discussions over the years as to whether or not the trees are actually red or yellow pine.

Red Salmon Creek

The United States Geological Survey map of the Nisqually Delta shows Red Salmon Creek to flow into Puget Sound near the mouth of the Nisqually River. The creek is west of Mounts Road. T.T. Waterman wrote that the Nisqually River historically had a later running of salmon up the river than other streams.

Del McBride has written that the Nisqually Indian name for the creek was "Skwuh-witz" which means "red salmon." A number of ships have been sunk on the Nisqually Flats at the mouth of the creek to form a breakwater.

Richards Point

Also Point Treble

The western cape of Anderson Island is listed on the Inskip 1846 Map of Puget Sound as Richards Point. Lieutenant Fleetwood J. Richards of the Royal Marines served on board the HMS Fisgard at the Nisqually Station of the Royal Navy from 1843 to 1847. It was named Point Treble on the Wilkes Chart.

Rosario Island

Also Fox Island

Fox Island was called Rosario Island by R. A. Inskip for Maria del Rosario, daughter of Don Francisco and Paula Ramirez, who married Captain John A. Duntze in 1832.

Saltar's Point

Also Gordon Point

Saltar's Point on Puget Sound at Steilacoom was named for John Saltar who settled in Steilacoom in 1860. He had a varied career including a time at sea. Captain Saltar died in 1898 after serving as clerk of the U.S. District Court and collector of Internal Revenue.

Schoolhouse Creek

On Anderson Island, this creek flows southward into Oro Bay. In November 1883, a small school building was erected on a ten-acre plot of land donated by Peter Christensen. The school, at the approximate center of the island, operated until 1959.

School House Lakes

Two lakes near the town of DuPont were close to a pioneer school. The north school lake was also called Sellers Lake, and the south school lake was called Hannah Lake. Both lakes are now dry and are separated by Interstate Highway Five.

Sequalitchew Creek

Also The Coe

Sequalitchew Creek empties into Puget Sound north of the mouth of the Nisqually River. Fort Nisqually, the local emporium of the Hudson's Bay Company, was located nearby.

The name Sequalitchew reportedly means "shallow place." However, Alfred Smith wrote that the word was actually related to a term for a fish found in the lake that had dark markings over a lighter background.

Sequalitchew Lake

Sequalitchew Lake is located north of Interstate Highway Five, west of American Lake, and is drained by Sequalitchew Creek. It was near Sequalitchew Lake that Wilkes held the first Independence Day celebration in the Northwest on July 5, 1841.

Sergeants Grove

This park, made up of lands purchased from the Hewitt Trust by the State of Washington for an addition to Western State Hospital, is on the north side of the hospital grounds. Mr. D.E. Sergeant, formerly Supervisor of Institutions, gave "... considerable help in obtaining the Hewitt land for the hospital and for this reason it bears his name." It is now part of the Pierce County parks system.

Sharp Lake

Also Carlson Cove, Carlson Bay

An indentation in the southwest shore of Anderson Island is called Sharp Lake. Herbert Sharp and others owned land there as listed in Metsker's 1936 Atlas of the county. Hazel Heckman calls the place Carlson Cove while Betsey Cammon calls it Carlson Bay.


Red Salmon Creek on the Nisqually delta flows into Nisqually Reach from the Pierce county side of the delta. The name means "red salmon" in the Nisqually Indian language.

South Side

This dock on the south side of McNeil Island is named for its location. When the island was in civilian hands the automobile ferry docked there.

Spootslith Lake

This name for American Lake is listed on a map of land claimed by The Puget's Sound Agricultural Company. Henry Sicade was quoted in the Tacoma Times of June 16, 1920, as saying "Spoot tals" was a legendary horse which was supposed to "infest its waters." "The one who saw the Spootlith and only for an instance in time became great and usually was elevated to a chiefship." (Hunt, p. 42). (Pierce Co.).


Lafayette Balch founded Steilacoom, one of the first towns in Washington, as Port Steilacoom. Versions of the name origin included that it was derived from a “Chief Tail a koom;” that it was for the “pink flowers plentiful in that locality;” and that is was named after Steilacoom Creek by Lafayette Balch, who spelled it “Chielcoom.” 

John Work, the Hudson Bay Company's explorer who visited the place in 1824, called it "Chilacoom." The name of the tribe of Indians of Whidbey Island was "Steilacoom," or "Tsla lakum," or "Tsa cal a coom". 

Port Steilacoom’s rival Steilacoom City was founded August 23, 1851, on the claim of John B. Chapman. Later the two places were to be known as Upper (Chapman's part) and Lower (Balch's part) Steilacoom and were later consolidated.

Lemuel Bills had a Donation Land claim east of that of Captain Balch, part of which he platted into the Town of Steilacoom.

Steilacoom Bay

Also Heaths Bay, Chambers Bay

The Nisqually Journal for June 9, 1846, noted that Steilacoom Bay had been renamed Fisgardita Cove for the launch of the HMS Fisgard. The Fisgard made many trips up and down the Sound while the Fisgard was on station at Nisqually in the 1840s. This name is no longer in use.

Steilacoom City

In August of 1851, John B Chapman located a claim on land south of Port Steilacoom that he called Steilacoom City. “Great rivalry developed between the two town sites...” especially when “the court house and other buildings were erected at Steilacoom City” after the County seat of Pierce County was assigned to Steilacoom in 1852.

Chapman was born December 26, 1797 in Leesburg, Virginia, and came to the northwest from California in 1850 to became the "... first lawyer admitted to the bar in what is now the State of Washington." After locating his claim, he sold it to his son, John M. Chapman, who had come to the northwest from California. He later developed the town that would rival Port Steilacoom.

Still Harbor

This bay, on the north shore of McNeil Island facing Carr inlet in Puget Sound, is apparently named for the absence of waves or current in the anchorage. Gertrude Island is between the harbor and Puget Sound proper. Hitchman records that it was really named Steele Harbor for an early settler and was named Still in error.

Sweet Bay

Ezra Meeker who had a claim on the Island in the 1850s named Sweet Bay on McNeil Island. Meeker wrote that there were large numbers of salal and huckleberries and "...the perfumes from the leaves permeated the atmosphere.” The major buildings of the prison on the island are on the site of the bay, which is now filled in.