Carlyon Beach is named for Fred Carlyon (born June 10, 1865, died March 7, 1956), who settled in Olympia in 1883. He was a businessman and a photographer who also made his mark going north in the Alaska Gold Rush to operate a jewelry/watchmaking shop in Wrangell, Alaska. Following his return to Washington he developed a number of Olympia properties, including a racetrack and the Carlyon Beach Resort. The Carlyon Beach Resort and farm operated from 1927 to 1953. Carlyon Beach Resort was a favorite among salmon fisherman because of the large numbers of salmon attracted to the herring that spawned off the point. At its peak, sixty boats were available for rent on the property for 50 cents a day. The resort also featured cabins for rent, a bait store, and a farmhouse, which is now the Association clubhouse and offices. Fred’s sheep grazed on the land that is now the waterfront park.
Fred ordered aerial photos and began the process to develop Carlyon Beach after people first tried to get Thurston County to buy it for a park. It was voted down. An early owner in CBHA had a plat map dated June 22, 1953, before the final recordings had been done. Fred Carlyon died in March of 1956, before all the work was completed. Carlyon Beach Development Company took over and recorded the plat of Carlyon Beach Homeowners Association (then called Carlyon Beach Country Club), Division 1 in October of 1959. Division 2 was recorded in September, 1960. Many people used their lot as a camping site, but slowly cabins and homes were built. Today we are approaching full build out, as more families choose to make Carlyon Beach their home.
Our marina was completed in the 1970’s by visionary members volunteering to do what was needed to make it happen. Everyone pitched in to finance the work. Volunteers also put in countless hours building the Wanigan, making the bulkhead serviceable, donating their skills at welding, carpentry, dirt works, and anything else they could do to get things done.
At first the county allowed standard individual on-site septic systems on each lot, but as the neighborhood grew changes were decreed by Thurston County. The original Waste Water Treatment Plant that served Carlyon Beach was an extended aeration activated sludge package plant with chlorine disinfection that was constructed in 1978. It had a capacity of 12,000 gallons per day (gpd). Then in the 1990’s, there was a building moratorium until our Waste Water Treatment Plant upgrade was completed. When the plant was rebuilt in 1998 CBHA had an environmental impact statement completed for 60,000 gpd. The new plant used sequencing batch reactors (SBRs) with UV disinfection. This is our current system, with trucks pumping and transporting our liquids for treatment.
The County also watched over our ground water to evaluate what that put into Puget Sound. The solution they mandated to keep oil and other contaminants from reaching the Sound are our Bio-Swales. It was a very costly system to install, but it filters the run-off through grasses and other natural filters before the water finds its way into either Totten Inlet or Squaxin Passage.
Our neighborhood is growing, changing, evolving. We are part of that change, living our history daily.