About Boston Harbor Association

The Boston Harbor Association is a community action group located in the Northeast section of Thurston County, near the City of Olympia, State of Washington, USA.

The Association was formed in September 1972, when nine residents of the greater Boston Harbor Area gathered to form the Boston Harbor Association (BHA). The Association is governed by a nine member board elected annually.

The Purpose of the Boston Harbor Association

“…to provide a forum and action group concerning any matters pertaining directly or indirectly to the public concern of persons resident of the Boston Harbor Area…including, but not limited to, any matters touching upon education, housing, conservation, pollution control, traffic control, streets and highways, the establishment of greenbelt areas both private and public, the formulation and establishment of plans concerning any development within the Boston Harbor Area, the establishment of recreational areas and facilities, improvement or development of property or land within the boundaries of the Boston Harbor Area, the acceptance of any gifts private or public, to be dedicated to the general public or for the residents of the Boston Harbor area as dictated by the donors, and to receive property, gifts, donations, dues, fees, special assessments and any other properties or monies for use in carrying out the general purposes of this corporation (Click to see Articles of Incorporation) , as determined from time to time by the bylaws (Click to see Bylaws) . The period of duration shall be perpetual.”

Boston Harbor Community Map

At the time of incorporation, the Association had as its southern boundary Gull Harbor Inlet, traveling NE up Woodard Bay Road, to the center of Woodard Bay, the north to include all Fishtrap Loop and then following the shoreline back down to and including Gull Harbor Inlet. Residents of that area had representation on the BHA board of directors.

Recently the activities of the Association have centered on the platted lots of the historic Boston Harbor Plat surrounding the Boston Harbor Marina due to the high concentration of residents and the new sewer and water system.

To download a copy of the map in PDF form, click the image below.

History of Boston Harbor Community

"Where the sails meet the rails"

Dofflemyer Point, at the eastern entrance to Budd Inlet, was named Brown’s Point by the Wilkes Expedition, 1841, in honor of James Brown, carpenter ‘s mate in one of the crews. Its present name came from Isaac and Susan Dofflemyer, who secured a donation land claim to 320 acres on this point in 1852. The point and its lighthouse mark the western entrance to Boston Harbor.

In 1907, promoter and marketing whiz, C.D. Hillman, advertised this beautiful spot as “Boston Harbor, where sails meet rails”. Pamphlets showed the anchorage as a full-blown city filled with shipyards, mills and smelters, as well as impressive homes and happy people. “You can gather strawberries for your Christmas dinner.” “A transcontinental railroad will be built.” “Boston Harbor and Olympia will soon be one city.” “Eight fresh water lakes full of trout and black bass”. Hillman then brought thousands of Seattlites down on big paddleboats. On one trip he brought 1700 people on the steamer Yosemite along with 300 people on the Multnomah from Olympia. 500 people were left standing at the dock in Seattle. Meanwhile, an estimated $100,000 in sales were made before the steamer even docked in Boston Harbor. All this at $50 per lot!

Eventually, Hillman’s scheming caught with him. He sold some lots over 15 times and, as a result of his wheeler-dealer techniques, was convicted of 13 counts of mail fraud stemming from his promotional brochures and of jury tampering in his trial.

The promotion fell by the wayside and the community continued sleepily on with some residents still holding lots sold by Hillman. The area slowly built up as a summer home and small farm area, with the 1920’s seeing a road to Olympia and the Marina being built. The ease of access to Olympia and the building of the Boston Harbor School began to bring families to the area, laying the foundation for the quaint and charming neighborhood we have today.

Native American History of the "Boston Harbor" Penninsula

Cheetwoot and the Place for Medicine

The Northern Peninsula of Cheetwoot, modern day Olympia, was known as a “place for bears” and has been renowned for generations as a place not only for its stunning beauty but also for its rich resources – both for food and medicine. The current Boston Harbor community is nestled between the Budd inlet and the Henderson inlet and has been a place of peace between First Nations. As a shared border between the Squaxin Island Tribe, the Nisqually Tribe, and the Stl’pulmsh (Cowlitz), this region was used and shared between communities as a place for gathering important and powerful medicines and for seasonal food such as clams, fish and wild game. 

The peoples of these tribes would set up temporary homes and thrive with each other as they navigated the beautiful landscape and rich lands. This region is included in the infamous Medicine Creek Treaty, 1854 wherein under Article 3 specifically states:

“The right of taking fish, at all usual and accustomed grounds and stations, is further secured to said Indians in common with all citizens of the Territory, and of erecting temporary houses for the purpose of curing, together with the privilege of hunting, gathering roots and berries, and pasturing their horses on open and unclaimed lands: Provided, however, That they shall not take shellfish from any beds staked or cultivated by citizens, and that they shall alter all stallions not intended for breeding-horses, and shall keep up and confine the latter.”

Thus acknowledging the cultural importance of this region, it is with great pleasure that we welcome and support activities important to our Native American neighbors.

For more information on this or to check the Native American historical records of your neighborhood, consider looking at this resource: