Longbranch (map) was named for Long Branch, New Jersey: a resort town on the Atlantic. In 1889, Edward Yeasell wanted to duplicate that resort on the Pacific. Although his plan failed, Longbranch received its name (which was changed to a single word by the post office in 1894 to avoid delivery confusion with the nearby Long Beach).
Longbranch sits on the beautiful Filucy Bay (with two stories about how it was named). The first hut on the Key Peninsula was built here by the French Canadian, Pierre Legard in 1848. As was common in those days, he had a native spouse from the Haida Tribe and her name was Filucy. Another explanation has the bay called Tetusi on the early charts of the 1841 Wilkes mapping expedition and Filucy may be an interpretation of this name.
The first wharf was built here in 1885. It served as a dock for steamers and sternwheelers of the Mosquito Fleet. From 1922 to the 1940’s, it was a ferry landing for service from Steilacoom to Longbranch via Anderson and McNeil Islands.
The dock area contained a post office (1890), two stores (1886 and 1893), a fruit farmer’s cooperative store (moved here in 1907 and collapsed into the water in 1928), a community church (built in 1908, condemned in 1934) and a hotel (built in 1889 and moved to avoid subsidence in 1934).
text by Marjorie Radonich & Simon Priest