The Making of Tapps Island
Tapps Island is one of the happy spin-offs which can occasionally result when man sets out to alter nature. In 1909 the Puget Sound Power Company began its great White River Project. This was designed to use the glacial waters that drained from the slopes of Mount Rainier to produce power, urgently needed by the rapidly developing area.
In 1920, after changing their name to Puget Sound Power and Light Company, they set to work in earnest to electrify the Northwest. This project ultimately produced a grand total of 20 thousand kilowatts, much of which went to provide power for the electric interurban commuter trains of the era. By constructing more than two and a half miles of dikes and diverting water from the White River to raise the water level over 35 feet, one large lake was formed. The four original lakes, most likely of glacial origin, were: Church Lake, Crawford Lake, Lake Kirtley and Lake Tapps. Lake Tapps now has a surface area of 2,566 acres or about 4.5 square miles, and storage capacity of almost 46,700-acre feet of water when the lake is filled to the maximum water elevation of 543 feet, and also has more than 45 miles of shoreline and several wooded islands.
In 1979 Tapps Island, the largest of the islands created, was established as a homeowner’s association with 260 acres of prime, fertile, Northwest soil which has been lovingly enhanced so families may stake a claim to their own island paradise. Tapps Island consists of 545 lots, of which about 530 are completed homes. Our many amenities include a restaurant which overlooks Lake Tapps with beautiful Mount Rainier views, an executive nine-hole golf course, a swimming pool where we have a summer swim lesson program, private boat launch, several sports courts, Outer Island walking trails, children’s play area, bike lanes, and several parks.