San Juan Islands History
From tales of early Coast Salish settlements and Captain Vancouver’s explorations, to a near international war started over the death of a pig, there is plenty of history to discover in the San Juan Islands. Visit the century-old Roche Harbor Resort that played a major role in the industrial development of the West Coast, or the historic Moran Mansion at Rosario Resort. Wander Friday Harbor, one of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations. Visit farms following traditions of the past, yet with modern crops and technology. Sail aboard a historic schooner. Relax and imagine yourself in a simpler time.
With three island historical museums, the San Juan Island National Historical Park and 18 National Historic Registry sites, there are dozens of additional attractions for the history buff or the merely curious to explore. The month of May is a great time to plan a visit, during National Historic Preservation Month’s "History Lives Here: Heritage Month in the San Juan Islands."
Sponsored by Lopez Islander Resort, the Lopez Museum features several exhibits each year that focus on Lopez Island history. Along with permanent First Islanders and Natural History displays, you may see exhibits on farming, fishing, place name origins or island communities. The museum is developing a new interactive Children's Corner in 2012.
The Lopez Museum also maintains a huge photo and document archive, where you may search for long-lost relatives or get information or vintage images of your island home. [more...]
Take a step back in time at the San Juan Historical Museum, located on the former James King farm which was homesteaded in the 1880’s. The museum complex consists of the original farmhouse, carriage house, root cellar and milk house in addition to the first San Juan County jail, a pioneer log cabin, and a barn and resource center. We also maintain an extensive collection of historic artifacts, documents and photographs which showcase the history of San Juan Island. [more...]
History lives here! Exhibits - Archives – Historical Day Fair- Summer Beach Barbecue – Winter Membership Dinner – 6 real log cabins built by Orcas pioneers – Native Coast Salish room – and the biggest, oldest prehistoric Bison in town! [more...]
The San Juan Island National Historical Park, including American Camp and English Camp, was created in 1966 based upon an idea: that individuals and nations can solve their problems peacefully without resorting to violence. For it was here in 1859 that the United States and Great Britain nearly went to war over a pig shot by an American farmer. Actually, it was a bit more complicated than that.. [more...]
Friday Harbor's historic structures are unique remnants of Washington's early history. Spared by the fires that, by 1900, had swept through most cities and towns in the state, Friday Harbor still has many of the original wood-frame buildings typical of the territorial era. Self-guided walking tour brochures are available at local bookstores. Free guided tours every Saturday in May and October. [more...]