Today we may take post offices for granted, but soon after they were first instituted following the Revolutionary War, post offices often became the hubs of civilization on the American frontier. As post offices were few and far between settlers…

Dancing was historically a very significant form of community entertainment on Orcas Island, and dancing remains popular to this day. Dance halls were built in many island communities, including Doe Bay, Olga, Orcas, West Sound, and Deer Harbor. In…

Sea and sun bathing at Crescent Beach have been favorite pastimes for Orcas Islanders for generations. Just east of Eastsound, Crescent Beach is located in Ships Bay. Today the beach is part of a 130+ acre conservation area that provides a haven for…

History is felt perhaps nowhere more deeply on Orcas Island than at Madrona Point. Named for the swaths of Madrona trees that line the 30 acre point, the land here is sacred. Used as a burial ground by the Lummi people from time immemorial, Madrona…

The historical Donohue House is known today as the Golden Tree Inn & Hostel. Built by master carpenter Michael Donohue the house was originally part of his 180 acre homestead. Donohue was a Civil War veteran, he and his family settled on Orcas…

Known over the years by many names, including Eastsound Hotel, Eastsound House, Mt. Constitution Inn, and the Beach Hotel, today this charming house is known as the Outlook Inn. Built in the late 1800s by Charles Shattuck, the Inn began its life as…

No story of the islands’ aviation history would be complete without mention of Roy Franklin. Originally a military pilot, Roy returned to Washington State after serving in WWII and soon became an air taxi pilot operating in San Juan County. His taxi…

Early visitors to Orcas Island were often as impressed by the lack of saloons, and the related mischief usually pertaining to these establishments, as they were by the pastoral beauty of the island. Friday Harbor and San Juan Island had a deserved…

The little island nestled in Fishing Bay on the southern end of Eastsound has been known by several different names over the years. The most shocking of its titles was “Jap Island.” In fact, the name was even recognized by the U.S. Bureau of Land…

The Orcas Island Historical Museums consist of the Historical Museum (located at 181 North Beach Road) and the Crow Valley Schoolhouse Museum (located at 1668 Crow Valley Road). The Historical Museum in Eastsound is out of six historic cabins and one…