In October 1891 Captain Tozier, commander of the Revenue Cutter the U.S. Grant, was in search of smugglers in the San Juan Islands. A canny and experienced officer, Tozier set up a sting operation near a suspected smuggler's cabin. Several of his men…

The boldness of the Japanese surprise attack in 1941 shocked Americans, and some wondered if the West Coast itself was vulnerable. In the days before radar, only human observation could detect an incoming aerial assault. The US government mobilized…

Popeye is a female harbor seal commonly spotted at the Port of Friday Harbor. She’s got one blind, milky eye (hence her name) and she’s become something of a local celebrity. Popeye was originally attracted to the harbor by food scraps dumped by…

Interaction is a contemporary carving created by Musqueam Coast Salish artist Susan A. Point. Located at Friday Harbor’s Fairweather Park, this sculpture “represents a healing chapter in local history.” The sculpture is made from two cedar posts and…

Prohibition took hold in Washington state in 1916, but failed to eliminate the state’s thirst for alcohol. Bootleggers were all too happy to quench the thirst, and smuggling whiskey from Canada became commonplace. Rumrunners operated throughout the…

Along the mile trail to Young Hill lies a solemn clearing with five gravestones. The white picket fence enclosing the area marks the cemetery for the English camp. Buried in the confined area are six men, one civilian and five Royal Marines, who died…

In 1853, the steamer HMS Beaver brought the first shipment of sheep to a farm located at the southern point of San Juan Island named Belle Vue Sheep Farm. Established by Charles Griffin, Belle Vue Sheep Farm was the perfect location to raise sheep…

Americans began to fortify San Juan Island even before the Joint Occupation Agreement of 1859. Anticipating war with Britain, they chose the site of Camp San Juan accordingly. Set on a high exposed hill overlooking Griffin Bay and the Strait of Juan…

Following their victories in the Opium Wars of East Asia, some Royal Marine veterans of the Second Opium War came here to Garrison Bay. They agreed to extend their service for extra pay. Earlier, conflicts between British and American settlers on San…

Medicine prior to the modern era was precarious. Infectious disease was poorly understood, anesthesia (other than whiskey) was uncommon, and doctors rarely washed before an operation. Surgeons did not widely use antiseptics until the release of…