About Whidbey Island

Whidbey Island Lighthouse

Whidbey Island Lighthouse

Langley Waterfront Park

Langley Waterfront Park

Double Bluff Beach

Double Bluff Beach

Freeland Waterfront Park

Freeland Waterfront Park

Greenbank Farm Galleries

Greenbank Farm Galleries

Clinton Beach and Ferry

Clinton Beach and Ferry

Downtown Historic Langley

Downtown Historic Langley

Sunset on West Beach

Sunset on West Beach

Whidbey Island was once inhabited by members of the Lower Skagit, Swinomish, Suquamish, Snohomish and other Native American tribes. The first known European sighting of Whidbey Island was during the 1790 Spanish expedition of Manuel Quimper and Gonzalo López de Haro on the Princesa Real. The island was fully explored in 1792 by Captain George Vancouver. In May of that year, Royal Navy officers and members of Vancouver's expedition, Joseph Whidbey and Peter Puget, began to map and explore the areas of what would later be named Puget Sound. After Whidbey circumnavigated the island in June 1792, Vancouver named the island in his honor.

The first known overnight stay on Whidbey Island by a non-native American was made on May 26, 1840 by a Catholic missionary during travel across Puget Sound.

Lieutenant Charles Wilkes, commander of the United States Exploring Expedition of 1838–1842, sailed the USS Vincennes into Penn Cove in 1841. There he found the largest Native settlement on Puget Soundand noted that a Catholic mission had been started with a 2-acre fenced garden. Wilkes named the lower cove Holmes Harbor, after his assistant surgeon, Silas Holmes.

In 1850, Colonel Isaac N. Ebey became the first permanent white settler on Whidbey Island, claiming a square mile of prairie with a southern shoreline on Admiralty Inlet. Even though he was farming potatoes and wheat on his land, he was also the postmaster for Port Townsend, Washington and rowed a boat daily across the inlet in order to work at the post office there. Fort Ebey, named for the Colonel, was established in 1942 on the west side of the central part of the island, just northwest of Coupeville.

Admiralty Head Lighthouse is located in this area, on the grounds of Fort Casey State Park. The area around Coupeville is the federally protected Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve, named in honor of Isaac Ebey. Citation courtesy of wikipedia