Docent Meet-and-Greet on Sunday, October 1 at the Museum

Enjoy learning about South Whidbey history?

Looking for ways to serve your community?

You are invited to attend our Docent Meet-And-Greet on Sunday, October 1 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the South Whidbey Historical Museum in Langley at 312 Second Street.

Enjoy a cup of homemade chicken soup or harvest stew from Grandma’s kitchen plus delicious apple cider while you learn about becoming a volunteer docent at the South Whidbey History Museum for just one afternoon a month.

This is a great way for prospective volunteers to learn about the South Whidbey community, and for existing docents to share their knowledge.

An RSVP would be appreciated so that we may plan accordingly. Thank you.


To RSVP, please click on the evite link below:

Bill Hunziker presentation of SW Whidbey early ferry system

A turntable for cars on a ferry? Ferry service at Sandy Point? A ferry on fire that almost burned the dock as well…

These and other interesting stories are part of a presentation that the late William “Bill” Hunziker (1922-2016) gave on behalf of the South Whidbey Historical Society in 2005 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Freeland. Bill’s father, Stanley Hunziker, was a South Whidbey Ferry captain who worked on the ferries for four-and-a-half decades.

It’s a little long, but well worth watching. The first 30 minutes cover some of the ferry personnel, and the rest covers the history of ferry system development for South Whidbey.

Come and visit us at the Fair!

The South Whidbey Historical Society is staffing the parking lot opposite the Fairgrounds for the Whidbey Island Area Fair running this Thursday, July 20 through Sunday, July 23. When you park in the SWHS lot, you help to support the efforts of your local Historical Society.

The McLeod and Brooks Hill cabins will be open, as well as the Ray Gabelein, Sr. Antique Farming Equipment Barn which SWHS also staffs. If you are not already a member of SWHS, membership forms will be available at the McLeod cabin and the Farm Equipment building.

See you at the Fair!

Two local history presentations on Saturday, July 1

Just a reminder about this Saturday night’s “Then & Now” presentation on the naming of Gedney/Hat Island at Langley United Methodist Hall at 7 p.m.

The following Saturday, July 1, it’s a double-header with two presentations on local history.

From 4 to 5 p.m. on July 1 at the South Whidbey Commons bookstore in Langley, SWHS President Bill Haroldson will give an author presentation on the “Fishing Resorts of South Whidbey” and “The Big One That Got Away. ” Copies of his book (which benefits the Historical Society) will be on hand for sale.

Then at 6:30 p.m. at the Little Brown Church (corner of French Rd. and Maxwelton, George Miller presents part II on the pioneer families of the lower Maxwelton Valley. This presentation will cover the Burley family, with descendant and offshoot familes including the Wildes, the Kinskies, the Grubbs, and the Crawfords.

Admission for both events is free.

“The Naming of Gedney/Hat Island” talk June 24 at 7 p.m.

A link to the slave ship Amistad, the murder of French Peter – a Hudson’s Bay fur trapper, a feud over firewood, rum-runners, a practice bombing run during WWII… who would have thought little Gedney/Hat Island just east of Langley held such intrigue?

And who would ever guess that the Naval officer (Lt. Thomas Gedney) that the Island was originally named for would engage in an endeavor that ultimately (and unintentionally) strengthened the abolition movement and helped lead to the Civil War.

Come to this Saturday’s “Then and Now” presentation on June 24 from 7 – 9 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall of the Langley United Methodist Church. It’s sponsored by the South Whidbey Historical Society and features guest presenter Peter Van Giesen.

The talk is free, but donations are appreciated and help us present events such as these as well as providing for the upkeep of our museum, fair buildings, our website and Facebook page. Thank you.





“Origins & Memories” video traces development of early Langley Schools plus LMS

With the closure of Langley Middle School June 16, it seems a fitting time to share this video explaining the origins of schools in Langley, the history of the Langley Middle and High School campus, and memories of students and staff.

The first part traces the development of South Whidbey Schools, with a focus on the Langley campus containing Langley Middle School and the former Langley High School.

The second half of the video contains recollections of Langley Middle School teachers and staff, including Kathy Gianni, Erik Jokinen, Debbie Richards, Charlie Davies, Susie Richards, Patti Sargent, Rachel Kizer, Jack Kniseley, and Rocco Gianni.

This is a partnership video project of the South Whidbey Historical Society and the South Whidbey Schools Foundation.

Fishing Resorts Part II

Part II of the Fishing Resorts of South Whidbey follows up Part I (see earlier post) with some personal reminiscences of a few of the resort owners, the children of resort owners, and grown-up kids whose families rented cabins at the fishing resorts.

(This is an example of what you support when you donate to the South Whidbey Historical Society. Thank you!)


Part II of Fishing Resorts of South Whidbey

Part II of the Fishing Resorts of South Whidbey follows up Part I (see earlier post) with some personal reminiscences of a few of the resort owners, the children of resort owners, and grown-up kids whose families rented cabins at the fishing resorts.(This is an example of what you support when you donate to the South Whidbey Historical Society. Thank you!)

Posted by South Whidbey Historical Museum on Wednesday, May 31, 2017

7 p.m. Saturday, April 29 at Langley United Methodist Church in Langley, South Whidbey Historical Society President Bill Haroldson is presenting a talk about Whidbey Island’s namesake: Joseph Whidbey. It will include a special focus on his life after the Vancouver expedition.
Bill will show slides of Whidbey’s estate in Plymouth, England and his endeavors there. The talk is free, but donations to the Historical Society are most welcome.
During his 1792 voyage to Puget Sound, British Captain George Vancouver sent Joseph Whidbey, Master of the ship Discovery, to explore and circumnavigate the large island that Vancouver later named in Whidbey’s honor.


Do you remember when fishing resorts dotted the coastline of South Whidbey?

Perhaps your family came over for a week in the summertime. Or perhaps a relative operated one of these family-run resorts.

South Whidbey Historical Society President Bill Haroldson recounts this bygone chapter of South Whidbey’s history in part one of a two-part series on the era of South Whidbey’s fishing resorts. (Part two will focus on individual resorts.)

If you have a memory or photo you would like to share, we would love to hear from you.

You can also purchase Bill’s book about these fishing resorts at the South Whidbey Historical Museum, now open weekends from 1 to 4 p.m. All sales benefit the nonprofit South Whidbey Historical Society.

Are you old enough to remember what a party line was? A switchboard? Do you have an interest in knowing how telephone service got started on South Whidbey?

Next time you are in downtown Langley, stop in and visit Whidbey Telecom’s new BiG GiG Center at 117 Anthes Avenue, just down the hill from the South Whidbey Historical Museum. They have a conference room filled with a timeline history of phone service on South Whidbey which dates back to 1893, plus several early telephones.

The Big Gig Center is open weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.