The late Bill Hunziker (1922-2016), son of ferry boat Captain Stanley Hunziker who did the Clinton-Mukilteo run, was given a movie camera by his parents when he was a boy in the 1930s.

He shot many home movies on South Whidbey, and even took the movie camera to his grade school in Mukilteo, where he attended Rosehill School. (Bill’s mother wanted him to attend a larger school than the one in Langley, and it was an easy ferry commute from his nearby home on Columbia Beach.)

These two movies, one black and white one — presumably shot when he was in 7th grade, and a slightly later one shot in Kodacolor in 1937 capture what school was like in the late 1930s.

It was a time when male teachers wore three-piece suits and ties, girl students wore dresses and bobby socks, and there was only one microscope for the whole science class.

When Capt. George Vancouver landed on the shores of Point Elliott in 1792, he noted the expanse of wild roses growing near the shoreline.The name given to the place where Rosehill School was located, Rose Point, was coined by Gen. William Broughton, a member of Vancouver’s expedition.

In the 1890s, when a prominent Everett architect designed a Victorian-style school just up the hill from the beach, it was named Rose Hill School, later shortened to Rosehill School. The first school, a wooden structure with an onion-shaped dome, burned in 1928. A second, larger one was built in 1929.

The stone monument in the video was placed in 1929 by the Marcus Whitman Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution to commemorate the 1855 Point Elliott Treaty made between 82 native American leaders and the U.S. Government.

In the 1970s Rosehill School was converted to Rosehill Community Center and later torn down in 2010 for the current, more modern Rosehill Community Center.

The opening credit of the video was fashioned to reflect Bill Hunziker’s hope of one day emulating the great Hollywood directors.

Warren Farmer remembered…

We were saddened to learn of the passing of Warren Farmer, one of South Whidbey’s oldest native sons.…/warren-farmer-april-25…/

Here are some excerpts from a recent article on Warren as he was honored as a tribal elder by the S’Kallam tribe :

His family roots go back to the earliest written history of Whidbey Island.

His great-grandmother, Emily Lowe Madsen, was a full S’Klallam tribal member from Sequim. She was married to Christian Madsen, a Danish sea captain who was making his fortune cutting and shipping timber to California around 1860.

Madsen won property called Willow Point on Whidbey Island in a poker game. It was so named because of its dense growth of willow trees and was one of three permanent villages of the Snohomish Indians.

A large potlatch house, three longhouses and few private dwellings were located there. Willow Point is known today as Bush Point.

In 1880 Madsen decided to build a warehouse at Bush Point and persuaded business partner John Curtis Farmer and his twenty-year-old son John Carlton Farmer to move from San Francisco to Whidbey Island.

A romance developed between the younger Farmer and Minnie Lowe, Madsen’s stepdaughter. They were married in 1883.

Minnie Lowe descended from the fifth brother, Que-ni-a’som, (called Quathim-son “the Wanderer,” also called Valparaiso Joe), who married the daughter of a Clallam Bay sea captain. Their son Thiedmalth was the father of Minnie Lowe.

Warren’s grandmother, Minnie Lowe Farmer was determined to buy land at Bush Point.

In 1884, she paid one hundred dollars in gold coin to purchase sixty-six acres of land at Bush Point. Two years later, the couple purchased an additional 55 acres at Bush Point from Christian Madsen for $300. Together Minnie and John developed the land into a prosperous farm.

As the farm thrived it became headquarters for many activities on the west side of the island. They built a large barn, brought in Holstein cows, created an orchard, vegetable garden, and raised chickens. As time went on they built a store and a sailboat which was christened the Egg Box. It was used to shuttle eggs, milk, butter, fruits, vegetables, and meats to the passenger and freight boats that anchored offshore.

Warren’s father, Charles, was born in 1884. In 1885 his sister Josephine was born, followed by John in 1887, and Emily in 1892. Minnie Farmer died in 1897, leaving her two sons to assist their father in running the farm. The Farmer family continued to live at Bush Point.

A lighthouse fueled by an oil lamp was built, and it was Emily’s job to light the lamp each night and extinguish it in the morning.

Fish traps were an important part of the economy. One trap could catch up to 100,000 salmon in a day.

Warren was born at Bush Point in 1934 to parents Charles Carlton Farmer and Cordelia Lee “Mae” Arnold Farmer. About this time, fish traps were abolished because there was fear that they were destroying the salmon runs.

Whidbey had car ferry service and roads were being built. This started the resort industry. Salmon were plentiful and a family could spend a weekend on the island renting a cabin for the less than five dollars a night and go home with fresh caught salmon.

Bush Point resort was of the first fishing resorts on the island. Salmon derbies were held with big prizes which attracted more and more visitors to Whidbey.

At one time, there were some 30 resorts on the south end of Island. They are all gone now as families bought the land for summer and permanent homes.

Warren lived at Bush Point and graduated from Langley High School in 1952. He worked many years at the resort. In 1958, he married Darla Ulskey. The couple moved to Everett and established Farmer Realty developing acreage in Snohomish and Island Counties.

Their children Robert, David, and Kathy grew up in Everett but spent summers at Bush Point. Warren and Darla returned to Bush Point 42 years ago and built their home next to the boathouse of Hap’s Resort.


Before it was called Sandy Point…

Before it was called Sandy Point, it was called Brown’s Point, but before that, it was a permament Snohomish village called TSEHT-skluhks (‘ragged nose’).

The village had a potlatch house and clam beds which drew visitors from as far away as the Samish. Captain George Vancouver noted in his journals that Master Joseph Whidbey on their visit in 1792 saw two hundred people at this location.

in 1859 a 19-year-old Portugese-born sailor named Joseph Brown jumped ship and settled among the tribe in the village. Six years later he married 14-year-old Mary Shelton (likely a relative of Chief William Shelton who was born there in 1869).

Joseph built an impressive house up on the bluff, and he and Mary became the parents of 14 children.

He hung a lantern out at night for passing ships, and the point became known as “Brown’s Point.”

At first, school was held in their home in 1889, but the next year a school was built at Brown’s Point, and another school 10 years later on Decker Street which then was a skid road in the woods. This was followed by another structure in 1901 on land donated by the Browns.

Mabel Anthes, daughter of Langley founder Jacob Anthes recalled attending school with five of the Brown children. School was in session three months of the year.

In 1915 the Browns sold much of their acreage at Brown’s Point to 16 developers from Everett who formed the Sandy Point Recreation Company in 1916. Joseph died in 1920 and Mary died in 1928.

We welcome any additional information or photos from descendants.

Indigenous Peoples on South Whidbey Field Trip

The South Whidbey Schools Foundation provided a $3,500 grant this year for all the 4th grade classes (Rachel Kizer’s, Sue Raley’s, and Kathy Stanley’s classes) at SW Elementary School to learn about the history, way of life, and values of local indigenous peoples.

Students study Washington state history, trace their own family journeys to Washington, and learn about the early years of Washington and the indigenous people who lived here.

As part of the project, students will take several field trips including this week’s trip to the Hibulb Cultural Center to learn about the Snohomish Tribe.

Students will next go to the Island County Historical Museum in Coupeville to take advantage of their “Every Kid in a Park” to learn about early Native American life at Ebey’s Landing.

Then students will tour the South Whidbey Historical Museum with an emphasis on the indigenous history of the south end of Whidbey Island, plus the settlers who founded our local towns.

In addition, the grant will fund a guest speaker to help students learn in greater depth about the local Snohomish presence on South Whidbey, including the last hereditary chief of the Snohomish, William Shelton, (1868-1938), who was born and raised on South Whidbey.

We would like to see this classroom project funded every year and invite a community group, local business, or an individual or family to adopt this grant. If you are interested in becoming a patron of this project, please contact Bob Wiley at at

Baker’s Corner Store

As South Whidbey developed, small stores and mercantiles dotted the coastline at Langley, Bush Point, old Clinton, Possession Point, Glendale, Maxwelton, Holmes Harbor and Austin (off Mutiny Bay). Later, as roads were developed, additional stores opened.

Did you know that there once had been a store at the corner of Bush Point and Mutiny Bay roads? From 1920 until it burned down in 1934, Ma Baker — Helen Gurine Baker, a Norwegian immigrant who was widowed with four children — operated Baker’s Corner Grocery.

It was not only a small grocery with bulk dry goods, but also had a small restaurant, served baked goods, carried hay and later gasoline, and sold shoes, overalls, women’s dresses, children’s clothes and hardware items.

There will be more about Baker’s Corner Grocery in the next South Whidbey Historical Society newsletter. Do you have a memory of an early store on South Whidbey to share?

The Dog House

WhidbeyTV just released this wonderful new video about the history of the Dog House in Langley. Thanks to all who participated.

(Excerpted from “Baker’s Corner – Early Days on Whidbey Island” by John Baker.)

The Pope and Talbot logging camp on Holmes Harbor was described in the previous post about schoolteacher Julia Mackie.

“According to Austin (Deke*) Marshall, who worked in the Classic logging camp prior to joining the Army in 1918 the name Classic was selected as follows:

Mr. Brockman the camp superintendent told his daughter Glenola Brockman and (camp schoolteacher) Julia Mackie to select a name for the camp. The crew, upon hearing this, wanted to be a part of the naming. So the two girls decided to put all the camp’s personnel names in a hat and the name drawn would have the honor of naming the camp, subject to the superintendent’s approval.

Now there was a well dressed dude in camp who everyone called ‘Classy Claude’. Sure enough his name was drawn and the crew decided to call the camp ‘Classy’. Julia Mackie decided that was not a suitable name and changed the name to Classic, which the superintendent approved.

Like all logging operations, they come to an end. Classic hotel was moved to the public landing at the Greenbank farm. Alex Engstrom was the storekeeper and Postmaster at the Greenbank Farm store. The Greenbank Farm livestock developed tuberculosis and the entire operation shut down, The store and school was moved up on the hill close to the present store.”

*Baker maintained that ‘Deke’ Marshall actually spelled his nickname as “Deak”.

Miss Julia Mackie’s Weekly Commute

Think you have a tough commute? Consider the weekly one Miss Julia Mackie had in 1914.

After graduating high school in Everett, Julia was hired as a teacher in a logging camp near present day Honeymoon Bay.

It was a large Pope and Talbot logging camp (later named the “Classic Camp” — more on that in the next post) which cut timber all along the western side of Holmes Harbor.

Built in 1912, by the time of opening for operations in 1914, the camp was comprised of a dock, a 20-room hotel, a general store which had a U.S. Post Office, a bunkhouse, a one-room school, a mess hall, and several small family homes. The camp superintendent was a Mr. Brockman and the storekeeper and postmaster was a Mr. Wilson.

Twenty-year-old Julia Mackie of the Maxwelton Mackie’s was the one-room school teacher. Miss Mackie ate her meals with the loggers, as did the students, who had hot lunches in the mess hall.

She received $2.50 a month per student which amounted to near $44.00 a month, plus her room and board.

When her teaching duties were done on Friday Julia saddled her pony named “Fleet” and rode the 14 miles to her folks’ home in Maxwelton. Sunday afternoon she would ride back to camp for another week of teaching.

It is hard to figure the route she took to get home. There was a poor trail from the camp to the top of the first hill when you leave Highway 525 for Bush Point. In good weather she would use that or she would take the wagon road from Dog Fish Bay (now Honeymoon Bay) to the Coupeville Road then head south through Austin up over the Lancaster Hill and down to Deer Lagoon where she would guide her horse over the dike and to the opposite bank and take a wagon road to her folks’ home.

Another route would be to ride the road to Bay view and head up close to the present cemetery and then take the wagon road home.

In 1917 Julia married Myron Bixner (a logger at Maxwelton). In 1931 her father, P.H. Mackie, built Julia a small store (later called the Sea Shell) next to her house to sell produce, milk, butter, and eggs from his farm. She was a young widow then with three children. She also sold chickens and salmon and baked bread and pies to sell to summer visitors.

The store was expanded and named Cross Country Store in the 1940s after Julia married Ray Cross. It was sold in 1950 and changed hands several times before closing.


Information and photos gratefully acknowledged and excerpted from John Baker’s memoir “Baker’s Corner – Early Days on Whidbey” and the website.

Probably at Myron Brixner’s logging camp

Across the street from the park

Called the Green Gate or Sea Shell

Circa late 40’s

Across the street from the park


Did you know that South Whidbey had several canneries which processed everything from salmon to apricots?

Here’s a write-up from the August 27, 1963 Seattle Times by reporter Marshall Wilson.

FREELAND, Whidbey Island, Aug. 27.- Jay C. Fordham, who has yet to feel the thrill of taking a hook from the mouth of a salmon; is literally “up to his ears” in humpies, silvers and kings.

Fordham owns and operates the Harbor Custom Cannery which has tempo­rarily closed its doors to all jobs that don’t pertain to fish.

Fordham took over the Whidbey Island cannery in December.

“During the first two weeks of this year’s unusual run, we did more business than the previous owner did, in the past three years,” Fordham said.

The cannery does custom work for fishermen who want to keep their own catches, cans fruit and vegetables, specializes in mail order sales to every state in the the union and tries to keep on hand a stock of canned goods for over-the-counter sales to non-fishermen and non-farmers.

“We were just starting to work on the apricot crop when this run of salmon started,” Fordham said. “We canceled the apricots and have forgotten about the vegetable crops, such as beans and beets, which have come in during this period.”

“We’re planning to get started on the apple crop in September,” Fordham said. “But I hear there’s another salmon run predicted for about that time.”

Fordham was only 36 years old when he retired two years ago as a chief air controlman in the Navy. The ex-Texan retired in Florida but headed back to Whidbey Island, where he had served five years at Oak Harbor.

He quickly admits he knew nothing about the cannery business and almost as little about fishing.

“I bought a 20-foot boat but I have yet to find time to wet a line,” Fordham said. “I’ve snagged two salmon in my whole life – one in the belly and one in the side. I have yet to make that first clean catch.”

The lights at the cannery burn throughout the night – –
“We have two shifts, and they work around the clock,” Fordham said.

Regular crews are supplemented with high-school pu­pils and college students and off-duty Navy men from Oak Harbor.

“The plant’s capacity is about 1,500 to 2,000 pounds of fish a day,” Fordham said. “We’ve been averaging 2,000 pounds of custom work coming in every day.”

The excess is stored in a deep-freeze in Clinton, where about 10,000 pounds was on hand yesterday.

Every customer who brings in a fish is given a number which remains with his fish until it is in the can.

“Our big job isn’t getting the fish canned – it’s getting it sorted and ready for the right customer,” Ford­ham said. “The plant, attic and even our own apartment is stacked to the ceiling with orders.”

The plant, which once ran four months a year, won’t close down this year when the fishing season is over.

“There’s some fish all dur­ing the year,” Fordham said. “There are the vege­tables and fruit. Now we’re starting out a smoked-turkey line. And we have done some work on health foods.”

Turning to the nearby sea, Fordham has experimented with a kelp relish and a glazed-kelp substitute for raisins.

The modest ex-chief explains that “I’m as lazy as the next man, but I have a wife and four children to support. I’m just hungry.”

Mrs. Fordham and the children – Barbara Lou, 15, Deborah Sue, 14, Jay, Jr., 9, and Mary Ellen, 6 – all help out at the cannery.


Mystery Weekend Hours

Stop by and see us at the Museum this weekend as we re-open for Mystery Weekend with extended hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. We have one of the clues!

The Museum will then be open weekends from 1 to 4 p.m. the rest of the season. Admission is always free. Be sure to enter our drawing for a chance to win a free book from our Museum store.