Mussel Chowder Tasting and Competition 2020


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

MusselFest is on our heels and we’re as excited as ever to see old friends and meet new friends for our annual winter boost in Coupeville.

MusselFest website

As many of you know the Mussel Chowder Tastings are the truest of traditions for MusselFest. To give you a bit about the tickets and their participants here’s the line up and how each location describes itself. Getting familiar may help you choose your tickets. Or just go for all 4.

The Penn Ticket

Captain Whidbey Inn:Our “living room style” restaurant and dining room reflect Captain Whidbey’s warm and casual approach to hospitality. The restaurant menu veers towards the rustic and hearty, with inventive shellfish dishes, breakfast boards, local produce from our garden, house-smoked meats, house-cured pickles and salmon, homemade bread, jam and other delicacies.” websitefacebookinstagram

Little Red Hen Bakery:Little Red Hen Bakery began by serving bread at our sister restaurant, the Oystercatcher. We expanded, providing island residents and Coupeville Farmer’s Market patron’s access to our baked goods. It continued to grow and in 2019, Little Red Hen Bakery had the opportunity to expand into its own restaurant. We offer small batch artisan breads, buns, rolls, and pastries from locally sourced ingredients.” websitefacebookinstagram

Ciao:I convey my love for people by cooking for them. I find nothing more satisfying than nourishing people. I believe that putting fresh and beautiful food inside ourselves can feed our souls. It was my privilege to apprentice under Enzo Coccia in Naples, Italy as a Pizzaiolo (pizza-maker). The Neapolitan Pizza must be made by hand. From the dough ball to the opening of the dough and the crafting of the pizza – everything at Ciao is made by hand with skill and love.” – Owner Mark Laska. websitefacebooktwitterinstagram

Freeland Cafe’: “The Freeland Café has been a Whidbey Island institution for over 44 years. We offer casual dining with friendly service in a relaxed setting. We are comfort food at its best. Breakfast is served all day, home-style cooking, All-American favorites and daily specials. Hash browns made from real potatoes, tempura dishes hand-dipped in homemade batter, fresh-cut vegetables, and old-fashioned milkshakes made in a 30 oz stainless steel cup and delivered to your table.” websitefacebookinstagram 

The Cove Ticket 

Current’s Bistro: “Our dishes are heavily influenced by local products grown on Whidbey Island. Our local farm partners are Penn Cove Shellfish, Willowood Farm, Fat Cat Farm, Bells Farm, and Whidbey Island Micro Greens. Fresh, creative Northwest cuisine and a variety of local wines on beautiful Whidbey Island. websitefacebookinstagram 

The Cove: “Our restaurant features seafood, wild game and more, using local ingredients as much as possible with a fine selection of wine and craft beer! We are located on the water in the Historic Coupeville Wharf Building at the end of the pier!!” facebookinstagram

The Pizza Factory: “For over 30 years, Pizza Factory has stayed true to its roots. Family-friendly dining and a high-quality product make us who we are. We strive to make everyone feel as if this is the hometown pizzeria. Our hand-tossed pizzas are simply the best. Each pie is made with 100% real mozzarella cheese and our signature sauce.” facebook 

Penn Cove Brewing and Taproom: “Our vision is about the art, skill, and technique of making good things from scratch by local people. We proudly source all of our craft beer from the surrounding area and Pacific Northwest as well as our offerings of wine, cider, mead, and food.” websitefacebookinstagram 

Mussel Ticket 

Front Street Grill: “A northwest American Grill featuring local and northwest meats, seafood, and produce. Our guests dine with breathtaking waterside views of the historic Coupeville Wharf and Mount Baker while enjoying fresh sustainable seafood and fresh northwest produce and beef.” websitefacebookinstagram

Sunshine Drip: “We created a coffee shop that brings people together from all walks of life. We continually work on improving our knowledge of handcrafted food and beverages. We provide our historic town with a community gathering place, a good cup of organic coffee, and homemade food.” facebookinstagram 

Toby’s Tavern: “Toby’s Tavern has been a tavern and restaurant since the early 60’s. It has been the local center of good cheer for Central Whidbey for generations. The kitchen prepares delicious meals, especially local Penn Cove Mussels, fresh local seafood, steaks, prime rib, and the best burgers on the planet. Toby’s even has its own micro brew, Toby’s Parrot Red Ale.” websitefacebook

Pacific Northwest Art School: “The Pacific Northwest Art School is an Art School located on beautiful Whidbey Island in Washington State.  Each year we hold workshops and classes in Fiber Arts, Mixed Media, Painting, and Photography.” websitefacebookinstagram – NOTE: Pacific Northwest Art School has members with great cooking skills.

Fest Ticket

The Oystercatcher: “The Oystercatcher has proudly served simply good food for almost 20 years. Chef Tyler Hansen and his team create a harmonious farm-to-table menu to showcase all that the island, and the region, has to offer. Historically, the island provided an abundance of food, with the prairie serving as a sacred place for those who lived here. We honor that tradition at the restaurant today by working with the farmers who continue to keep that heritage alive on the island.” websitefacebookinstagram 

Callen’s Restaurant: “Callen’s has been a food service venue since the 1950’s. Callen’s Restaurant offers Whidbey Island inspired real food from an all scratch kitchen. Chef and Owner Michael Weeks has an extensive culinary career spanning over three decades and has operated several restaurants in the Seattle area.” websitefacebookinstagram

The Tyee Restaurant: “Established in 1926, the Tyee offers a “home away from home” setting. Known for it’s “Best of Whidbey” awards and comfortable setting, our restaurant offers customers a large menu selection from traditional favorites, daily specials, child dishes, salad bar, prime rib, and fish & chips. From the days of “Aunt Pat’s Confectionery,” residents have known they could come to the Tyee for a delicious gourmet dessert; not to mention our old fashioned milkshakes and malts!” websitefacebook   


SO there you have it, the Penn, the Cove, the Mussel and the Festival Chowder Tasting Tickets. Visit the Chowder Tasting page for all the details!! You can also purchase Sunday (only) Chowder Tasting tickets. Saturday’s tickets only available at the fest.

MusselFest Poster available for purchase and shipping here

Washington State boosts historic preservation in Coupeville.


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ebey’s Landing National Historic Reserve will receive a million dollars in preservation grants from the state of Washington THANKS to Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, the Washington State Legislature, the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, and Governor Jay Inslee.

Ebey’s Landing National Historic Reserve Manager Kristen Griffin Press Release – PDF

Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP) announces recipients of Ebey’s Reserve Preservation Grants

Whidbey News Times article for Times subscribers

We couldn’t be happier for the recipients, and what these Ebey’s Reserve Preservation Grants mean to the furthering preservation of some of our state’s oldest buildings.  These buildings are still standing today because they were preserved in the past and thankfully continue to be preserved today.

This, our celebratory blog piece about the grant and distribution, includes images and links to the history of many of the buildings and a hearty thanks to all those who worked hard to have the preservation grants brought to the Reserve and our historic town. We include old images of the buildings as a testament to the years they’ve stood and the importance of historic preservation.

Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve grant money within the Reserve and the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation’s Main Street Program’s catchment of the Historic Waterfront Association

The circa 1855 Alexander Blockhouse.

Part of the Island County Historical Society Archives and Museum the Alexander Blockhouse receives 2,300.00 to clean and preserve the cedar shake roof. Block House history. Photo Credit: Private collection of Lillian Huffstettler.

#1 Front Street

The circa 1859 and 1866 Haller House, property of the non-profit Historic Whidbey, was awarded $196,940 for structural stabilization and foundation work, and rehabilitation of historic doors and windows. Haller House history.

1859 for first structure. 1866 for larger addition.

After sitting empty for many years, raccoons were the main residents of the Haller House until just recently. The house was purchased and is being restored by Historic Whidbey’s and their Heritage Center Project. To find out more about the restoration of Haller and Heritage Center visit Historic Whidbey’s site.

#8 Front St. 

The circa 1860 Whidbey Mercantile building (now Toby’s) receives $19,022 for roof replacement. This is one of the oldest commercial building left within the Reserve. one of the oldest remaining commercial buildings in the Reserve. History of #8

Image circa 1903. Image Credit: Island County Historical Society Archives and Museum.

#12 Front St.

Circa 1886 and originally the Blowers and Kineth building (where Lower Loft Eatery, Sea Bre’s Yarns and Far From Normal operate today) was awarded $78,253 for structural stabilization and foundation work, siding repair and rehabilitation of historic windows. History of #12

Image: Sack race during the Penn Cove Water Festival 1920’s. Bowers and Kineth building first in line. Photo Credit: Island County Historical Society Archives and Museum

#16 Front St.

The 1916 Benson’s Confectionary (now Kingfisher Bookstore) receives $21,500 to rehabilitate and replace historic doors and windows. History of #16

Photo Credit: Island County Historical Society Archives and Museum

#22 Front St.

The 1899 Terry’s Dryer/Gillespie Livery building (now the home of Vail’s Wine Shop, Front Street Realty, Windjammer Custom Framing and office of Therapist Jennifer R. Ayers) received $25,623 for structural stabilization and foundation work, and paint to preserve the weathered façade. History of #22

Photo Credit: Island County Historical Society Archives and Museum.

#26 Front St. The much beloved Coupeville Wharf, circa 1905, was awarded $303,000 for structural stabilization and foundation work to replace the building’s roof. Wharf history.

The Wharf is the property of and operated by the Port of Coupeville. 

Image: 1910’s. Credit: Island County Historical Society Archives and Museum.

Other recipients within the Reserve 


Circa 1905 building once known as Pat’s Place (now the Tyee Restaurant and Bar) awarded $21,600 for structural stabilization and foundation work. Photo Credit: Unknown. Assumption is Island County Historical Society Archives and Museum or Washington State Archives



Circa 1907 rustic log Whid-Isle Inn (Captain Whidbey Inn), awarded $99,427 to replace the cedar shake roof.

Image Credit: Captain Whidbey Inn Collection



Circa 1889 Zylstra House received $36,665 to rehabilitate historic windows and replace a failing roof. Photo credit Washington State Dept of Archeology and Historic Preservation.




Circa’s 1898 and 1968 Fort Casey State Park’s Battery Worth Guns were awarded $145,000 to restore exterior surfaces. Photo Credit: Fort Casey State Park.



Circa 1894 Coupeville Methodist Church at 608 North Main Street awarded $30,670 for rehabilitation of its historic bell tower.

Photo: Assumption is Island County Historical Society Archives and Museum or Washington State Archives



Settled in 1850’s Coupeville is the second oldest town in Washington. It was incorporated in 1910.

Find out more about Coupeville though the 1998 study “How Coupeville Grew”, a joint effort of the Town of Coupeville, the Ebey’s National Historical Reserve Trust Board and the National Park Service – PDF



Volunteer for MusselFest!

The volunteer hours are well suited for everyone. Shifts range from 2 to 5 hours – Saturday and Sunday the first weekend of March each year. 

What does a MusselFest volunteer do? The list is varied. You may be selling tickets or tokens, setting up fest areas, assisting shell fish farm boat tours, assist in beer garden, giving directions and assistance to fest goers, delivering warm beverages to fellow volunteers staffing road closures, and more.

Aside from vendors (tents, foods, non-profits) the MusselFest is powered by volunteers. Many friendships have been made over the years and good memories keep volunteers coming back year after year. As the fest has grown, giving a great economic and tasty boost to our island winter, we welcome new volunteers. 

Red Tickets – ALL through the Thanksgiving Season and Christmas


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


From November 1st through December 21st every $20.00 worth of purchases you make with participating merchants, restaurants and service providers gets you a RED TICKET! Thanksgiving to Christmas your needs may bring you a big prize. – Five prizes drawn; $1500.00, $500.00, and 3 $100.00 dollar winners! Shopping local has never been so much fun!

YOU MUST be present or have a representative present to win.

1pm – Sunday – December 22, 2018 – 908 Alexander St.


2019 RED TICKET Participating businesses. Shop, dine, and stay local right here in Coupeville.


A Touch of Dutch – 360-678-7729 – 11 Front St NW. Amazing selection of candy, food, gifts and jewlery from The Netherlands (Holland), Indonesia, Germany, Sweden and Norway. Bits from England, France and Belgium. Gift Certificates YES! WILL SHIP. Bonus you can do Online shopping at A Touch of Dutch. facebook


aqua-david-sternAqua Gifts – 360-678-0664 – 2 Front St. – House wears, gifts, shoes, soaps, candles and much more for all ages. Perfect for women and men, girls and boys. Gift Certificates YES. websitefacebook | instagram


back-to-the-island-david-sternBack to the Island – 360-678-6860 – 9B Front St NW – Great selection of clothes, fun and comfy socks, bags, gifts, souvenirs, and much MORE!  SEAHAWKS CENTRAL!  Gift Certificates YES

balance-bodyworks-david-sternBalanced Bodyworks – 360-630-0911 – 6 NW Coveland St. – Massage, health and wellness by licensed massage therapist Susann Martin. Specializing in massage therapy treating back and neck problems due to excessive muscle tightness and trigger points. Gift Certificates YES. Facebook

“I truly believe in the healing powers of massage for reducing, and even eliminating painful soft tissue conditions. I treat each client individually, according to what your special needs are.” – Susann Martin


Bayleaf – 360-678-6603 – 101 NW Coveland St. –Whidbey’s source for all things delicious! Wine, groceries, sweets, delicatessen, cheeses, cured meats, specialty items. Holiday gourmet baskets, wine clubs, catering, specialists in Paella for groups. Gift Certificates YES! Online Shopping YES website | facebook| instagram

Callen’s –  (360) 499-2306 – 12981 State Route 20 – across from Coupeville/Keystone Ferry. Coupeville’s Callen’s Restaurant offers Washington and Whidbey Island inspired, real food and is located across from the Coupeville Ferry dock. Two unique spaces offer Espresso, Ice cream and to-go offerings and a funky, full service dining room that whips up great food from a true all-scratch kitchen. Cocktails, Wine and Beer served. Open for 8am to 9pm for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Wednesday’s through Sunday. websitefacebook | Instagram

Current’s Bistro – 360-678-5480 – 103 NW Coveland St. – Delicious bistro food. Featuring fresh and creative northwest cuisine complimented with a variety of local wines, delicious beers and non-alcoholic drinks. Fish, meat, vegetarian, local and regional produce. Desserts are fantastic. Gift Certificates YES! website | facebook  Formerly Christopher’s on Whidbey

Collections Boutique -360-678-2100 -24 Front St.

Variety of fine clothing lines — Tribal, Habitat, Pure, Cutloose, Lysse, Lissett, Nomadic Traders, Picadilly, Adam Jacobs – FitFlop shoes, and more.  Jewelry, accessories and baby gifts. Gift Certificates YES! facebook 


Coffee on the Cove – 360-632-0922 – 26 Front St. out on the historic Coupeville Wharf. Rise & Grind! A premier coffee shop nestled within the historic Coupeville Wharf atop Penn Cove. Baked goods. Non-Coffee drinks. Teas. Relaxing andhomey with breathtaking views!! facebook | instagram




Coupeville Auto Repair -360-678-1746 -105 NW Coveland St. – Car repair and services.  Gas station. Gift Certificates YES! facebook 


Coupeville Chamber of Commerce – 360-675-5434, 905 Alexander St. – Business organization. Visitors Center is located at 905 Alexander St. website | facebook

Photo Credit Coupeville Chamber of Commerce


Front Street Grill and Catering -360-682-2551 -20 Front St. – Northwest American Grill featuring local and northwest meats, seafoods, and produce! Wonderful meals, lunch and dinner. Family friendly. Wine, beer, full bar, seafood, local mussels, burgers, specials and desserts with a water view. Grower and Beer Club. Catering!!! Gift Certificates YES! website | facebook | instagram



front-street-reality-david-sternFront Street Realty -360-678-6100 -22 Front St. – Full service real estate services.  Long standing, well respected community member Janet Burchfield will make sure all your needs are met when looking for or selling a house. website | facebook


museum-david-sternIsland County Historical Society Archives and Museum – 360-678-3310 – 908 NW Alexander St. – Island County archives (available for study by appointment) and museum. Fantastic gift and bookstore. Gift Certificates YES! website | facebook 


Kingfisher Books -16 Front St. – 360-678-8463 – Independent family-owned bookstore on Coupeville’s historic waterfront.  Owners of the Kingfisher are learners and books are their teachers. Books for pleasure, learning, entertainment, and fun for all ages. New, old, used and collectable, Kingfishers is a book lovers paradise. Gift Certificates YES! website | facebook | instagram

Lavender Wind  – 360-544-4132 – 15 Coveland St. – Locally grown lavender products from Whidbey’s largest lavender farm. Handmade products: oils, soaps, spice blends, teas, baked goods, gifts. Gift Certificates YES! Shipping YES!  – Online Shopping YES! website | facebook | instagram

One More Thing – 360-678-1894 – 13 Front St. –


One More Thing – 360-678-1894 – 14 Front St. Wonderful selection of women’s clothing, jewelry, personal accessories. Ideal shop for women of all ages. Gift Certificates YES!

Little Red Hen Bakery – 360-678-0683 – 901 Grace St. Little Red Hen grows the grain and bakes the best craft bread and pastries. An off shoot of The Oystercatcher restaurant Little Red Hen is one of the best bakeries in the Pacific Northwest! website | facebook | Instagram

The bakery is closed for pastries until they move to the former Kneed and Feed location at 4 Front St. in Mid-Nov. We will alert you and edit this page when they open in the new location. Till then YOU can purchase their bread at the following locations. 3 Sisters Market – 360-678-5445 779 N. Holbrook Rd at Hwy 20 ~~ Greenbank Pantry and Deli – 360-362-3623 – 25175 WA-525 in Greenbank ~~ Star Store – 360-221-5223 – 201 First St. in Langley ~~ The Goose – 360-321-0530 – 14485 WA-525 in Langley



Lower Loft Eatery – 360-678-2900 – 12 Front St. – Breakfast, Lunch and dinner.  Wide variety of delicious foods and baked goods. Fantastic views of Penn Cove. Friendly service. Gift Certificates YES! website | facebook

Photo Yelp User Landon R. 


Marbley – Shop and Marbling Studio. Hand marbled silks, wood, paper, jewelry and so much more! This is a cozy and well curated store. PLUS you can paint your own silk scarf using the ancient art of Ebru. Design & print on 100% silk for wearable art. website | facebook | instagram 

Marbley books Ebru parties too! Contact them through their website.

Pacific Northwest Art School – 360-678-9396 – 15 NW Birch St. -The Pacific NorthWest Art School offers visual arts education taught by professional artists for artists aspiring to hone their skills. We offer workshops in the mediums of photography, painting and fiber arts. 70 plus workshops a year, Art Excursions and Art Expeditions, opportunities for artists to show their work in their Member’s Gallery and more. Art for purchase in gallery. Gift Certificates for classes. YES. website | facebook | instagram hashtag

Penn Cove Gallery – 360-678-1176 – 9 Front St. – Art to display, wear and give from 26 Whidbey Island artists. Large selection of original art, reproductions and art cards in a range of media, suitable for decor and gifts, at home and work. This not-for-profit gallery is administered and staffed by the artist members. Gift Certificates YES! website | facebook | instagram hashtag

RAIN PUDDLES KIDS BOUTIQUE: SHOP. 360-246-4181 10 Front St. Suite A. Baby & children’s clothing and accessories. Fine boutique. Gift Certificates YES! websitefacebookinstagram


Rain Shadow Nursery – 360-678-9114 – 107 S Main St. – Wide variety of roses, perennials, herbs, succulents, annuals, house plants, potting soils, mulch, pottery, gifts, and an experienced staff to help you with all your gardening needs. Gift Certificates YES! websitefacebook | instagram


Salon Blue – 360-682-5216 – 23 Front St. – A welcoming professional salon dedicated to providing the highest level of service and products to ensure that the client looks and feels the best they can. Hair cut, dye, manicures, and wonderful selection of products. Gift Certificates YES! website | facebook  The Coupeville Inn – 360-678-6668 – 20 NW Coveland St. – Coupeville’s premier destination Inn… Beautifully refurbished rooms and suites with views of Penn Cove and Mt. Baker, just steps to the wharf and historic downtown Coupeville. Gift Certificates YES! website | facebook

The Cove Coupeville: On the Historic Coupeville Wharf. 360-678-6006 – 26 Front St. – OPENING MID NOVEMBER!  

The Taproom at Bayview Corner has purchased the Cove from Michelle and Jerry. We’re excited to have Whidbey natives and restaurateur’s Tiffany and Damien bring their good food, and friendly atmosphere to Coupeville. The Cove Coupeville will be a seafood focused restaurant, featuring many local ingredients and a fine selection of wine and craft beer Red Ticket’s available from opening to Dec 21st. taptoom website | The Cove Coupeville facebook | instagram

The Crow’s Roost – 360-678-2092 – 902 Grace St. –Features art, accessories, cards, jewelry, home goods, décor, edibles and entertaining essentials. Unique Fair Trade, USA, and locally made gifts. Bring your ID for Military Discount of 10%. Carefully curated gifts, jewelry, accessories, home goods and décor, edibles, art and more. Certificates YES! facebook | instagram

a-need-new-pic-honey-bearThe Honey Bear – 360-678-6122 – 23 Front St. – Candy, chocolate, gifts, books, toys, cards, and more for all ages. Gift Certificates YES


The Oystercatacher – 360-678-0683 – 901 Grace St. – Fine dinning, dinner and lunch. Oystercatcher has proudly served simply, good, food for more than 18 years. Chef Tyler Hansen and his team create a harmonious farm-to-table menu to showcase all what the island and Pacific Northwest region has to offer. Changing menu pending season. Fine wine collection. Reservations suggested, especially dinner. Gift Certificates YES! website | facebook | instagram

seaside-david-stern-2The Seaside Spa and Salon – 360-678-0508 – 5 Front St.  Full service salon and spa. Indulge yourself in a sanctuary of rest and relaxation at Whidbey’s wonder spa and salon. Hair design, manicures, pedicures, products, massage, facials, waxing treatments, spa packages. Gift Certificates YES! website | facebook | instagram

 Sea-Bre’s Yarn – 360-605-0720 – 12 Front St. – Fine wool yarns (hand spun, machine made, imported, natural and commercial died), pattern’s and MUCH MORE. A yarn lovers dream shop! Gift Certificates YES! facebook | instagram



Sunshine Drip – 360-682-6201 – 306 N Main St. – Coffee lounge. Organic coffee, teas, fresh smoothies, sandwiches, salads and baked goods. Gluten free available. Combined with a gift shop full of creative and unique finds. website | facebook | instagram



Tyee Restaurant and Motel – 360- 678-6616 – 405 South Main St. Established in 1926, the Tyee offers a “home away from home” setting. We are dedicated to providing comfortable and affordable food, spirits, and lodging to locals and visitors alike. website | facebook



Toby’s Tavern – 360-678-4222 – 8 Front St. – Historic tavern. Beer, wine, wide ranging menu, local mussels, waterside dinning. Toby’s historic wooden back bar was originally brought around the horn and placed in the Fort Warden officers club in about 1900. Must be 21. Gift Certificates YES! website | facebook | instagram hashtag

Vail Wine Shop and Tasting Room – 360-678-4222 – 22 Front St. – Large variety of Washington wines,indoor and outdoor seating, wine tasting events, group travel excursions to Washington wine country, wine clubs. A special place for wine, friends, and good times. Gift Certificates YES! website | facebook |

Whidbey Natural Pet – 360-678-1601 – 105 S Main St. – Providing Whidbey Island residents with natural options in dog and cat care. Whidbey Natural Pet carries all the supplies you need for your fur and feather family. Food, toys, health boosting items, treats, dietary supplements and every thing in between. Whidbey Natural Pet strives to offer customers and pets locally produced, chemical free products. Gift Certificates YES! website | facebook | instagram


Windjammer Custom Framing – 360-678-9200 – 22 Front St. – Fine art and print framing. Large selection of frames. Award winning framer. Gift Certificates YES!

This end of the year “shop local” push is sponsored by the Coupeville Historic Waterfront, Whidbey Island Bank, The Coupeville Chamber of Commerce and the Whidbey Weekly. We all support our local businesses and are happy to provide the winnings to the lucky Coupeville customers! End of the year shopping provides our local business owners and their employees with a hearty start to the next year. Go local for the love of Coupeville. 

BIG WIN for WHARF, Whidbey and Island County Washington!


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

It is with great fan fare that we can announced the Port of Coupeville has received their requested Island County grant monies to make structural repairs and improvements to the Coupeville Wharf undercarriage! 

Island County Commissioner’s unanimously approved the Port of Coupeville’s grant application for Rural County Economic Development Program funds to repair 37 pilings, piling caps, and other under carriage needs of the Wharf! To the tune of $870,804.00 this is a huge WIN for the 114 year old Wharf! The Port will put in an additional $96,756 of their budget to further bolster the costs of materials and construction. Win! Win! For Whidbey, Island County and Coupeville!

The Rural County Economic Development Program receives it’s grant funds through sales taxes. The sales taxes used to support this program comes from a rebate back to Island County of the state’s share 6.5% of sales and use taxes authorized by RCW 82.14.370 and therefore does not increase the tax to the consumer. For those who follow or receive our blog but do not know, Island County is made up of Whidbey and Camano Islands. The .09 funds through this program are spread out between our two islands in designated under and pursuant to Washington State RCW 43-330-270.

The permitting process, engineering and construction work will take a min of 2 years, AND THEN the work on the Wharf building itself can take place once the under carriage is secured. NOTE: The Wharf is safe as it is but repairs are needed.

In 1905 local merchants and farmers built the 500 foot high level causeway (“pier” if you will) and Wharf building to accommodate the growth and trade increases of Whidbey. The Wharf is (has been since that time) the center piece of Whidbey AND Coupeville (we’re lucky that way). At 114 years old the Wharf and it’s 500 feet causeway to the building include over 100 pilings and multiple systems (gas, water, elec, waste pumping, fire suppression). THIS approval by the Commissioner’s and additional funds from the Port’s budget begin the next step in maintaining and securing the Wharf for years to come.

Overall this is a fantastic result for one of Whidbey and Washington’s earliest and most iconic structures. Please let Island County Commissioner’s know you appreciate their support and actions for the Coupeville Wharf. YOU can find their emails here.

We have been happy to help the Port through our Pennies for Preservation Wharf funds, brought in by generous citizens and visitors alike. Our Wharf Fund is no where near 100’s of thousands but it is in the 1000’s and our donors are proud to be able to help. We look forward to helping as much as we can in the future! We love Coupeville, our community and our Wharf!

Many THANKS to the Island County Commissioners, the Port of Coupeville Commissioners and Port staff for helping to make Coupeville Wharf dreams come true!!


Images Island County Historical Society Archives and Washington State Archives

Before 1905, There were several early wharves at Penn Cove in the latter half of the 1800s that had been built for passenger travel and importing and exporting products between the island and the mainland. The problem with these early wharves was that most could only be used at extreme high tide. Historical records are sketchy, but the following wharfs are known to have existed, including: Robertson’s Wharf, Happy Jack’s, and Pearson Wharf (see #20 NW Front Street).

Activation of Fort Casey in 1901 brought a larger population quickly to Central Whidbey.

1905 – 1905, to accommodate the growth, local merchants and farmers built a 500 foot wharf at the foot of Alexander Street to accommodate the growth of population and commerce. This wharf is the current wharf in Coupeville.

1909-1914 – Elmer Calhoun purchased the Wharf sometime between 1909 and 1914 (sources differ on this point). After purchasing it he added a grain tower to the “L” shaped building. The north side of the building included a waiting room and a rest room “a two holer that flushed with the tide”, for steam boat passengers.

1933 – Elmer Calhoun made major repairs to the Wharf building.

1936 – The Deception Pass Bridge was completed. Consequently, Island Transportation discontinued steamboat service to Seattle in 1936 as the little steamers were no longer cost effective. The last steamer to run the Whidbey Island route was the ALANTA.

Freight boats continued to use the Wharf during harvest season. AND there were FERRIES TOO!

1949 – Dick Hansen purchased the Wharf from Elmer Calhoun for $10,000 and renamed it the “Coupeville Wharf & Seed Company”.

1969 – Larger bin capacity was needed, so an extension was put up through the roof called “the dog house”.

1973 – Coupeville (including the Wharf) designated a National Historic District giving protection to older properties within the historic district’s boundaries.

1978 – Coupeville (and the Wharf) became part of the National Park’s Services Ebey’s Landing National Historic Reserve, the first historic district of its kind recognized in the United States of America.

1983 – A new rock bulkhead was installed at the head of the pier.

1985 – The grain tower was removed and the causeway was renovated. The east end remodeled for use as a marine store and delicatessen.

1996 – The Wharf was rehabilitated consistent with historical code standards and historical considerations. A concrete fuel dock was added to the wharf and an underground fuel tank was installed at the landward end of the causeway. Three mooring floats were attached to the Wharf for the use of pleasure boats.

1997 – The Port rebuilds the interior of the west wing and includes a large foyer and two rental areas. Wharf foyer includes educational exhibits.

2000 – The WA State Beach Watchers – now called Sound Water Stewards, assembled “Rosie the Whale” from bones savaged from a 33 foot gray whale and it is displayed in the wharf’s foyer.

2001 – Two moorage floats were added and unused dolphins removed. Four mooring buoys were placed in a line west of the Wharf.

2009 – Fuel Dock breaks away after a battering storm. Dock is retrieved. Dock is replaced.

TODAY – The Wharf is afforded the vital dollars through the to make significant repairs to the under carriage thanks to the efforts of the Port Commissioners, the Port staff, and the Island County Commissioners.

Enjoy this wonderful interview with the late GREAT local historian Roger Sherman about the wharf. Length 23 minutes. WE MISS Roger, but always have his interviews, videos and books to learn and love with.

Find out more about historic Coupeville buildings at our history site.

More overall Coupeville History