Museum debuts history tour

Fundraiser combines talks, walk and wine tasting

History is more than just learning about old times from old timers.

For Bill Haroldson, what happened last century and beyond still affects the way people live today.

“Local history informs us about the human condition — what we have in common with people who occupied the very same place as us decades and even centuries before,” said Haroldson, president of the South Whidbey Historical Society. “It is the story of us, or how we came to be… us.”

This Sunday, Haroldson helps lead the first-ever fundraising history and wine tour of South Whidbey. It will spotlight tribal settlements, pioneering families and communities while providing samples of local Comforts wine along the way.

The Oct. 14 tour, from 1 to 5 p.m., is in a Whidbey-SeaTac shuttle bus and costs $125 per person; the tour is limited to 20 passengers (must be 21 or over.)

Money raised will go toward physical improvements at the South Whidbey Historical Museum in Langley as well as research.

The museum is hosting several events this month. On Oct. 20, Kyle Walker presents “A Tangled Web of History at Brown’s Point” about the days of her great-grandparents and how prostitution, liquor laws and women’s suffrage intersected between 1910 and 1920.

The Oct. 14 tour begins at Brown’s Point (now called Sandy Point), where a permanent Snohomish Tribe village was located. It ends on the deck of Haroldson’s Brighton Beach home where he’ll share the history of Old Clinton and talk about the early ferries.

The bus tour was a suggestion of local historian Bob Waterman.

“We wanted to do something that would bring local history alive in a fun and informative way,” Haroldson said. “We are looking for ways to raise funds to cover things such as repainting the exterior of the museum, doing more video interviews with local people and holding more special events to share South Whidbey history with residents, visitors and our schoolchildren.”

More tours may be offered in the future.

“If this one goes well, we will consider doing several next summer,” said Laura Canby with the museum.

Along the tour, Rita Comfort of Comforts on Whidbey Winery will be serving wine paired with appetizers and desserts.

Participants also receive a booklet of photos of how the towns and area looked more than 100 years ago.

Haroldson and other board members and museum docents Bob Waterman, Betty Discher, Joan Handy, along with several guest docents, will highlight the people and places of Sandy Point, Langley, Bayview, Freeland, Mutiny Bay, Austin, Maxwelton, Glendale and Clinton.

Brief stops will be made at each location. Waterman will lead a 20-minute walking tour in Langley explaining the city’s development and colorful events and characters.

Following a stop at Bayview, Betty Discher will talk about her family history. She is the great-granddaughter of the Spencers who came to Freeland in 1905 and established a store, dance hall and post office. Later on, a logging operation, sawmill, mosquito fleet passenger boat service and a repair shop were all built at Holmes Harbor on the site which later became Nichols Brothers Boat Builders.

Understanding how isolated, rural communities were shaped is particularly relevant when it comes to issues such as land management, Haroldson pointed out.

“We gain a deeper appreciation of our environment — how it used to be, how it was changed, what was lost, what is being reclaimed,” he said. “And hopefully, we gain wisdom, so that past errors are not repeated.”

For information on South Whidbey Historical Society events, call 360-341-6090; www. southwhidbeyhistory.org. For tickets to the Oct. 14 South Whidbey history tour go to https://swhs.brownpapertickets.com

In the early 1900s, Holmes Harbor in Freeland was a hub of businesses established by the Spencer family. Great-granddaughter Betty Discher, a South Whidbey Historical Society Board member and docent, will talk about the beginnings of Freeland during Sunday’s fundraising tour. (All historical photos provided)

In the early 1900s, Holmes Harbor in Freeland was a hub of businesses established by the Spencer family. Great-granddaughter Betty Discher, a South Whidbey Historical Society Board member and docent, will talk about the beginnings of Freeland during Sunday’s fundraising tour. (All historical photos provided)

At the end of the history tour, Bill Haroldson plans to speak about the founding of Old Clinton (Brighton Beach) and the businesses that used to be located there as well as fishing resorts that once dotted the coastline.

At the end of the history tour, Bill Haroldson plans to speak about the founding of Old Clinton (Brighton Beach) and the businesses that used to be located there as well as fishing resorts that once dotted the coastline.

Langley, back in the days when parking was not a concern. As part of Sunday’s tour, Langley’s colorful past will be discussed by local historian Bob Waterman during a 20-minute walking tour of the “Village by the Sea.”

Langley, back in the days when parking was not a concern. As part of Sunday’s tour, Langley’s colorful past will be discussed by local historian Bob Waterman during a 20-minute walking tour of the “Village by the Sea.”

South Whidbey Historical Society volunteer board members include president Bill Haroldson, far right, Bruce Towne, Betty Discher, Bob Waterman, and Joan Handy. Seated on the other side are Tom Nack and Gary Gabelein. (Photo provided)

South Whidbey Historical Society volunteer board members include president Bill Haroldson, far right, Bruce Towne, Betty Discher, Bob Waterman, and Joan Handy. Seated on the other side are Tom Nack and Gary Gabelein. (Photo provided)

More in Life

‘Prelude to a Kiss’ explores life and love with a touch of fairy dust

Soul swappping at heart of WICA’s romantic comedy

SWHS 2019 valedictorian Carli Newman
Looking back, moving forward

Two top graduates at South Whidbey High School, Class of 2019

Langley Whale Center putting spotlight on authors June 22

Langley Whale Center invites the community to meet authors at the “Spotlight… Continue reading

Seeing the big picture: Shutter Sisters exhibit will raise funds for nonprofits

Not sisters by blood, but sisters connected by a shared passion and… Continue reading

Art & About: June offers wide variety of art shows

FIRST SATURDAY Langley Art Walk is 5-7 p.m, Saturday, June 1. Galleries… Continue reading

Teens face emotional and earthly turmoil in Bayview exhibit

‘Art with a Message’ packs a visual punch of youth perception

Mark Sargent of Whidbey Island is on the screen with Texas YouTuber Patricia Steere as she broadcasts “The Flat Earth and Other Hot Potatoes” from her Houston home. The two also share cameo roles (and some sexual tension) in the documentary “Behind the Curve” which was picked up by Netflix. (Mark Mulligan / Houston Chronicle)
Netflix picks up Flat Earther documentary

Mark Sargent recently returned from a speaking engagement in New Zealand. To… Continue reading

Serving up summer

Cocktail and food recipes to savor the season

SWHS Drama Club presents a classic tale of family, fortune, heart and humor

‘You Can’t Take It With You’ on stage May 24-26

Orrin Gorman McClellan’s words of war resonate beyond his death

‘A Soldier’s Journal, Last Supper to No Goodbye’ chronicles combat’s invisible wounds

Animated Army dog film kicks off vet center fundraiser

‘Sgt. Scubby, an American Hero’ coming to Clyde Theatre Sunday

Savor Spring offers palate pleasers of local wine, spirits and food

Six tasting locations featured this weekend on South Whidbey