South Whidbey enters the 21st century
June 25, 2008 · Updated 11:16 AM
"Historical papers missing from filesThe South Whidbey Record office has hard-bound copies of Whidbey Record newspapers going back many years, but some of those years are missing.The Records collection begins in 1935, while the newspaper itself began operation in 1921, so the first 14 years are absent. In addition, a volume containing the important post-war years of 1945-46 is missing.Its possible that some amateur historian took the books home and forgot to return them. if you have an old volume of Whidbey Recordsin your house, please return them to the newspaper office at 222 Anthes St., Langley. The mailing address is PO Box 387, Langley WA 98260. For more information call Jim Larsen, editor, at 221-5300.Believe it or not, when future Northwest historians look back at the last 1,000 years of Whidbey Island civilization, they probably will not even footnote happenings on Dec. 31, 1999.For that matter, they probably will not have enough time to set down even half of the major island events which took place between A.D. 999 and 1999.Had it not been for the late South Whidbey historian Lorna Cherry, the Island County Historical Society, the South Whidbey Historical Society, and 78 years of stories appearing in the Whidbey and South Whidbey Record, most of the happenings on our little ball of mud in Puget Sound might well have been forgotten.There have been many highlights, such as the summer day in 1955 when a Seattle man caught the second largest salmon ever in Puget Sound while fishing on South Whidbey. And there were lowlights, including the day in the mid-1920s when the Island County Sheriff was arrested by federal agents for producing and selling illegal liquor.In the following summary of 969 of the past 999 years, there are plenty of both.As for the 70s, 80s, and 90s? Well, if youre reading this, you probably have a pretty good idea of what happened in those decades. No need to beat news stories like Y2K to death, now is there?The very early daysA.D. 999: South Whidbey is home Snohomish Indian tribe members. The turn of the millennium occurs without fanfare among these early island settlers.June 1792: Captain George Vancouver discovers Deception Pass. Explorer Joseph Whidbey is the first European to set foot on what becomes known as Whidbey Island.1852: Robert Bailey becomes the first registered land owner on South Whidbey. Other settlers soon follow.1921: The Whidby (the e was added years later) Record is first published.Thirties start with road ideaFeb. 22, 1935: Island road bill introduced in house -- State Rep. Pearl Wanamaker introduces a bill into the House calling for the construction of State Route 24, stretching for Anacortes to the southern tip of Whidbey Island.April 5, 1935: Luther Weedin of the Island County Abstract Company estimates Whidbey Islands population at about 9,000.June 13, 1935: A controlled burn gone awry burns 2,000 acres of second-growth timber between Coles, Langley, and Bayview roads.July 31, 1935: Deception Pass Bridge is dedicated in a noon ceremony and is opened to traffic. More than 3,100 cars cross on its first Sunday of operation.Jan. 30, 1936: Whidbey Telephone Company begins 24-hour service on South Whidbey.Feb. 27, 1936: Superintendent O.C. Eidal closes Langley schools for two weeks due to a measles outbreak.May 28, 1936: Leafy Anthes, wife of Langley founder Jacob Anthes, dies in her Everett home at the age of 75.September 1937: NormanS. Clyde puts the finishing touches on the Clyde Theater and opens to crowds of moviegoers. The Langley movie house is the only one on South Whidbey.April 20, 1939: R.S. Noble announces that the United States Postal Service will build a new post office in Langley at the corner of Front and Anthes streets.April 28, 1939: The 34-car ferry Kitsap goes into service on the Keystone-Port Townsend run.June 29, 1939: Langley sinks a new well on the former Skidmore property to assure city residents of enough water.Aug. 2, 1939: A. Glenn Smith purchases the Whidbey Record and two other island newspapers from George Astel.Aug. 10, 1939: Sisters Phyllis Hilton, 10, and Margaret Hilton, 8, of Austin Township drown together near Double Bluff.Oct. 19, 1939: WPA completes construction of the Langley Municipal Dock.Census shows 40s populationMay 9, 1940: Census officials show Langleys population at 311. Coupeville is found to have 322 residents.Sept. 19, 1940: The Langley Grade School is torn down to make room for a new, up-to-date brick school building. That building, now part of Langley Middle School, was built for the price of $52,000.Oct. 31, 1940: Dog House bartender John McLeod is the first Southend man drafted into service for World War II. July 24, 1941: The U.S. House of Representatives appropriates $3.7 million to build a Naval base on Whidbey Island.Dec. 11, 1941: South Whidbey takes part in a West Coast blackout as the U.S. declares war on Japan, Germany, and Italy.April 2, 1942: Sim Wilson resigns as Whidby Record editor to work in the defense industry in Bremerton. His wife takes over his editing duties.May 28, 1942: Capt. A.M. Wennerlund, a World War I veteran, is killed when his merchant ship is torpedoed in the Atlantic Ocean. He is the first South Whidbey casualty of the war.Dec. 14, 1944: School district voters approve expenditure of $165,000 to build a new gymnasium, lunchroom, and classroom addition onto the high school.1942-1945: South Whidbey residents raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy war bonds and to support the American Red Cross. They also collect thousands of tons of scrap metal, rubber, and other materials for the war effort.Dec. 25, 1947: The Island County Board of Commissioners votes to spend $201,152 to build a new courthouse in Coupeville.May 27, 1948: Work to create the Keystone basin and build a new ferry dock is completed.July 8, 1948: Construction crews begin to lay the first paving on the island highway. Until that time, the highway had been a dirt road.July 15, 1948: Langley High School baseball player Bob Stuart named All-American.Dec. 9, 1948: Ernie Noble elected mayor of Langley over Albert Melsen by four votes.Dec. 16, 1948: The Masons finish construction of their new temple on Second Street in Langley. The building became home to Langley City Hall in 1996.April 28, 1949: Island lodging providers and businesses begin to advertise South Whidbey as a tourist destination.Fifties start standard timeApril 6, 1950: The Island County Board of Commissioners vote to ignore daylight savings time over the summer and to keep the county on standard time.June 15, 1950: The Holmes Harbor Rod and Gun Club purchases 46 acres for their club and clubhouse near Langley.Sept. 21, 1950: A four-engined Navy PB4Y-2 bomber crashes in Saratoga Passage near Langley. Seven crewmen die in the crash.Jan. 25, 1951: The South Whidbey School District opens its new gymnasium at Langley High School.March 8, 1951: The Southend is blanketed with an unusually-late, 8-inch snowfall. Traffic is paralyzed.April 19, 1951: Census figures indicate 11,079 people live in Island County.Jan. 24, 1952: The state announces plans to build a three-quarter mile, three-lane highway approach from the Columbia Beach ferry dock.Feb. 14, 1952: Columbia Beach ferry dock collapses under the weight of a lumber truck. Ferry service is interrupted for only one day.March 20, 1952: Washington State Ferries begin first midnight runs between Clinton and Mukilteo.July 3, 1952: Clinton residents hold the first meeting at which they discuss incorporating the area as a city.July 10, 1952: Two men rob the Langley State Bank, making off with more than $5,000. The men are arrested five hours later. Oak Harbor real estate agent Jane Powell is arrested as the suspected mastermind behind the robbery.June 4, 1953: A record 5,700 cars and 10,000 passengers cross between Mukilteo and Clinton over the Memorial Day weekend.July 9, 1953: Bernard Watermans lumber mill on Snyder Road is the second Southend mill to burn down in a seven-month period.Oct. 22, 1953: David Henny purchases a controlling interest in the Whidbey Telephone Company from Ernie Noble and is named the companys manager.Dec. 30, 1954: The ferry Olympic smashed into the Columbia Beach ferry dock, damaging it to the point at which it needed to be rebuilt.May 1955: More than 600 Whidbey Island school children receive the first vaccinations against polio.July 14, 1955: A Seattle man catches the second largest salmon ever caught in Puget Sound in South Whidbey waters. The giant King salmon weights 58 pounds.Jan. 19, 1956: Walter Frederickson is arrested for the 1954 bludgeoning murder of Mrs. Howard Cummings of Freeland. It took the Island County Sheriff 18 months to crack the case, which ended in Fredericksons confession. Frederickson is later sentenced to life in prison for the murder.March 8, 1956: Led by all-tournament player John Knaplund, the Langley High School boys basketball team places fourth in its first appearance in a district tournament.May 1956: Whidbey Island starts getting used to the sound of jet aircraft as NAS Whidbey brings in its first jet bombers, A3D Skywarriors.June 14, 1956: State legislators make the first official mention of building a bridge between Strawberry Point and Camano Island.Aug. 29, 1957: The North Whidbey Sportsmens Association asks the Island County Commissioners to ban rifle hunting on Whidbey Island.March 6, 1958: Bill Bonser takes over the editors desk at the Whidbey Record after former editor Hazel Christoe falls ill.June 16, 1958: Freeland Lanes opens as the Southends first and only bowling alley.Dec. 11, 1958: Mansen Osberg Construction wins a contract to excavate a channel and small harbor in Cultus Bay for the use of residents in the new Possession Shores development.Jan. 1959: Work begins on Langley High School Auditorium.Aug. 13, 1959: Island County Prosecutor Howard Patrick reveals the discovery of a key game involving several Oak Harbor couples. Seven or eight couples swapped mates for an evening by drawing keys from a bowl while blindfolded. The owner of the key then paired off for the night with the person who had drawn the key. No arrests were made as a result of the activity, but Patrick warned that Island county would prosecute such activities in the future.Nov. 5, 1959: A straighter and shorter highway running the length of Whidbey Island opens as State Highway 1-D.Flying saucers sighted in 60sFeb. 11, 1960: Forty-three candidates are nominated to run for election for five open city council seats in Langley.Feb 25, 1960: The U.S. Postal Service opens a new post office in Langley.Nov. 5, 1960: The Harlem Clowns play in the Langley High School gymnasium. The team played annually on South Whidbey throughout the 1960s.Dec. 1, 1960: Spawning salmon return to the Maxwelton Creek for the first time in more than two decades.Jan. 19, 1961: Bob Porter finishs clearing a 600 foot wide, mile long patch on forest land he owns near Langley. He announces plans to turn the clearing into an airfield.March 1961: Whidbey Telephone completes wiring for a dial telephone system. With the improvement, it was no longer necessary to talk to an operator to complete a call.July 12, 1962: One of South Whidbeys last big old growth trees, a Douglas fir measuring seven feet in diameter, is felled in Greenbank.July 26, 1962: Staring on Glendale beach, Kelley Dodge, Jay Wheeler, John Dodge, and Henry Deposit become the first people in local knowledge to walk the full 150-mile coastline of Whidbey Island. They complete the journey in five days, 15, 40 minutes.Dec. 6, 1962: Langley builds a new fire hall.Dec. 1962: Langleys new sewage treatment plant completed.Jan. 16, 1964: Some South Whidbey residents quit smoking after the federal government reports the habit to be a health risk.April 30, 1964: The first commercial tugboat built on South Whidbey is launched from the Lehman Mill in Freeland.July 30, 1964: Gordon Erickson reveals his plans to develop 550 acres of forest land at Maple Point into the Scatchet Head housing community.Jan. 7, 1965: A Freeland boat building company owned by Frank Nichols accepts its first contract -- for a 42-foot Alaska fishing boat. The company would later become Nichols Brothers Boat Builders.April 7, 1966: Coupeville High School students Heather and John Hamby report seeing a flying saucer circling the Greenbank Store.July 1966: State construction crews begin to build Highway 525 to replace the old State Highway 1-D.Feb. 16, 1967: Island County begins to develop Dan Porter Park in Clinton.April 6, 1967: Brian Mills spots a UFO over Deer Lake. More reports of UFOs trickle in throughout the year.May 25, 1967: Langley Chamber of Commerce president William MacPherson predicts the new Boeing facility in Everett will not bring many new people to live on South Whidbey.July 27, 1967: The ferry Olympic smashes the Clinton dock for a second time, causing $25,000 damage.November 1968: Construction begins on Whidbey General Hospital, Island Countys first hospital.Spring 1969: Work is finished on the Brookhaven Retirement Community.Summer 1969: Work is finished on the new South Whidbey Primary School."