Museum debuts history tour

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

Edited photo - better to use
A green reaping: Whidbey pot farm harvests outdoor bounty

Volunteers approach bushes of kush with shears in hand at the South Whidbey farm owned by Adam Lind.

Photo by Karina Andrew/Whidbey News-Times
Laura Foley, left, and Don Meehan locate a grave in Sunnyside Cemetery using Find a Grave's GPS grave locator.
Volunteers adding GPS grave locator to Sunnyside’s website

Two community volunteers took on a project to make it easier to locate graves in Sunnyside Cemetery.

Photo by Theresa Farage
A photographer captured the Northern Lights over North Whidbey Tuesday night. Theresa Farage went to Dugualla Bay Heights Road looking toward La Conner armed with her Nikon D5200 camera and iPhone 12 Pro Max.
Northern Lights over Whidbey

The dazzling northern lights appeared in the skies across the state this week.

Penn Cove employees serve customers during the brewery’s grand opening celebration of its new location in Freeland over Memorial Day weekend. (Tyler Rowe / Cold Pizza Creative)
Drink This: Penn Cove opens its 3rd taproom on Whidbey Island

Brothers Marc and Mitch Aparicio opened a new Freeland taproom at The Barn over Memorial Day weekend.

Photo by Karina Andrew/Whidbey News-Times
Will Hawkins and Dawn Smith officially took ownership of Rainshadow Nursery on Oct. 1.
Rainshadow Nursery welcomes new owners

Dawn Smith and Will Hawkins of Greenbank officially took ownership of Rainshadow Nursery on Oct. 1.

Rob Schouten's "Skyfall" oil painting is inspired by the San Juan Islands.
His etchings and paintings explore the mysteries of nature

You can Rob Schouten’s aquatint etchings and oil paintings at his gallery and art garden in Langley.

Gabrielle Robles at Sunnyside Cemetery in a block house.
Coupeville woman offers haunted history tour

Gabrielle Robles is taking guests on a Haunted History Tour of Whidbey Island on Oct. 29 and 30.

See caption
NBA star Isaiah Thomas travels to South Whidbey

South Whidbey teenager Jacob Ng recently got to live out a hoop dream.

pumpkins
Halloween happens on Whidbey

Spooky season is back in swing and there are plenty of events that promise a ghoulishly good time.

Audubon is holding birding class for beginners Oct. 19

Master birder Whitney Neufeld-Kaiser will be teaching the online Zoom class 7-8:30 p.m. Oct. 19.

See caption
Mr. South Whidbey reigns once again

After a two-year reign, a new king was crowned in the male pageant world of Whidbey Island.

Blessing of Animals set for Oct. 10

St. Augustines-in-the-Woods Episcopal Church will hold a special ceremony for the four-legged.