History buffs who want to get the chance to know South Whidbey have several upcoming opportunities to hear about the land of long ago.
The program South Whidbey Backroads will be held Sunday, April 7. Langley Walking Tours with Local Historian Bob Waterman will begin on Saturday, April 13.
Brian Grimm, who is on the Bayview Hall board, first started the backroad series in 2006, which discusses the historic roads of South Whidbey and the people they are named after.
The events are held in a question-and-answer style format where the audience is encouraged to participate.
Many of the roads are named after families who have lived in the area for many generations, Grimm said, so the community talks are opportunities for people to share stories and talk about family legacies.
He first had the idea to put together the talks after doing research on Bayview Hall, which his grandfather helped build and was finished in 1927. Grimm found that street names were helpful to track down the information he was looking for.
Any family that has lived in the area for several generations has a road named after them, Grimm said.
“My family’s been here over 100 years,” he said.
The first talk he organized was a hit, lasting seven hours. It ended up being a combination of a family, class and school reunion, Grimm said.
“It was great and real informative. I learned things I didn’t know,” he said.
So he continued the popular event, and now it runs roughly two to four times a year. They have had attendance range from 12 to 70 people in the past.
Grimm hopes that more people will come forward with information on the historical roads, as they currently have stories on 30 out of the 90 roads, he said. The upcoming talk is a recap on the roads that have been discussed in previous talks.
South Whidbey Backroads is organized by a partnership between the Bayview Hall and the Island County Historical Museum.
“It’s just a lot of fun,” museum Executive Director Richard Castellano said. “Even if you’ve just moved here, it’s a great way to learn about where you just moved.”
It’s also a great way for a community to identify as a community. Not to mention, there’s free food, he said.
Langley Walking Tours with local historian Bob Waterman will immerse tour-goers with details of Langley life in the 1890s through the hippie-culture of the 1960s.
Waterman is currently the vice president of the South Whidbey Historical Society, and he started the tours as a fundraiser for the South Whidbey Historical Museum. The new tours will showcase interesting people and stories associated with downtown buildings, such as the Star Store and Doghouse.
“It’s good for all ages,” he said. “Bring your questions.”
A look back
- South Whidbey Backroads: 2-4 p.m. April 7 at historic Bayview Hall. Free admission, all ages welcome and bring a dish to share for the community potluck. www.islandhistory.org.
- Langley Walking Tours: 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., April 13 at the South Whidbey Historical Museum on Second Street, Langley. The cost is $10. The tour will also be on the following Saturdays: April 27, May 18 and June 1, 15, 22. Purchase tickets at walkingtour.brownpapertickets.com or in person at the museum during weekend hours. Tours are limited to 10 people. www.southwhidbeyhistory.org