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Saw and shingle mills, box and plywood factories, a fish reduction factory, a pulp and paper mill, tuna, salmon, and codfish canneries, wharves and warehouses, were once strung along the water front. The Fishermen’s Packing Corporation, a co-operative, operated the biggest cannery on Puget Sound.

Whalers, seeking a place to careen their ships in order to rid them of barnacles, visited Fidalgo Island 100 years ago, finding what they called “Squaw Harbor.” Later known as “Ship Harbor,” and briefly as “Magic City,” the settlement which took root in 1860 was finally named Anacortes for Anna Curtis, wife of Amos Bowman, an early settler. Surviving a somewhat exciting career of early booms and slumps, its basic industries periodically beset by fish pirates and “log slicers,” Anacortes today has the air of a settled community, its thoroughfares reflecting a conscious civic pride.

Downtown Anacortes still showcases numerous historic structures, several of which are listed in the National Register, such as the Wilson Hotel and the Fraternal Order of Eagles building. Additionally, the lobby of the U.S. Post Office on Commercial Avenue features a mural by Pacific Northwest artist Kenneth Callahan. The Anacortes History Museum is located in another designated historic building—the 1911 Carnegie Library. Serving as the museum since 1968, the Carnegie Gallery is home to a permanent collection of Native American artifacts and displays devoted to the early logging and fishing industries. Visitors can examine the maritime heritage of Anacortes on the W.T. Preston, a National Historic Landmark vessel opened in 2005 as the W.T. Preston Snagboat Heritage Center.


Historic view of a logging raft at Anacortes.

Source: Pacific Pathways

1913 image by Asahel Curtis of a female cannery worker on a dock, holding two fish. Apex Cannery, Anacortes.

Source: Washington State Historical Society

Points of Interest Points of Interest icon

Cap Sante

Cap Sante, a dominating headland, rises abruptly east of the flat occupied by the city, and forms a peninsula separating Guemes Channel and Fidalgo Bay, the town’s (Anacortes) north and east boundaries. Two deeply indented coves in Fidalgo Bay provided storage for the log booms that supplied local mills, and safe anchorage for the fishing fleet that moored at the end of 13th Street.