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Orcas

A small community south of the town of West Sound on the middle lobe of Orcas Island in central San Juan County. The place was named Orcas Island in 1873 for the island on which it is located. On November 2, 1898, the name was shortened to its present form.

Today, the Lieber Haven Resort and Marina offers waterfront lodging at the landing. A wooden dock remains, extending into the small, protected bay of Obstruction Pass. The dock continues to serve charters, water taxis and small passenger-only ferries as well as offering short-term boat moorage for visitors. Next to the dock is Orcas Island’s only public boat launch.

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Orcas Hotel

Orcas Hotel On the hill sloping back from the beach stands a white hotel converted from an old residence. Listed in the National Register, the 1904 colonial revival Orcas Hotel still provides accommodations to travelers, with a restaurant catering to those stuck in a backlog of vehicles waiting to board the next ferry. Construction of the hotel began in 1900 and was completed in 1904. The builder employed by W.E. Sutherland was Edwin Von Bogart. His brother was a Ferry Captain in the San Juan’s for many years. The Van Moorhems bought the hotel in 1905. Octavia Van Moorhem ran the hotel as a summer resort for 36 years, while her husband Constant ran the store. During prohibition there was a bank robbery in Canada, and a bullet hole in the front porch post of the hotel reminds islanders of how robbers fought it out with the Sheriff on the steps of the hotel. The WA DOT tried to condemn the hotel for additional parking for a new ferry terminal in in 1970s but the islanders fought and won the preservation of the building.

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