The Tharald Homestead, built in 1883, is historically significant as an intact pioneer farm on Shaw Island in San Juan County. The homestead is a representative example of a typical pioneer Scandinavian settlement in Washington State and is noted for its use of “Nordic” style architecture. Moreover, the homestead is one of the best and oldest examples of its kind to survive in all of San Juan County, Washington.
In 1936, Dr. Fredrick Ellis and his family purchased the property and added several contributing buildings to the resource. Since 1951, the Ellis Family has continued not only to preserve the original architectural character of the farmstead, but has also established easements on some 400 additional surrounding acres of property to permanently conserve a wildlife habit on the site, while protecting old growth forest on Shaw Island. Additionally, a peninsula that encloses this pristine bay was donated to the University of Washington as a biological preserve.