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Whidbey Island
and The Legend of Deception Pass

Chapter Twenty-Five

Whidbey Island in the 1930s

Island County consists of islands. Whidbey, the largest of the group, the largest island in the United States proper, lies opposite the Straits of Juan de Fuca. It is about 60 miles in length north to south, and of varying breadth. It was named after Lieutenant Whidbey, a member of Vancouver's expedition of exploration and discovery. Its only connection with the mainland is by ferry or other water service.

Whidbey Island is primarily a farming district. The soil is productive. The climate is as nearly ideal as can be found. The annual rainfall rarely reaches 25 inches and the annual mean temperature is about 49 degrees. Every mile of road affords unexcelled marine and mountain scene, every bay and inlet is a haven for the lover of yachting or water sports, and every mile of its sandy beaches is a prospective playground for present and future generations.

The leading products of Whidbey Island are dairying and chicken-raising, although diversified farming is engaged in and the island holds the world's record of 117.5 bushels of wheat per acre. In earlier days Whidbey Island was the principal source from which the Puget Sound region received its supply of butter and the big Irish "spud."

It was on Whidbey Island that some of the first settlements in the Northwest were made, here that the hardy pioneers erected block houses where they gathered in time of trouble with the Indians, and here that the massacre of Colonel Ebey and followers occurred. Some of the block houses remain to bear mute witness to the tragic events of early pioneer life.

Although Whidbey Island possesses all the natural requisites for the sustenance and development of a progressive and happy people, and the county is far from the bottom of the list of counties of the state in point of population and assessed valuation of property, Whidbey Island people suffer the inconvenience of toll ferry service whenever they travel to the highway system of the state and to the larger cities.

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