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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Coupeville in Island County, Washington — The American West (Northwest)
 

Remaining Blockhouses of Central Whidbey

 
 
Remaining Blockhouses of Central Whidbey Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, October 31, 2012
1. Remaining Blockhouses of Central Whidbey Marker
Captions: 1. Alexander blockhouse, Coupeville WA next to Island County Museum; 2. Davis Blockhouse, adjacent to this Interpretive Display; 3. Jacob Ebey Blockhouse on Ebey’s Bluff; 4. Crockett Blockhouse, at Fort Casey and Crockett Farm Rd Intersection (photos top, left); Winfield Ebey diary entry describing his Father’s death. (Center); Elderly children of Pioneers gather at dedication of restored Davis blockhouse. Renowned University of Washington history professor, Edmond Meany, gave the dedication address which focused on the rich history of Whidbey Island. (bottom, left); Isaac Ebey (top, right).
Inscription.
Saved Blockhouse
In 1921 a local civic group, the Ladies of the Round Table (LORT) began a ten year effort to restore the decaying Davis Blockhouse. Local carpenter Fred Krueger handled the project carefully replacing rotting beams while preserving the “fireplace built of clay and sticks”. The group persuaded the Island County Commissioners to assume ownership and long-term care of the structure. The Commissioners then expanded Sunnyside Cemetery with a new “Blockhouse” plat.

Local Tragedy
From 1855-1857, Indian unrest in the Puget Sound Region spurred early Whidbey settlers to build the first four blockhouses, followed by three more after the tragic murder of Isaac Ebey by the southeast Alaskan Kake Indians in 1857. The Indians shot and beheaded prominent civic leader Ebey as retribution for the loss of twenty-seven Kake tribal members during relocation talks on the US Navy steamer Massachusetts the previous year. Ebey’s scalp was eventually recovered but questions remain as to its final location.

The 1855 Alexander Blockhouse, moved from John Alexander’s farm to its current location next to the Island County Historical Museum in Coupeville, provided protection for the first three families on the Island.

The 1855 Crockett Blockhouse,
View of the Davis Blockhouse from the Remaining Blockhouses of Central Whidbey Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, October 31, 2012
2. View of the Davis Blockhouse from the Remaining Blockhouses of Central Whidbey Marker
one of two stockaded blockhouses remains today, moved just south west of its original site. The other blockhouse went to the 1909 Yukon-Alaska Pacific Exposition.

The 1857 Ebey Blockhouse was one of four standing at the corners of a stockade enclosing the Jacob Ebey house, currently under restoration by the National Park Service southwest of the Cemetery. Jacob Ebey’s son, Winfield, used the blockhouse as his office, the first law office on Whidbey Island.

The 1857 Davis Blockhouse, next to this Interpretive Panel, stands on its original site, but was built by John Davis initially as a cabin and modified into a blockhouse after the death of his brother-in-law Isaac Ebey. The chimney’s fireplace was originally of stick and mud.

Ongoing Restoration
By 2007 the Davis Blockhouse was in desperate need of restoration. This project was accomplished by Island County Cemetery District No. 2 with local assistance from the Coupeville Lions Club. The entire building was thoroughly cleaned. Rotting logs were replaced using period building methods. A former restoration problem was repaired which included a foundation of gravel and field stones to hide cement footings. An innovative steel brace was embedded in supporting beams to provide additional roof strength.
 
Location. 48° 12.368′ 
The Alexander Blockhouse in Coupeville image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, October 31, 2012
3. The Alexander Blockhouse in Coupeville
N, 122° 42.392′ W. Marker is near Coupeville, Washington, in Island County. Marker can be reached from Cemetery Road. Click for map. This marker is in Sunnyside Cemetery in front of the Davis Blockhouse. Access is gained by a short walk from the parking area near 162 Cemetery Road. Marker is at or near this postal address: 162 Cemetery Road, Coupeville WA 98239, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Davis Blockhouse (a few steps from this marker); Mary Barrett (a few steps from this marker); Sunnyside (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Ebey Blockhouse (approx. 0.4 miles away); Col. Isaac Neff Ebey – Rebecca Whitey Ebey (approx. 1.3 miles away); Keeping the Alexander Blockhouse alive!!! (approx. 1.3 miles away); Original Home of Seattle’s Best Coffee (approx. 1.3 miles away); Zylstra Law Office (approx. 1.4 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Coupeville.
 
Also see . . .  Hidden History: Blockhouses Still Stand Guard - Whidbey News-Times. While digging through books about the island’s history, I couldn’t escape what looked like odd looking two-story cabins called blockhouses. After gathering information at the Island County Historical Society Museum, I knew my best impression would be to step inside one, close my eyes and
Ebey's Blockhouse on Ebey's Bluff near the Sunnyside Cemetery image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, October 31, 2012
4. Ebey's Blockhouse on Ebey's Bluff near the Sunnyside Cemetery
reopen them imagining it was the 1850s.
(Submitted on November 10, 2012, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.) 
 
Categories. Forts, CastlesSettlements & Settlers
 
Crockett Blockhouse near Fort Casey State Park image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, October 31, 2012
5. Crockett Blockhouse near Fort Casey State Park
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 460 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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