Near Coupeville in Island County, Washington — The American West (Northwest)
Remaining Blockhouses of Central Whidbey
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.
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,
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.
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′ Touch 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). Touch for a list and map 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 (Submitted on November 10, 2012, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.)
Categories. • Forts, Castles • Settlements & Settlers •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 10, 2012, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 518 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on November 10, 2012, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.