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San Juan Islands, Washington State, United States
A society formed in 2009 for the purpose of collecting, preserving, celebrating, and disseminating the maritime history of the San Juan Islands and northern Puget Sound area. Check this log for tales from out-of-print publications as well as from members and friends. There are circa 500, often long entries, on a broad range of maritime topics; there are search aids at the bottom of the log. Please ask for permission to use any photo posted on this site. Thank you.

1903 ❖ A MARINE LABORATORY SITE ❖


A Lab May be Established Here for Study of Marine Life
Now Being Investigated by Professor Kincaid of the UW.

The first site of the Friday Harbor Laboratory
San Juan Island, WA.
Photographers unknown.
Original photographs from the archives of the S. P. H. S.©

Prof. Trevor Kincaid, professor of zoology in the State University, is here investigating the advantages offered by this locality as a desirable location for a marine laboratory to be established this summer in connection with the biological department of the university. Prof. Kincaid, though the youngest professor in the university in point of age, is one of the oldest in point of service, having for nine years been connected with the institution, through which he worked his way as a student. He is one of the leading entomologists of the west and is recognized as the foremost authority on the insect life of this State and Alaska; his first Alaskan researches having been made in 1897, when he spent the summer among the islands of the Aleutian peninsula in company with Dr. David Start Jordan, president of Stanford Univ. and the greatest living authority on fishes and other forms of marine life. Two years later he was a member of the Harriman Scientific Expedition that spent the summer investigating all forms of animal life along the Alaskan coast and accumulating a vast fund of scientific information about the great north land. The personnel of the expedition included thirty-five of the most celebrated scientists and naturalists of the country, representing all phases of scientific research in its relation to natural history. The expenses of the expedition were borne by E. B. Harriman, the great railway magnate, and the valuable scientific collection gathered was presented to the National Museum in WA. On this trip Prof. Kincaid gathered specimens of 1,000 different insects, of which 343 were previously unknown.
         The undertaking in which Prof. Kincaid is now engaged and in which he is associated with Prof. Foster, of the department of botany of the university, has for the purpose the establishing of a laboratory at which students of biology, both at the local university and from eastern institutions, may have the opportunity of studying in their live state, the flora and fauna indigenous to Puget Sound.
         There are only two maritime labs on the Pacific Coast, one maintained by Stanford University in Monterey, CA, and the other on Vancouver Island in BC, operated by the U of Minnesota. The authorities of the UW regard the adjunct as one of the most important features taken on in recent years. In time, it is believed that, it will become the center for students from all parts of the country. The professors have four points on the Sound that they are considering as possible locations. They are Port Townsend; Friday Harbor; a point near Anacortes, on Fidalgo Island, and Port Orchard Bay, Kitsap County. This point is thus far considered the most desirable, being richest in marine life, the only question concerning it being whether the bottoms of the bays are of such a character as to make deep dredging practicable. A test will be made in the bay here today.
         Prof. Kincaid has already made his investigations at Port Townsend and vicinity. He was not a stranger to this locality before his present visit, having spent several days here two years ago, and been much attracted then by the advantages of the situation. In the Seattle Post-Intelligencer of last Saturday he is quoted as saying:
         “Such a laboratory as we propose to establish will be of great value and importance, both to the state and the university, and I have no doubt will become a center for skill and talent from the leading colleges of the country. The advantages of a lab on the Sound over one located almost anywhere else in the world is that the Sound possesses a great variety of animal and vegetable life. Here we have a meeting place of two faunas, the Alaskan and middle coast, and they are held in the Sound as in a vast pocket.”
Above text from  The San Jun IslanderFriday Harbor, WA.,  Front page, Thursday 9 July 1903
One hundred and one years later Prof. Kincaid's daughter donates to the Laboratory collection, a typed 15-page Station Journal from the year 1904. The diary identifies the first class of 19 students, the two well-known professors, the erecting of the first tents at the primitive camp, a new boat built for them on Shaw Island, and some of the research carried out. Thanks to the Friday Harbor Lab staff, the scanned pages can be viewed here


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