"The past actually happened but history is only what someone wrote down." A. Whitney Brown.

About Us

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San Juan Archipelago, 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 750, 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.

29 March 2011

Prohibition Days in Deer Harbor

Photo postcard by Ferd Brady (1880-1967)
Postmarked Orcas, WA. 1931.
Brady operated a studio in Marysville, WA., 
before purchasing the Anacortes Photo Studio in 1926.
 He moved his shop several times but maintained it in that city, 
until he retired to a nursing home in Seattle.
From the Saltwater People Historical Society Collection© 
"Apparently a rumor had been going around Deer Harbor that government people looking for bootleggers were posing as two couples with their police dog, as they prowled on a boat. This was the winter of 1930 and prohibition was still the law of the land.
      My parents-to-be and my grandparents had been to British Columbia, and were passing back through the area following my parents wedding on 30 October. A business/honeymoon kind of thing, and now they were on their way home to Portland, OR. The stop in Deer Harbor was to be overnight, but good weather along with a bargain of house rent for $5 per month encouraged them to stay longer. That turned out to be a life time for all of them.
      On a dark, quiet, night the US Coast Guard cutter slipped into the harbor and tied up to the cannery. Dad and Granddad had to know why, so they rowed their skiff near, but were careful to remain in the shadows.
      A truck belonging to a local farmer came through the nearby building and started to receive cases of forbidden beverage. A few hours later the cutter slipped out of the harbor; nothing was ever mentioned about the activities of that night. If Dad and Granddad hadn't seen it, it would have been a non-happening. Many years later we have learned that on weekends, the USCG skippers were allowed to use the cutter for their own purpose. Likely not the purpose intended that dark evening.
      Because of the rumor mentioned of government people cruising through the village, the family was not well received. People were friendly but reserved and Granddad could not accept that, being very social and always looking for historic facts where ever he traveled.
Not mentioning any names, Deer Harbor, Washington
From the private collection of L.W. North©
At Norton Store he bought the necessary products to make home brew, not revealing his intended use, but everyone in the store was familiar with the recipe items. A week later he bought bottle caps, a funnel, and a ladies personal device, and went home. Later in the evening a couple of guys dropped by and still later, a couple more, and the siphon party was on. Apparently, Gramps recipe was good because he got a reputation for the best beer. When he passed away in 1936, he was greatly missed by part of the community, anyway."
L. W. North, Deer Harbor, WA. 2010

02 March 2011

❖ Rowing Through the San Juan Islands for Fifty Years ❖ (1902-1952) ❖

A. O. McCormick or his   
brother James A. McCormick,
Vendovi Island, San Juan Archipelago, 
inscribed with date of 1914.
Photo postcard from the archives of the S.P.H.S©

Making Fiftieth Rowing Cruise, August 1952
"A. O. McCormick, Seattle, was in town [Friday Harbor] last week making his usual yearly stop while rowing through the San Juan Islands, as he has done for the past fifty years.
      Mr. McCormick, who is 78 years old, rents a rowboat from a LaConner resident and this year started on 11 August. He expects to complete the cruise by 31 August.
      He carries a sheep herder's tent, a comfortable cot, and cooks his meals over an open fire. He never has to camp in he same spot, he says, as there are so many fine camping places available.
      When asked if he didn't find rowing difficult, he replied that he found he found the hardest work in setting up and breaking camp. It was rest to row the boat.
      A. O. McCormick says that this is the last trip of this type he plans to make, as it climaxes a record of 50 years enjoying a "rowboat cruise" among the San Juans.
      He is a brother of the late J. A. McCormick, photographer, who for many resided in Friday Harbor."
Friday Harbor Journal, 28 August 1952.
      If you have any data or photos connected to the life and work of this gentleman, we are archiving a file on his brother J. A. McCormick, professional photographer and part time resident of San Juan County and King County. Thank you.


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