City of Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island, Washington, Whidbey Island's Premier Waterfront Community

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865 SE Barrington Drive
Oak Harbor, WA 98277
Phone: 360-279-4500
Fax: 360-279-4507
info@oakharbor.org

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History of Oak Harbor

Highlights from Oak Harbor's History

May 14, 2015 marked the 100 year anniversary
of incorporation* for our beautiful city

Click on image to enlarge.

Highlights from Oak Harbor's History image

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Oak Harbor is Whidbey Island's largest incorporated city (located in Island County). Named for the Garry Oak trees which grace its skyline, the city's growth coincided with two major events: the building of Deception Pass Bridge on July 31, 1935, and the completion of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island on September 21, 1942.

Oak Harbor's history goes back to the early 1850s, when three settlers staked claims where the city now stands — Martin Taftezon, a shoemaker from Norway; C.W. Sumner from New England, and Ulrich Freund, a Swiss Army officer. Freund retained part of his claim, which today is home to his descendants.

Houses and businesses sprouted up along the shores of Oak Harbor as the pioneers relied entirely on water transportation until the 1900s. For the next thirty years, steamers and freighters carried passengers and freight from the Island to the mainland and back.

Churches, schools, and more businesses followed. A high school was built in 1906. Oak Harbor flourished as a small country town until Deception Pass Bridge and the U.S. Navy Base connected the city to the rest of the world.

Deception Pass Bridge, a National Historic Monument since 1982, is actually two spans that link Whidbey Island to Fidalgo Island over Canoe Pass and Deception Pass. The bridge, one of the scenic wonders of the Pacific Northwest, was a Public Works Administration project built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Deception Pass State Park, Washington's second most popular state park (as of 2004) [1], has over 4,100 acres (17 km2) of forest, campsites, trails, and scenic vistas of the San Juan Islands, Victoria (British Columbia, Canada), Mount Baker, and Fidalgo Island.

Oak Harbor was incorporated on May 14, 1915.

~From Wikipedia

 

*Note that establishment differs from incorporation in that incorporating a town means the State recognizes that entity as having authority to conduct government business, such as hold elections, collect taxes, and provide indispensable services such as utilities, police power, fire protection, etc.

 

       

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