Tag Archives: Charles Wilkes

Of Pork and Politics: Washington in the Pig War

We’re all familiar with the historic events that led to the American Revolution, when the American Colonies seceded from rule by Great Britain. Somewhat less well known are the reasons behind the second war between England and the U.S…the War of 1812. But it’s unlikely you can find very many people who can tell you about the third war between these two superpowers, which took place – or, more accurately, almost took place – in the San Juan Islands in

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History lives on Orcas Island

There are very few places in Washington where you can hike through the woods, trip over a 200-year-old cannonball and land amongst an assortment of arrowheads and prehistoric bison fossils. In fact, there’s likely only one place where that amazing scenario could potentially play out, and that is on Orcas Island in the San Juans. As the largest island in San Juan County, Orcas is surprisingly not named after the famous killer whales that patrol the waters north of

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Port Ludlow: From industry to opportunity

When most folks want to unplug for a weekend, they are often disappointed to find that their secret hideaway has suddenly become everyone else’s destination hot-spot. Many of Washington’s smaller beach communities can end up crawling with tourists during the busy season…good for their local economy, sure, but the bane of travelers looking for peace and quiet. However, a few places still remain where individuals, couples and families can find a safe harbor away from both day-to-day responsibilities and

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What’s in a name? As it turns out, a lot

As I tweeted last week, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources’ Committee on Geographic Names is meeting to consider changing the names of a number of Washington State locations, the most prominent being Soap Lake in Grant County. Someone had the bright idea of renaming it “Lake Smokiam” despite the local community having spent th0usands of dollars marketing the lake’s alleged medicinal properties. Needless to say, Soap Lake residents – along with yours truly – are opposed to the renaming

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Some insight into the life of Thomas Frost

Last week, I began planning the first full episode of the Washington, Our Home, video series and I decided the creation and exploration of the Willamette Meridian would be a good first start. To begin with, as I asked in a previous blog post, I had to learn why in the world someone in the mid-1800’s would decide that a straight line north and south from Portland, Oregon, was even necessary. As it turns out, there are a lot of

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