Letter: Commission fetes Historic Preservation Month


Langley’s Historic Preservation Commission was created in 2008 to maintain a register of historic buildings and sites and to serve as a resource for the City Council and community regarding local history.

May is Historic Preservation Month and the Historic Preservation Commission will be celebrating the history of of the “Village by the Sea” during the 111 years since the town was platted. An exhibit of melded “Then and Now” photos created by commission Chair Bob Waterman will be hung on the walls of WICA during May. These composite images provide a visual representation of the passage of time, and help connect what existed in the past with what’s there now. They cause one to stop and reflect.

Additional such images can be found on the commission’s interactive website, langleyhistory.com, along with the history of all of Langley’s commercial buildings, churches, schools, the marina, parks, selected residences, and more. Historic photographs documenting the changes in the sites over time are combined with brief stories of the people who built and occupied them over the years. There are humorous stories of kindhearted people and a few scoundrels like the former laundromat owner who never paid the building supply store for using their water.

This website lets you click on a spot of interest and photos and history open up. Places you have driven by may be identified such as the old school house which was moved across Park Street and was remodeled into a beautiful home. The first town dock, built at the end of Anthes Avenue, was destroyed in storms but was successfully rebuilt at the marina’s current location with a cannery, creamery, fair grounds, a dance pavilion and the Sunrise Beach Resort.

There is a timeline beginning in 1891 that documents the growth of the city, plus a brief description of one of the largest permanent Snohomish villages that were located in the Langley area at THEHT-skluhs (“Ragged Nose”) now Sandy Point. Capt. George Vancouver noted in his journals that his sailing master Joseph Whidbey saw over 200 people at this site when his ship explored the Island in 1792.

Langley has a colorful history of ambitious people with the desire to make Langley better. We encourage everyone to visit the display at WICA and explore the langleyhistory.com website to learn more about Langley’s history. We also welcome any suggested additions or corrections to anything you find there. After all, we will be those in the photos of the future.

Pamela Schell

Historic Preservation Commission member