312 Second Street

South Whidbey Historical Society Museum (Bunkhouse/ Residence)

1900: Bunkhouse built


1911. Downtown Langley as seen from Second Street. Bunkhouse (arrow). (Courtesy South Whidbey Historical Society)

Three of Langley's pioneer founding families, the Anthes, McLeods, and Andersons are intimately associated with this building, which remains on its original site and looks much as it did when it was first constructed.

The structure was built by Jacob Anthes, the founder of Langley, WA, as a bunkhouse for his employees sometime around the turn of the 20th Century. The exact construction date is unclear, but it was most certainly one of the earliest buildings built in Langley. Although the date 1902 has been suggested, in a letter to George Kellogg dated February 21, 1930, Jacob Anthes wrote, "The call for wood (for the steamers) was immense. In the years 1891 to 1893 our wood sales averaged fully 35 cords a day. In order to fill the demand, seven teams of horses and twenty-five wood choppers were required."

Loggers and brush cutters harvested shrubs and scrap timber for landfill in Seattle's developing waterfront. They also cut cordwood used to power the emerging "Mosquito" steamship fleet that serviced Puget Sound.

In 1905, Anton Myer ("Blackie") Anderson, the town blacksmith, purchased it and lived there with his wife Josephine and their children, Otto and Alma. Roderick McLeod and his family subsequently occupied the building while they built their hotel on First Street in Langley. Anton retired from blacksmithing in 1925 and died in 1933. He willed the house to his daughter Alma. Members of the Anderson family continued living in or renting the building until Alma (Anderson) Grist willed it to the South Whidbey Historical Society in 1989.

At some point, the front porch was removed, the main door was relocated to the west side, and a kitchen was added on the north side.

Circa 1989. Bunkhouse before remodel (Courtesy South Whidbey Historical Society)

1992: South Whidbey Historical Society Museum opens.

1992. Historical Society members remodel the bunkhouse (Courtesy South Whidbey Historical Society)

Historical Society volunteers refurbished the interior and opened the bunkhouse as a museum in 1992.

1994. Museum following remodel (Courtesy South Whidbey Historical Society).
2016. South Whidbey Historical Museum (Courtesy Robert Waterman)

In 1996, the floor of the museum fell past its joists and hit the ground. A major reconstruction occurred during 1997 and 1998. Original features like the front porch and Second Street entrance were restored. An office, storage space, and a concrete foundation were added, and wheelchair access was completed. The museum re-opened in December of 1999 with new exhibit spaces designed by Lee Wexler.

A statue of a brush cutter by Georgia Gerber was placed in front of the museum to commemorate the early loggers and brush cutters.