De Ja Views

Whidbey Island

Whidbey History  

De Ja Views cover

De Ja Views

A historical pictorial of Whidbey Island, with hundreds of photographs from the 1860s to 1980

from the files of Dorothy Neil

Over a century and a half ago, Whidbey Island was "discovered" by Master Joseph Whidbey, first mate of Captain George Vancouver, English explorer and navigator who anchored in the Straits of Juan de Fuca and sent his survey crews out in small boats. Indian tribes who lived on Whidbey Island became the friends of the white man and left many items of history for future generations.

Whidbey Island is unique and was blessed by settlers who wrote about their experiences, and some, notably John Maylor, who photographed the area. Traveling photographers would visit the Island occasionally to record those early families. Many were made into postcards and those surviving copies are invaluable to today's historian.

We are indebted to Maylor, whose pictures of Oak Harbor in the 1890s and in the first two decades after 1900, portrayed folks of a difficult but gentler time before cars, electricity, public water and sewers. De Ja Views is a historical pictorial of Whidbey Island, mostly from Coupeville north. The photographs have been supplied over the years by people whose forebears were among the early settlers who came from all over the civilized world to find their Shangri-la.

The 1850s brought explorers and sea captains and disappointed gold seekers to the Island where "land was free." Some of their stories have been recorded elsewhere, but their pictures illustrate that era of time most graphically. They were a hardworking, idealistic and neighborly people.