Captain George Vancouver Julia Butler Hansen Carlos Bulosan Ernestine Anderson Kurt Cobain Bill Gates & Paul Allen Home
Search Encyclopedia
Advanced Search
Featured Essay
Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search
7100 essays now available      
Donation system not supported by Safari     Donate Subscribe


Cyberpedias Cyberpedias
Timeline Essays Timeline Essays
People's Histories People's Histories

Selected Collections
Cities & Towns Cities & Towns
County Thumbnails Counties
Biographies Biographies
Interactive Cybertours Interactive Cybertours
Slide Shows Slideshows
Public Ports Public Ports
Audio & Video Audio & Video

Research Shortcuts

Map Searches
Alphabetical Search
Timeline Date Search
Topic Search


Book of the Fortnight
Audio/Video Enhanced
History Bookshelf
Klondike Gold Rush Database
Duvall Newspaper Index
Wellington Scrapbook

More History

Washington FAQs
Washington Milestones
Honor Rolls
Columbia Basin
Walla Walla
Roads & Rails

Timeline Library

< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >

Anacortes incorporates on May 19, 1891. Essay 9872 : Printer-Friendly Format

On May 19, 1891, Anacortes, located on the northern end of Fidalgo Island in Skagit County, incorporates. The new town occupies a deep draft harbor adjacent to extensive forest lands.  Growing from a small settlement at the beginning of 1890, Anacortes experienced a dramatic eight-month-long boom before a crippling bust hit that August. After many of the newcomers leave town the remaining residents decide to apply for incorporation, which is granted on May 19, 1891. The town will be built on fishing, fish canning and curing, and logging until extractive industries began to decline by the mid-twentieth century. Thereafter, Anacortes will become an oil refining center and a growing hub for tourism and residential housing.

Managing the Bust

As town residents awaited the results of their bid for incorporation, they held a municipal election in the spring to determine their new leaders. Captain Frank P. Hogan was chosen as mayor. When the telegram announcing the success of the incorporation petition reached Anacortes, the editor of the Anacortes American wildly rejoiced that despite his dignity "we can hardly resist the temptation of standing out beneath the stars and yelling out like a mad enthusiast over the joy tugging at out heart strings."

The coming of incorporation revived the editor's high ambitions for the community and revealed a city stalled and half-finished:

"Every resident has recognized for months that incorporation was synonymous with a multitude of improvements and the loosening of the local money market. Streets have needed grading, building enterprises have been in a measure checked by the uncertainty of our position, and a host of other objections existed which could only be remedied by the formation of a municipal government. This is at last our possession, and the fair King City no longer fears a rival on the Sound" (American).

High hopes indeed for a town with no capital, a multitude of empty dwellings, and a defunct urban railway. But at least it now had municipal leaders, led by mayor-elect Hogan. The election held while waiting for confirmation of incorporation was invalidated due to an unknown number of votes cast by non-residents but a second, valid election later in the year produced the same results.

The town council went to work organizing maintenance of the water works that had been rapidly constructed during the rush of the previous year's activity. The council also attended to the numerous details of street maintenance, sewage, and public buildings. Over the next 10 years, Anacortes successfully built a community around lumber mills, fishing, and fish canning.

Chechacos All: The Pioneering of Skagit, ed. by Margaret Willis (Mount Vernon: Skagit County Historical Society, 1973) 138-141; Anacortes American, May 19, 1891, p. 1.

Travel through time (chronological order):
< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >

Related Topics: Cities & Towns |

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Major Support for Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You

This essay made possible by:
Association of Washington Cities

Anacortes, ca. 1891
Photo by Frank Roche, Courtesy UW Special Collections (Image No. LAR 101)

Apex Fish Co., Anacortes, 1910s

Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search is the first online encyclopedia of local and state history created expressly for the Internet. (SM) is a free public and educational resource produced by History Ink, a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt corporation.
Contact us by phone at 206.447.8140, by mail at Historylink, 1411 4th Ave. Suite 803, Seattle WA 98101 or email