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Whidbey Xtra! WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 6, 2016 | Vol. 1, No. 37 | WWW.WHIDBEYNEWSTIMES.COM | FREE

New ebook chronicles Coupeville’s transformation By RON NEWBERRY

rnewberry@whidbeynewsgroup.com

In between Coupeville’s start as a bustling seaport in the 19th century to present-day tourist destination was a stagnant period when activity slowed to a crawl on Front Street. “I grew up in Port Townsend,” said Rick Castellano, executive director of the Island County Historical Society Museum. “When we were kids, we’d get on the ferry and ride our bikes over here to go see the ghost town in the early 60s. Everything was dead.” Coupeville’s historic waterfront has experienced a dramatic revival in the last half century. The town’s success story, as well as its struggles along the way, are chronicled in a new ebook released recently by the museum. The ebook is a collection of 101 inter views conducted by Coupeville historian Judy Lynn, who spoke to present and former Front Street business and property owners as well as other notable community figures historically connected to downtown. The interviews initially led to a book about Coupeville, published in 2012. The depth of the information, however, prompted the idea of producing an ebook with search capabilities to aid in

Photo by Ron Newberry

Judy Lynn stands on the porch of a structure built in 1864 that has been a home, restaurant, gallery, shop and is now a spa on Front Street. research of the state’s secondoldest town. The ebook, “Front Street, Coupeville — An Oral History,” is being sold on Amazon for $9.99 for a Kindle application and the Apple Store for iBooks. Proceeds benefit the museum. “The focus is Front Street mer-

chants and memories of others who lived here over the years and how Front Street has changed,” Castellano said. “There’s a wealth of information in these interviews — how Coupeville has evolved over the years from a bustling seaport to kind of an agricultural shipping center, and then was

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kind of forgotten about. It almost became a ghost town, then starting with the Arts and Crafts Festival in the 1960s, it started back up again and started resurging. Look at where we are now, and it still looks like Coupeville.” L ynn’s research was gathered from 2008-2012. She got

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the idea to start conducting and recording such interviews after listening to stories from Rose Brosseau, former owner of The Six Persimmons restaurant who Lynn referred to as an “institution on Front Street.” Lynn set up a joint interview with Brosseau and another downtown merchant, Shirley Bennett. “One day, I called Shirley and said, ‘I’d like to record you and Rose together,’” Lynn said. “We went to Freeland and did that and got both of their histories. Four days later, Rose died. In a nick of time, I got Rose. I could say that about quite a few people who have gone ahead. But we got their stories.” The interviews give insight into what life was like on Whidbey Island in different time periods and some of the challenges people faced. Leone Argent shared with Lynn how she came to the island by way of her parents’ Model-T from Colorado in 1918, crossing Deception Pass on a scow pulled by a tugboat. Argent’s mother, Clara Libbey, was born in Coupeville and was homesick. Lynn conducted five interviews with Argent before she passed at the age of 101 in March of 2014. The transcripts also reveal oddities and interesting facts SEE EBOOK, PAGE 3


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Xtra!CALENDAR Wednesday Jan. 6

Alcoholics Anonymous, 7 p.m., Jan. 6 and 10, in the Whidbey General Hospital conference room. Contact Tim M. at timmondk@hotmail. com or 360-320-8936 for more information. Wednesday Night with the Stars, 5:30 p.m., Jan. 6, Coupeville Library. Rated PG movie. Popcorn provided by Friends of the Coupeville Library. Free.

Thursday Jan. 7

Coupeville Garden Club program, 9:30-11:30 a.m., Jan. 7, Coupeville Rec Hall. Join the garden club for its first program of the New Year. Master Gardener Deborah

Mitchell will speak on the topic “Why Aren’t My Plants Doing the Happy Dance?” Coffee and light snacks will be served at 9:30 with the program and business meeting beginning at 10. The public is encouraged to attend.

Introduction to Therapeutic Touch, 1 p.m., Jan. 7, Coupeville Library. Therapeutic Touch (TT) is a holistic care practice directing universal energy with intention and compassion to provide an environment for healing. Therapeutic Touch has been taught in over 100 schools of nursing around the world and is an effective researched modality for many conditions including but not limited to: hypertension, wound healing, chemotherapy side effects and pain. Anyone with the intention of heart and openness of

mind to help another and the desire to learn can benefit from and learn Therapeutic Touch.

House of Hope NarAnon Meeting, 7-8 p.m., every Thursday beginning Jan. 7 at Oak Harbor Lutheran Church, 1253 NW 2nd St., Oak Harbor. The Nar-Anon Family Groups are a worldwide fellowship for those affected by someone else’s addiction. All that is required for membership is that there be a problem of addiction in a relative or friend. karol@whidbey. com

Monday Jan. 11

Toddler storytime, 9:30 a.m., Jan. 11, Oak Harbor Library meeting room. Playtime or craft may follow. For ages 2 to 3 years. Caregiver

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Wednesday, January 6, 2016 • WhidbeyXtra!

SEA FLOAT SCRAMBLE: 11 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Jan. 9 at Sea Wall Park off First Street, Langley. Hunt for hand blown glass sea floats at Sea Wall Park in Langley, starting at 11 a.m. The treasure hunt is free and open to everyone, young and old . The glass floats were created by Callahan McVay of Callahan’s Firehouse and hidden in plain view, no digging necessary. For more information go to www.visitlangley.com

Tuesday

required. 360-675-5115. Introduction to Yoga: Stretch, Strengthen, and Relax, 1:30 p.m., Jan. 11, at the Coupeville Library. Stretch, relax and strengthen with Dianna Deseck-Piazzon. She will instruct three levels: seated, gentle/beginner and hatha/vinyasa/flow. Also learn about breathing, poses and hand gestures. Participate or observe. Participants should bring a yoga mat or small blanket. 360-678-4911. Trivia Night at the Library, 5:30 p.m., Jan. 11, at the Coupeville Library. Participate as a team or as an individual to answer questions from five categories related to the mystery genre. Win prizes and bragging rights. This event is for adults.

Jan. 12

Oak Harbor Garden Club meeting, 11 a.m.1 p.m., Jan. 12, First Methodist Church, Oak Harbor. The business meeting will begin at 9:15 a.m. and a special program will start at 11 a.m. This program will feature GregRobin Smith of Interactive History performing as Benjamin Franklin in “Taking Root – Founding Gardeners and Their Gardens.” All history, gardening and humor buffs are invited to attend and to help “Ben” celebrate his 310th birthday. The event is free and open to the public. T’ai Chi and Qigong for Fun, 4:30 p.m., Jan. 12, Coupeville Library. Would you like to have fun while you build a bigger brain, stronger bones, better

balance, more flexibility, and overall improved health? T’ai chi and Qigong have been proven to provide all these benefits -- and more! Join Lynne Donnelly and see how these simple techniques can improve your life!

Wednesday Jan. 13

Baby and me storytime, 9:30 a.m., Jan. 13, Oak Harbor Library meeting room. Playtime follows. For newborns through 24 months. Caregiver required. 360675-5115. Suicide Grief Support Group meeting, 6 p.m., Jan. 13, at Hospice of Whidbey General. Register by contacting Dave Bieniek at bienied@ whidbeygen.org or 360321-1372.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2015 • WhidbeyXtra!

EBOOK CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 about Front Street, which lost two hotels to fire but was able to avoid a catastrophic fire unlike so many other Puget Sound towns that lost many historic structures that way. Some of the inter viewees talk about how the town was impacted by the filming of three Hollywood movies (War of the Roses, Practical Magic and Snow Falling on Cedars) during a 10-year stretch from the late

1980s to late 90s. Lynn, who’s lived in Coupeville since 1975, said that a madefor-TV movie titled “Cry for the Strangers,” also was filmed in the town. The movie, released in 1982, starred Patrick Duffy and Brian Keith. “It should have been called ‘Cry for the Audience,’ because it was just terrible,” Lynn said. On a recent tour of Front Street buildings, L ynn pointed out multi-layered histories of each structure, all from information she gathered during interviews. The building that houses

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Kapaw’s Iskreme Ice Cream Parlor was once the home of the Wet Whisker, owned by coffee pioneers and brothers Jim and Dave Stewart. The business became Seattle’s Best Coffee and the Coupeville site is considered “the birthplace of specialty coffee in the Pacific Northwest.” “They were pre-Starbucks,” Lynn said. Stopping in front of Mariners Court, at the corner of Front and Alexander streets, Lynn chuckled about part of that building’s history in the 1960s when the Asian Moon occupied a highly-

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visible space across from the wharf. “They sold bongs,” Lynn said. Times have changed downtown. After business was directed to Main Street, leaving many Front Street buildings unoccupied, a surge in tourism over the years has revitalized the historic waterfront. Lynn credited former Front Street businessman George “Wiley” Hesselgrave with the start of the resurgence. Hesselgrave was the force behind bringing the Penn Cove Water Festival to Coupeville in

Julie Kinnaird Broker, REALTOR®, SRES Windermere Real Estate/Whidbey Island JulieKinnaird@windermere.com JulieKinnaird.withwre.com 360-632-6619

1930, said Lynn, who interviewed his granddaughter, Joanne Engle Brown. “We should have a statue of Wiley Hesselgrave,” Lynn said. Lynn credited Robert Elphick, a technically-savvy communityminded volunteer, with pushing for the ebook. The idea was sparked after she and Kay Foss produced a book on Coupeville published by Arcadia Publishing. “He’s the one who put the whole project together,” Lynn said. “If it hadn’t been for Robert, it wouldn’t have happened.”

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Special Sections - WHIDBEY XTRA Jan 6 2015  

i20160106165526686.pdf

Special Sections - WHIDBEY XTRA Jan 6 2015  

i20160106165526686.pdf