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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Exploring Whidbey Island: Fort Ebey State Park and Ebey's Landing

Each time we drive back down the island from the tulip festival, I like to take a turn off the main highway to discover some place we have not been before.

Considering that we have been coming to our family cabin for almost 50 years, you would think we have seen the island, but that's not the case. We usually spend our time at Sunlight Beach on Useless Bay with trips to the towns of Freeland and Langley. 


Map from Internet:  See Useless Bay on south Whidbey
Last Wednesday we followed a road that took us to the beach at Fort Ebey State Park, near Coupeville.  It was a cool new discovery for us. 



 From here we returned to the highway and drove south to the other end of the park land to the Ebey's Landing National Historic Reserve.  We've been here before and have hiked the trail along the bluff that begins down below.  Ebey Prairie is a beautiful checkerboard of fertile farmland. It is one of the lowest and narrowest parts of the island. 
 But we have not seen this marker or walked to the original homesite.
As I hope you can read on the marker, Jacob Ebey was awarded this home site as a reward for military service.  When he built his home here in 1856, this was frontier wilderness. The four blockhouses were for protection from raiding Indians. 

Not a bad view out over the fields and the Sound.
Ebey farmed the fields and built a dock down on the low bank landing, where he ran boats as part of the Mosquito Fleet, carrying goods and supplies to ports on the Sound. 



On the hill above the fields is another of the four blockhouses Ebey built, surrounded by a still active pioneer cemetery. 



The Ebey family is buried here, as well as the other settlers who lived and farmed and fished and started the historic town of Coupeville, just across the island, where a third blockhouse still stands. 
Isaac Ebey, son of Jacob, was an adventurous type, and it was he who first came to the Puget Sound area, selected the land to be claimed and built his home near his elderly father's.  He was the one who built the blockhouses, and who eventually met an untimely death at the hands of north coast Native Americans who had sent out a revenge party after the death of one of their chiefs and other tribesmen, who had been attacked by a ship. They came looking for a chief, and found Isaac by knocking on his door. Isaac was 39 years old. 


And that is your history lesson for today.  

It is an historic place, for sure, but we mostly come here for the beauty of it. 

3 comments:

  1. it is quite beautiful. It reminded me a bit of Prince Edward Island although it has been eons since I was there. I should say it remids me of the way I choose to recall PEI.

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  2. Wonderful pictures from a great adventure!

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  3. We travel to Ebey's Landing and Whidbey Island a couple of times every year with the Senior Trailblazers. It's a beautiful walk along the ridge, you captured the pictures of the beauty so well, with a history lesson to boot! :-)

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