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At Home in Anacortes Celebrates the Architecture of Anacortes
at the Museum's Carnegie Gallery

Before 1890, residents of Fidalgo and Guemes islands were too busy eking out a living to fret about adding architectural embellishments to their homes.

     But architecture suddenly and exuberantly arrived in Anacortes with the railroad boom. City promoters and
speculators, who were eager to impress investors, feverishly erected fabulous homes and buildings for a brief, heady time stalling only when the railroad decided not to make Anacortes its terminus in 1891. Combined with a national depression that hit in 1893, the city’s first housing bubble popped.At Home photo

     Over the past 127 years, Anacortes has gone through several cycles of economic highs and lows. Each has left us with its own legacy of historic homes – the grand Queen Anne homes of the boom, elegant Craftsman homes of the 1920s, the middle class ranch homes of the 1950s, and the contemporary view homes of the 1960s – and today.

     “At Home in Anacortes” tells the story of residential architecture as it has evolved in the city, starting with the first boom. The exhibit stops with the story of Skyline, because, in preservation circles, homes do not become “historic” until they are 50 years old.

     The first known architect in Anacortes was J.C. Jepson. An architectural engineer, he had built several
structures in Minneapolis and specialized in fireproof buildings. Jepson’s office was in the 1890 Goodwin-Benedict-Havekost Building (today home to Café Adrift), a building he designed.

     Hogan’s house at 1613 7th St. is an exquisite example of the American Queen Anne style. With its turret, steep gables, complicated roof, stained glass, intricately patterned shingles, wrap-around porch and elaborately carved “gingerbread,” it epitomizes the flamboyance of the Anacortes boom.

     Anacortes, like the rest of the country, turned to simpler American Foursquare and Craftsman style homes when the depression ended in the late 1890s. As prosperity returned, many small bungalows and cottages also were built for mill and cannery workers. The Workingman’s Foursquare, a simple square home with a hipped or pyramid-shaped roof, is especially common.

     Many small homes were built during the Great Depression in a style that evolved from the little Foursquares. These Roosevelt Cottages and Depression Era Cottages evolved into the World War II era cottages needed to house Whidbey Navy families. A variation of the style, Minimal Traditional, later served new post-war families. When Baby Boomers outgrew these starter homes, their parents (many of them refinery families) moved them into Ranch Style homes of the 1950s and 1960s.


 Admission is free!


1305 8th Street, Anacortes, WA 98221

Open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. / Sunday 1 - 4 p.m. (Closed Monday)

At the Maritime Heritage Center

EXPLORE ANACORTES WATERFRONT HISTORY at the Maritime Heritage Center & our National Landmark - the W.T. Preston 


     New artifacts and vintage movies from along the waterfront have been added to the Maritime Heritage Center exhibit, including mural-size photographs of cannery row and mill row views from 100 years ago plus the six-foot wooden wheel and telegraph of the ferry Vashon. The exhibit provides an overview of shoreline activities, including boat building, mills and canneries, commercial and recreational boating and shipping and transportation over the seas. Admission to this exhibit is free, while guided tours of the W.T. Preston require a ticket ranging from $3 to $5. 

     The Anacortes Maritime Heritage Center and W.T. Preston, our National Historic Landmark steamboat, are located on the Anacortes waterfront at 703 R Avenue.

Anacortes Waterfront Exhibit

An overview of Anacortes' rich waterfront history will include exhibits and artifacts relating to exploration, the fishing and cannery industries, ship building, ferry and Port of Anacortes history, lumber mill operations and the rise of recreational boating in the 20th Century.

The Maritime Heritage Center is next door to the National Historic Landmark W.T. Preston steamboat.  For more information, call (360) 293-1915 or visit

Anacortes Museum – 1305 8th Street, Anacortes, WA  98221 – (360) 293-1915