Around Town

Foundation creates fund for centennial
Islanders will celebrate Friday Harbor’s unique history and the San Juan Island Community Foundation is poised to support this historical event.

The foundation’s Board of Directors has created a designated Centennial Fund to support local non-profits working on projects and events related to the anticipated Town of Friday Harbor centennial celebration in 2009.

The Centennial Fund will help focus donors on ways they can support this community-wide historic milestone.

“There are a growing number of projects and grant requests being brought to the Community Foundation related to the Centennial. We decided to create this fund to emphasize and coordinate the need for philanthropic support,” said Barbara von Gehr, foundation treasurer and SJICF coordinator for arts and culture.

A wide variety of activities are being planned and include a birthday celebration for the town’s 100th birthday on Feb. 9, 2009. Other programs and events are being developed by the Town Centennial Commission, the Community Theater, the Town Historical Preservation Review Board, the San Juan Island Library, the San Juan Historical Museum and Skagit Valley College.

To learn more and/or contribute to the Centennial Fund, call 378-1001 or visit the Community Foundation office in the Technology Center, Mullis Street, Friday Harbor.

Learn about S.J.’s Civil War connections
Join National Park historian Mike Vouri for a PowerPoint slide presentation exploring the connections between San Juan Island and the American Civil War, Sunday, 2 p.m., in the English Camp barracks.

The program is free. A golf cart is available to transport disabled persons to the parade ground and back from the parking area. Call 378-2902 or 378-4409 for more special access information.

Many of the key American players in the Pig War, on and off island, went on to serve in the American Civil War in both Confederate and Union ranks. For some, the war brought fame, promotion and long careers.

For others, it brought death, destruction, lasting heartache ... and legend.

The most obvious name is George Pickett, who joined the Confederate Army and led his division at the Battle of Gettysburg. But other campaigns involving San Juan officers included the Battles of Mobile Bay, Brandy Station, Five Forks and the destruction of USS Merrimack at the Gosport Naval Yard at the onset of the war.

Throughout the war, American Camp remained an active U.S. Army installation, garrisoned entirely by regular Army soldiers who rotated between Northwest Washington and the battlefields of the East.

Vouri discusses latest book at San Juan library
National Park historian and author Mike Vouri discusses his latest book, “The Pig War,” Saturday at 7 p.m. in the San Juan Island Library.

There will be a slideshow and book signing. The event is co-sponsored by the library and Griffin Bay Bookstore.

“The Pig War” is a photo history published by Arcadia Publishing and is part of the “Images of America” series. Every page is full of photos, many of which have never been published before.   

San Juan Island is well known for its splendid vistas, saltwater shore, quiet woodlands and orca whales. But it was also here, in 1859, that the United States and Great Britain nearly went to war over a dead pig.

On July 18 of that year, Capt. George E. Pickett (later to lead the famous charge climaxing the Battle of Gettysburg) landed his company of 63 soldiers on the southern end of San Juan Island to protect U.S. citizens from the British government after an American settler, Lyman

Cutlar, had shot a pig belonging to the British-owned Hudson’s Bay Company. What was really at stake was the possession of the entire San Juan archipelago, held in dispute between the two nations since 1846. By the time the crisis was settled, nearly 500 U.S. soldiers and three British warships would stand off on Griffin Bay. It would then require

Twelve more years of joint military occupation before the international boundary was settled and the San Juans became U.S. territory.

County Fair premium book is online
This year, the San Juan County Fair Premium Book will be available online.

The Fair Board decided to not distribute a printed version of the book in order to reduce costs and waste. It will be available on the fair Web site where exhibitors and fairgoers may access all necessary premium information and other fair related news.

A special section related to the fair will be published in The Journal, The Islands’ Sounder and The Islands’ Weekly the week of the fair.

The premium book is in a downloadable format and divided into two sections: Open and Youth, and 4-H.

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