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Friday Harbor Town Council tours the San Juan Historical Museum today; first collective look at improvements being made

There will be no cannon salute, but history will be made today when the Friday Harbor Town Council tours the San Juan Historical Museum at 12:20 p.m. The tour is open to the public. The museum hosts several community events, including this military encampment in May 2009. - Richard Walker / May 2009
There will be no cannon salute, but history will be made today when the Friday Harbor Town Council tours the San Juan Historical Museum at 12:20 p.m. The tour is open to the public. The museum hosts several community events, including this military encampment in May 2009.
— image credit: Richard Walker / May 2009

A sage once said of the importance of history, “You can’t know where you’re going unless you know where you’ve been.”

The Friday Harbor Town Council takes a walk on that road Thursday, proclaiming May Historic Preservation Month, appointing a member of the Historic Preservation Review Board and touring the San Juan Historical Museum.

The council meets at noon today in the Town Hall Council Chambers. After the proclamation and appointment, the council will recess at 12:15 p.m. and move to the historical museum, 405 Price St., “for the purpose of a tour of the museum and grounds at 12:20 p.m.” The meeting will be adjourned there after the tour, which is open to the public.

The tour is designed to familiarize town officials with the museum. It’s a repository for island artifacts and records that tell the story of island history, from pre-settlement to present day.

It will also be the council’s first collective look at improvements made to the museum since the Land Bank bought a historical preservation and conservation easement on the property. The purchase was endorsed by the council two years earlier and was completed this year. Proceeds from the sale are being used to preserve the old farmstead as open space for the public, and to restore and maintain the site's heritage buildings.

Museum officials see the museum as a community gathering place – a place of learning about island history, a venue for community events, and place to rest and enjoy the park-like grounds.

The museum has reroofed the 1895 county jail, put a new foundation under the 1894 King Farmhouse, and the old farmhouse has been painted. Restoration to the carriage house is next.

The historical museum is the last remnant of the once expansive 445-acre James King farm. The grounds include the 1894 farmhouse, carriage house and root cellar; the 1891 Scribner Cabin and the 1895 county jail, both of which were relocated to the museum grounds; and the 1980 barn, built on the site of the original barn to house a collection of early farm equipment. The barn also contains an exhibit of equipment from the Friday Harbor Fire Department's first 100 years; the exhibit was curated by former fire chief Rick Galer.

The museum co-authored the book "Friday Harbor" in time for the town's centennial, and is co-authoring a second book, “San Juan Island.” The historical society hosts several community events during the year, among them the Kiwanis Club's Pig War Picnic on July 4, Island Rec's summer Music on the Lawn concert series, and the Old-Fashioned Holiday Celebration in December. The society also hosts exhibits and presentations related to San Juan Island history.

The Town Council meets again at 5:30 p.m., in the Town Hall Council Chambers. The mayor will issue a proclamation recognizing National Bike Safety Month. There will be a public hearing on a conditional use permit requested by Danmor, LLC. for a mural on the Ace Hardware Building.

The council will discuss preliminary plat approval of a 14 single-family lot subdivision known as "Country Village Estates Phase 2," located on the north side of Lampard Road.

PeaceHealth representatives will make a presentation regarding the status of the Peace Island Medical Center project.

The council will vote on a resolution authorizing private use on Fridays of a portion of First Street by San Juan Island Chamber of Commerce for a street market.

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