Updated in 2022:
An oddity sits in Ebey’s Landing National Historical Preserve in central Whidbey Island, Washington. There was once a dozen, and 4 blockhouses from the mid 1800’s still standing. And you can visit them all. Ebey’s Preserve is a place rich in history.
Two stand close to each other, near the Sunnyside Cemetery, just North of the town of Coupeville. For ease in visiting, park at the overlook parking lot, or just a bit farther in, the lot for the Pratt Preserve (all well marked). Parking is free here.
The Davis Blockhouse is in the cemetery. It was the first one I visited, many years ago.
It sits in the cemetery. Walk quietly, and carefully.
Sit quietly and listen to the history.
The old fireplace, or as the boys called it…the stone couch.
On a foggy morning is best. This blockhouse is open and you can go in.
Just a bit farther West – and within walking distance is the Jacob Ebey Blockhouse (and house). For years it sat on private property belonging to old man Robert Pratt. When Pratt passed away in the late 1990’s his will left his land to his only living relative, who had never met him and lived on the East Coast. The will stipulated that if they sold it, they were to allow it to be bought first by a public group for preservation. Hence, after many years, the Pratt Preserve came to exist as part of the Ebey’s Landing area. It now boasts more trails and those amazing views of the Olympic Mountains across the water. The Ebey Blockhouse has a lot of historical value and it involves fights with the indigenous population, and murder, that occurred on both sides.
It is often kept locked. It is open when the Ebey House next door is open (usually on weekends).
In the heart of Coupeville sits the Alexander Blockhouse, that was moved into town in the 1930’s.
It sits by the museum and is open to going into during the day. Parking is free, and there is a large lot just up the hill by the town library to park in.
Before warned: if you are above 5 foot 5 inches, you will need to stoop down. Not a problem for me……
It is also usually left open to visit.
The fourth blockhouse, the Crockett one, sits outside of town, towards the Coupeville Ferry to Port Townsend. See here for directions. It is open to the public, and free to visit. You will find parking on the side of the road, for a couple of cars. It’s not a busy road, but park carefully.
A very old sign.
It is fenced in, on a small piece of land for the public to use. The large red barn behind is on the Crockett Farm. That is where the body of Issac Ebey was laid to rest after he was killed in a revenge killing in 1857 – and lost his head as well. His body laid in the barn until burial was done, My brother used to work on the farm and avoided that barn always. He’s not a superstitious man, but he’d tell you that a spirit lives in it.
Yet, these blockhouses have stood for over 170+ years and are still quite sturdy. They are well worth adding to a hike in the area – and to visit them all. Bring children, and show them the history of 1855, and find out why life was so brutal and hard then. Don’t deny history. Ever. Even if it is ugly.