IOA Anacortes Images of America
Anacortes Images of America
by Bret Lunsford
Located on the north shore of Fidalgo Island in Washington State’s Puget Sound, Anacortes was founded by railroad surveyor Amos Bowman and named in honor of his wife, Anna Curtis; they promoted Anacortes as the “New York of the West.” Thousands of years prior to the 1890s boom and bust, Fidalgo Island was—and still is—home to the Samish and the Swinomish tribes. White settlers arriving in the 1850s established farms and eventually wood mills, salmon canneries, and a vital downtown waterfront, transforming Anacortes into the “salmon-canning capital of the world” by the early 20th century. Japanese and Chinese cannery workers and Croatian and Scandinavian fishermen were among the many immigrants who brought their unique ways to the island. As a port town, Anacortes retained an open and adventuresome spirit, attracting new arrivals and visitors with the stunning natural beauty of the Northwest frontier. Commercial fishermen still ply local waters alongside a thriving maritime industry, whale-watching ecotourism, and a tradition of creative festivity.