I first heard about Oak Harbor, Washington when my sister, Caryl Reed and her then husband lived there while he was stationed at the nearby naval station at Whidbey Island. Now that my daughter, Amy Royce, her husband Travis and their kids Shai and Caalab live in the Bellingham area of upstate Washington, Oak Harbor has once again come into range of my radar. Oak Harbor was founded in the 1850s when three settlers staked claims where the city now stands. Martin Taftezon, a shoemaker from Norway; C.W. Sumner from New England; and Ulrich Freund, a Swiss Army officer. Freund retained part of his claim, which today is home to his descendants. The city was incorporated on May 14, 1915, and celebrated it’s 100th anniversary in 2015.
When we visited Caryl, she took us to see one of the prettiest places in the area, known as Deception Pass. You might wonder why it is called Deception Pass. The Pass is actually a strait between the Whidbey and the Fidalgo Islands and is called “Deception” because George Vancouver was mislead by it into thinking that Whidbey Island was a peninsula. However it came to be, Deception Pass, the area is beautiful. There is also a series of 25 trails in the Deception State Park that I am interested in. I am hoping to be able to hike the area on our next visit to see our daughter and her family.
The town of Oak Harbor is Whidbey Island’s largest incorporated city. It is located in Island County. Oak Harbor was named for the Garry Oak trees which grace its skyline. The growth of Oak Harbor was really brought on by two events…the building of Deception Pass Bridge on July 31, 1935, and the completion of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island on September 21, 1942. After that, Oak Harbor grew from a population of 362 in 1935, to 22,954 in 2018. I enjoyed our visit when my sister lived there, and even though our daughter lives further north, Oak Harbor is not too far away for a visit and maybe a hike.