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City of Langley
PO Box 366
112 Second Street
Langley, WA 98260
(360) 221-4246

City Hall is open
to the public

Monday - Thursday
9 am to 5 pm

by appointment

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Langley History

The City is indebted to the following authors for the information contained in this condensed history: The Langleyites of Whidbey Island - 1899-1921 by William A McGinnis; Langley, the Village by the Sea by Lorna Cherry; The History of Langley, a Hometown Study by Bryan Stelling. And we are grateful to Cynthia Trenshaw for her synthesis below.

Logging truck at the Howard Store
prior to 1909
A logging truck at the Howard Store prior to 1909

Jacob Anthes left his home town of Gros Gerau, Germany at the age of 14 and crossed the Atlantic Ocean in hopes of finding adventure and to avoid registering for compulsory military service. Anthes found his way to Seattle where a businessman hired the young man to be in residence on a wild tract of homestead land on Whidbey Island so that the businessman could ratify the homestead rights to the land. While living there Jacob Anthes explored all of South Whidbey on foot and decided on the Langley area for his home. He was too young to file his own homestead, so in 1881 he purchased 120 acres from John G. Phinney for $100. He built a log house on the property and began cutting cordwood to supply the steamers in Saratoga Passage. He cleared several acres of land and grew vegetables and tons of potatoes which were sold to logging camps. When he turned 21 in 1886, he filed a homestead on 160 acres. In August of 1890 Anthes bought the tract that became the Town of Langley.

Howard's Store
Howard\'s Store at the Southwest corner of First Street and Anthes Ave
Jacob Anthes chose well. The 400 acres of land that Langley occupies has five streams or springs that run into it. It is accessible from all directions and to open water without having to traverse steep hills - that was important when horse teams were used to haul cargo. Various sections of land have proven to be well-suited to growing fruits, berries and vegetables. And the eastern vista from Langley takes in a spectacular view of Saratoga Passage and the Cascade Mountains.

Looking East along First Street
prior to 1909
Looking East along First Street prior to 1909

In the spring of 1890, Jacob Anthes succeeded in convincing several businessmen to form the Langley Land and Improvement Company. Later that year, Jacob conveyed his land, which today incorporates all of the waterfront business area of Langley, to the Company and in April of 1891 the Company officially platted the Town of Langley which was named after its president, Judge J.W. Langley of Seattle.

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