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Waldron Island

San Juan County, Washington

Waldron Island is one of 172 Islands comprising San Juan County, WA. The Waldron post office is located at 1 South Burn Road, Waldron, WA 98297.


Historical Background [1]

Waldron Island is a part of the San Juan Archipelago, located in the Straight of Georgia on the border between northwestern Washington and British Columbia. Before the arrival of white settlers in the 19th century, the island was frequented by the Lummi Indians (and to a lesser extent the Saanich, Songich, Sernihamoos, and Samish) who had seasonal camps on the island for fishing, hunting and gathering. Although European "discovery" of the San Juans dates to the 1790 visit of Vancouver, it was not until the 1841 Wilkes Expedition that Waldron Island was actually given that name. And as late as 1870, the United States census noted only four farmers who had settled on Waldron Island. Indeed, American settlement did not begin in earnest until after 1872 when international arbitration placed Waldron Island (and the rest of the San Juans) firmly under the jurisdiction of the United States.

A federal land survey of Waldron Island was completed in 1874; four years later regular mail service was initiated and the local economy received an additional boost in the 1880s when the Roche Harbor Lime Company was established on nearby San Juan Island. By the late 19th century, the company was a thriving industry that supported hundreds of employees and created a booming market for cordwood, which became a primary cash product for residents of Waldron Island.

Used in the burning of lime, cordwood was shipped in large quantities from the island, and many Waldron families spent most of their time in the woods with axes and saws. Typically, cordwood was stacked at the top of a bluff, then sent down a chute to waiting barges at the beachfront. Among the chief suppliers of cordwood was the family of Friedrich Krumdiack.

  1. Leonard Garfield from information by Dr. William Cook, Krumdiack Homestead, San Juan County, Washington, nomination document, 1993, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.