Langley – Historical Buildings
South Whidbey Historical Museum, 312 Second Street
Originally a bunkhouse around the turn of the century, this building was built by one of Langley’s founding fathers, Jacob Anthes, to house his employees. It was later purchased and used as a temporary home by the town’s blacksmith, and was later occupied by the family of another major figure in Langley’s early days, Roderick McLeod. After much scraping, painting, and remodeling, the South Whidbey Historical Museum opened its doors in 1992.
Animal Hospital by the Sea, 114 Second Street
Like so many who come here for short stays, Dr. Donald Purdy, MD, was here as a locum tenens in 1968. When the doctor he was temporarily replacing decided not to return, Dr. Purdy stayed. He single handedly took care of Langley residents until 1976. The clinic closed in 2008, and the building housed an artist cooperative until 2012. The building that initially nursed the town’s people turned its attention to the wilder side of Langley and is now an animal hospital.
Langley City Hall, 112 Second Street
What is now City Hall was originally the New Masonic Temple. The Temple project started in 1926 with a lot donated by founding father Jacob Anthes. Three years later in 1929 the “building committee” was formed to contemplate a future building on the lot. WWII stalled efforts, as the Masons’ funds were shifted into War Bonds. Finally, construction began in 1948. That building was sold to the City of Langley in 1991 and is currently the City Hall location.
Langley Library, 104 Second Street
Although built in 1923, the library took seed in 1916 with the “Ladies Civic Improvement Club.” Later known at the Civic Club, Helen Coe was the driving force behind the library project. (Later, in 1919, Ms. Coe would become the first woman mayor in Langley.) Ms. Coe donated $500 toward the building fund in 1922 – equivalent to 3/4ths of the town’s entire budget at that time. In 1923, the library opened and was dedicated to the “young men of Langley and vicinity who served in the World War.” Not limited to books, the library served as a community hall, meeting place for several local clubs, boards, and city council, as well as a place of service for the Episcopal and Christian Science churches.
Callahan Firehouse Studio, 179 Second Street
The glass blowing studio in the heart of Langley was actually the site of the city’s wooden firehouse around 1953. That structure burned down and was replaced with a concrete block firehouse in 1963. The new firehouse housed “The Beast,” which was a yellow monster of a fire truck, later replaced by the traditional red fire engine. After the fire department was relocated to the new building on Camano Avenue in 2008, Callahan McVay established the studio and gallery you see today.
Machine Shop & Laundromat, 630 Second Street
The looming façade of what is now The Machine Shop and Laundromat was originally the Charles Burk Lumber Company, built in 1944. The site has deep historic roots, since it was originally owned by James Langley, nephew of James Weston Langley, for whom the town was named. In 1971, the business was sold to Phillip and Jean Bjorn who sold building supplies, in addition to lumber. They added a gardening shed, which was later rented to a laundromat entrepreneur. (The entrepreneur latter skipped on his lease leaving a large unpaid water bill, which prompted the city to rewrite its code regarding water/sewer collections!) After a series of various business owners, including an athletic club, frame shop, brewery, bakery, vintage clothes shop, Thai restaurant, show store, and natural foods apothecary the building now houses a pinball arcade and – yes – a laundromat.
Source of information: Langleyhistory.org