American and English Camps Visitor Centers Open Labor Day
The American and English camps visitor centers will be open on the Labor Day holiday, September 1. Call 360-378-2240, ext. 2226 or 360-378-4409 for information.
English Camp Visitor Contact Station on Winter Schedule
The English Camp visitor contact station in the Royal Marine Barracks is closed for the season, starting September 2. Grounds are open daily from dawn to 11 p.m.
American Camp Visitor Center on Winter Schedule
The American Camp visitor center is open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily from September 2 to June 6, 2015. Grounds remain open daily from dawn to 11 p.m. Telephone 360-378-2240, ext. 2227 or 2226 for information. More »
Park To Replace Lower Story of English Camp Blockhouse
Contact: Mike Vouri, (360) 378-2240, ext. 2227
Visitors and San Juan Islanders will have an opportunity this summer to see how log structures were built on the frontier when San Juan Island National Historical Park maintenance crews replace the lower story of the Royal Marine blockhouse at English Camp.
Historians believe this blockhouse is an exact copy of the fortification brought to San Juan Island from Fort Bellingham by Capt. George Pickett in 1859 when the U.S. Army garrison was shifted en masse during the Pig War crisis.Each has an upper story skewed 45-degree s to repel attacks from all directions.
However, the buildings at both camps were primarily used as guardhouses with the guards occupying the lower floor and the prisoners in narrow cells upstairs. The only difference is that the American Camp blockhouse was fashioned from milled lumber.
The upper-story logs (hidden by siding) are authentic, but because of tidal action, the log base was replaced wholly in 1970 and partially (the bottom 10 logs) in 1995. Maintenance crews will notch and assemble the logs for the new lower structure at the north end of the English Camp parade ground, according to Ken Arzarian, park maintenance foreman. The logs will then be coded and the structure disassembled. The upper story will be raised and supported by jacks and cribbing while the current lower story is removed log by log.
The new structure will then be re-erected literally from the ground up, utilizing the same concrete vault installed by the national park Service in 1970, Arzarian said.
Did You Know?
The island marble butterfly was once thought extinct until it was spotted on the American Camp prairie in 1998. The park, in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service actively monitors the butterfly. More...