Park on Winter Schedule
The American Camp Visitor Center is closed Thanksgiving Day, re-opening Friday. Winter hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Wednesday-Sunday. The English Camp Visitor Center is closed for the winter. Grounds at both units are open from dawn to 11 p.m. daily. More »
Severe Winds Topple American Camp Flagpole
Contact: Mike Vouri, (360) 378-9653
San Juan Island National Historical Park's 90-foot flagpole at American Camp was snapped in half Wednesday night as winds gusting to 80 mph swept the San Juan Islands in northwest Washington downing trees and cutting power to thousands of residents.
The National Weather Service has forecast continued high winds with at least two major events expected in the next 48 hours. Park maintenance crews are at work clearing downed trees and securing the park's six historic structures.
The pole, which flies a 12 X 25-foot U.S. flag during summer months, had been returned to working order at great expense in June after being inoperable for more than a year. The pole is a replica of one that towered over American Camp during the joint military occupation of the island with the British Royal Marines from 1860 to 1874. It also was used as a watch tower during the American Civil when American Camp stood sentinel on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the approach to Puget Sound.
The park in 2005 replaced the upper spar, but a defective pulley in 2008 necessitated cutting the halyard, which could not be replaced until 2009 when the grounds could accommodate a mobile crane.
The park also in June 2009 installed a 35-foot Hudson's Bay Company flagpole--about a hundred yards south--to replace an 74-foot pole that had been snapped off 12 feet above ground during a similar windstorm in 2003. The new pole has thus far withstood the weather.
Did You Know?
Capt. Geoffrey Phipps Hornby of HMS Tribune refused Governor James Douglas’s orders to land Royal Marines on San Juan Island realizing that his opposite, Capt. George Pickett, would open fire. The policy of the Royal Navy was only to fire if fired upon. More...