The state's official bird is the American goldfinch, which is known for its bright yellow color and cheerful song.
San Juan County is located in the Pacific Northwest region of Washington State, consisting of a collection of islands known as the San Juan Islands. The history of the county stretches back thousands of years, with evidence of human habitation by indigenous peoples dating back at least 8,000 years. The islands were home to various Native American tribes, including the Coast Salish peoples, who relied on the abundance of marine resources for their sustenance.

In 1791, Spanish explorer Francisco de Eliza named the islands after himself, calling them the "Archipelago de San Juan." The Spanish presence in the region was short-lived, as the territory was later claimed by the British in the early 1800s. The Oregon Treaty of 1846 resolved competing territorial claims and established the international boundary between the United States and British North America (now Canada) through the islands.

San Juan County experienced a significant boom in the mid-1800s with the discovery of valuable natural resources, including limestone deposits used in the construction of the Washington State Capitol building. The islands saw an influx of settlers, including families of European and Chinese descent, who established farming and fishing communities. The county's economy also relied on the timber industry, with logging operations providing employment and fueling local growth.

The 20th century brought changes to San Juan County, with improved transportation infrastructure connecting the islands to the mainland and the rise of tourism as a major industry. The natural beauty and recreational opportunities of the San Juan Islands attracted visitors from across the country, leading to the development of hotels, restaurants, and recreational facilities. Today, San Juan County thrives as a popular tourist destination, known for its stunning landscapes, diverse wildlife, and vibrant arts and culture scene.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of San Juan County, Washington.

  • Pre-1850s: San Juan County is inhabited by the indigenous Coast Salish peoples.
  • 1850s: European settlers begin arriving in the San Juan Islands.
  • 1873: San Juan County is officially established in Washington Territory.
  • 1898: The first lighthouse is built on Lime Kiln Point in San Juan County.
  • 1909: San Juan County sees a boom in population as the Rosario Resort opens.
  • 1914-1918: San Juan County experiences a decline in population due to World War I.
  • 1938: The Friday Harbor Airport is built in San Juan County.
  • 1941-1945: San Juan County is affected by World War II, with the military presence increasing.
  • 1963: San Juan County becomes a popular destination for tourists and retirees.
  • 1996: The San Juan Islands National Monument is established, protecting the natural environment.
  • 2013: San Juan County celebrates its 140th anniversary.