#20 NW Front Street
Coupeville, Washington

F.A. Bartlett / Union Building / Snacks Shack/ Front Street Grill

1871 - F. A. Bartlett house built. A wharf on the east side was probably built at the same time.

Bartlett Wharf
View East along Penn Cove of the Bartlett Wharf, and the Robertson Wharf beyond (both now destroyed).
This photograph was taken in 1895.
Courtesy: Island County Historical Museum, Coupeville
view from Central Hotel
View from the roof of the Central Hotel (Burned in 1945) of the Trader's Wharf, Union Store / F.A. Bartlett (Now Destroyed), and the Sill House that had been turned into a Meat Market (later moved to Coveland Street)
This photograph was taken between 1905, when the wharf was built, and 1916, when Benson's Confectionary was built at #16.
Courtesy: Island County Historical Museum, Coupeville
View of the R.M.Hastie at the Bartlett House/Union Store wharf with the current Coupeville Wharf in the background.
Courtesy: Lillian Huffstettler private collection

1889 - Coupeville Mill Co. was built. Its postition was about where the Front Street Grill is located now at #20 Front Street.

Wood Mill
Coupeville Mill with Abram L. Alexander, Horace Holbrook, J.B. Libbey & Edward May in front.
Courtesy: Island County Historical Museum, Coupeville

1907 - Charles Terry sold the Dryer and Mill to Chancey Wildey who then sold it to James Gillespie.

1908 - Carl and Laurin Gillespie, sons of the butcher next door (see #24 Front Street on this site), opened a livery stable, renting out horses and carriages, and later cars.

Livery and Stable
Gillespie Brothers Livery and Feed Stable. The building on the right is the converted Mill
Courtesy: Island County Historical Museum, Coupeville

Quoted from "A Particular Friend - Penn's Cove" by Jimmie Jean Cook.

In 1877 Pearson purchased from O. H. Morgan the site on Front Street known as the "F. A. Bartlett house built in 1871 on the north end of Frances Fay's donation claim within 6 feet of the top of bluff." The Bartletts were merchants in Port Townsend. This was the store of the Island Protection Union Association and was commonly referred to as the Union Store. Morgan ran the store and was the postmaster for Coupeville.

Alvah D. Blowers ran the store for Pearson until they entered into a partnership in 1883. The agreement between them was for Pearson to invest the property, which included warehouse, wharf and store valued at $10,445 while Blowers was to place his experience against said capital for one year, gains to be divided equally at the end of the year. The agreement lasted just one year. In 1885 a notice asked that all persons knowing themselves to be indebted to the late firm of Pearson & Blowers settle up their accounts before January 15th. The ad appeared in the February 12th issue.

An article in 1884 by Editor E. W. Raymond stated that Mr. Pearson, one of our prosperous merchants, has recently completed a very fine wharf--500 feet long--and the largest steamers that plied the Sound could land at any stage of the tide. He carried an 'immense' amount of goods and under the management of the very popular Mr. Raymond was reaping in the farmers' money very fast. People could purchase anything from a needle to an anchor.

The store property was leased and later sold to Thomas W. and Samuel T. Calhoun who were doing business as the Coupevitle Wharf Company. Blowers became senior partner with Albert Kineth and their store down the street was a competitor. The building, warehouse and wharf are now gone.

#20 Gap
The gap after the Union Store and the Sill house had gone.
From a contemporary local newspaper

A fast food shack was built in the gap and housed a number of different vendors at various times. Vendors sold sandwiches, fajitas, corn dogs, and coffee. None were very successful and the shack then sat empty for about a decade.

*From an interview by Judy Lynn with Christopher Panek in 2009.

Judy: What do you remember about Front Street?

Christopher: I remember when the Giamonocos built that little Gazebo across from Mariner’s Court for a fish market. They sold it to a guy who changed the name to Adams Rib. I don’t remember what his name was. I do remember his last day in business was a Saturday of festival. It rained and I remember him sitting in there on a whole ton of inventory that never sold.

Fast food shack
Fast food shack Between the KingFisher Bookstore and the Windjammer from the Coupeville Wharf
Courtesy: Robert Y Elphick - 2003
Fast food shack
Fast food shack on the left of the picture.
Courtesy: Robert Y Elphick - 2003
Fast food shack
Fast food shack seen on Front Street from the air in 2006.

2010 The Front Street Grill was built and opened in July.

Quoted from Whidbey News Times.

The two story building’s odd shape can be attributed to the shoreline’s ordinary high-water mark, which determined the shape of the lot. The restaurant seats 66 people in a 1400 square foot space with a 200 square foot kitchen. The second floor houses a condo that tourists can rent.

Front Street Grill in 2013
Front Street Grill. Given two facades but actually one building with the dinning on the left and kitchen on the right. There is an apartment upstairs.
Courtesy: Robert Y Elphick - 2013
Front Street Grill in 2013
Front Street Grill.
Courtesy: Robert Y Elphick - 2015

* All the interviews are extracted from the Judy Lynn's Oral History Project. Judy Lynn interviewed everyone she could find who had any memories of the history of Front Street. For more information on the project contact the Whidbey Island Historical Musem, Coupeville.

The e-book Front Street, Coupeville - An Oral History by Judy Lynn contains all the interviews. It can be purchased for $9.99 at Amazon.com for Kindle application or device or from the Apple Store for iBooks applications. Proceeds go to the Island County Historical Society.

Oral History Cover