#8 NW Front Street
Coupeville, Washington

Whidbey Mercantile / Coupeville Cash And Carry / Wiley's Service / Sealey's Tavern / Toby's Tavern

This building is one of the early ones. It has had an interesting history and many stories are told of its past.

c.1875 - Built by John Robertson as a general store "Whidbey Mercantile"

1890 or 1892 - Robertson sold the building to Thomas Watts Calhoun (Calhoun & Sherwood)

1896 - A.B. Coates & Co. in charge.

Whidbey Mercantile
Horse and cart by General Store with A.B. Coats, Selma Coates, Joseph B Libbey, and Quinten McBlain ~1903.
Courtesy: Island County Historical Museum, Coupeville

Whidbey Mercantile
Whidbey Mercantile with Elva Hesselgrave serving.
Courtesy: Island County Historical Museum, Coupeville

1904 - Coates sold to Bacon and Hallock

From Robertson's Wharf
This picture is shows Roberson's wharf on the left with the Store (white building) at the end. The sign on the building says "The Cash & Carry".
Courtesy: Island County Historical Museum, Coupeville

1907 - Partnership split - A.D. Hallock, sole owner

1909 - A.D. Hallock bought real property

1920 - Hallock sold to Thomas C. Clark

1928 - Clark sold to Seattle Merchandise Association. Later Seattle Merchandise Association sold to Wylie Hesselgrave, Sr.

In the 1930's - West half was a gas station / plumbing shop, "Wylie's Service" run by Wiley Hesselgrave. Wallace Benson ran the "Coupeville Cash and Carry" on the east side.

Cash & Carry and Willy's Service
Cash & Carry and Willy's Service with three gas pumps
Courtesy Ilah Engom from her private collection

19?? - Victor Sealey purchased from Hesselgrave and converted it all into "Sealey's Tavern".

In 1944 after the Central Hotel burned down for the second and last time, the Tavern sign and the ornate bar were moved from the hotel to "Sealy's Tavern" where the bar can still be seen (and used!)

Sealy's Tavern and Willy's Service
Sealy's Tavern with the Tavern sign from the destroyed Central Hotel and Willy's Service with one gas pump
Courtesy Ilah Engom from her private collection
Sealy's Tavern and Library
Same as above but showing the Public Library (destroyed later) on the right.
Courtesy Ilah Engom from her private collection

Sealy's Tavern
This picture hangs in Toby's. It shows the result of a bust during prohibition
Courtesy: Island County Historical Museum, Coupeville
Sealy's Tavern
Sealy's Tavern in the 1960s
Courtesy: Island County Historical Museum, Coupeville

1971 - Hank "Toby" Tabach purchased and changed the name to "Toby's Tavern".

Sealy's Tavern
Toby's Tavern

1978 - Hank Tabach sold to Don & Michelle Swerdfeger

Sealy's Tavern
Toby's Tavern had a false front added for the movie "War of the Roses" and a temporary name of "Catch & Fry" in 1989. It was also used for "Practical Magic" in 1998

1980 - Don and Michelle Swerdfeger sold to Steve and Jan Holmes and Al Luneman

1989 - John Rodriguey purchased and later bought Al Luneman's share

Toby's Tavern
Toby's Tavern from the west end of Front Street

Toby's Tavern Bar
The bar that once was in the Central hotel before it burned in 1944.
Source: The internet
Toby's Tavern
Toby's Tavern 2013. Toby's Tavern
Toby's Tavern (painted red) at sunset during a high tide. Toby's Tavern
Toby's Tavern. Toby's Tavern
Toby's Tavern during renovation June 2015. Courtesy: Robert Y Elphick

For a much more detailed and interesting history of this building complete with quotes from the Oral History Project, see the one compiled and written by Judy Lynn on this website.

* 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. I 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