Langley, Washington

Coordinates: 48°2′12.92″N 122°24′30.6″W / 48.0369222°N 122.408500°W / 48.0369222; -122.408500
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Main Street in Langley
Main Street in Langley
Official seal of Langley
"The Village by the Sea"
Location of Langley in Washington
Location of Langley in
Coordinates: 48°2′12.92″N 122°24′30.6″W / 48.0369222°N 122.408500°W / 48.0369222; -122.408500
CountryUnited States
IncorporatedFebruary 26, 1913
 • TypeMayor-council government with 5 council members
 • MayorScott Chaplin
 • City1.58 sq mi (4.09 km2)
 • Land1.01 sq mi (2.61 km2)
 • Water0.57 sq mi (1.48 km2)
 • Metro
26.2 sq mi (67.86 km2)
0–90 ft (0–27.7 m)
 • City1,035
 • Estimate 
 • Density1,130.95/sq mi (436.67/km2)
 • Metro
Time zoneUTC-8 (PST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP code
Area code360 564
Telephone exchanges221, 321, 331, 341, 730
FIPS code53-38355[4]
GNIS feature ID1512376[5]
Annual budget2012, approximately $5.5 million
WebsiteCity of Langley
Downtown Langley from Second Street

Langley (Lushootseed: sc̓q̓abac)[6][7][8] is a city in Island County, Washington, United States. It sits at the south end of Whidbey Island, overlooking the Saratoga Passage. The city's population was 1,035 at the 2010 census, while the ZIP Code Tabulation Area (ZCTA) for Langley's post office had a population of 4,878.[2] Langley proper only covers 0.8 square miles (2.1 km2), but its ZCTA extends for 26.20 square miles (67.9 km2).[2]

Langley has been home to the Snohomish people since time immemorial. For centuries, people came to the site of Langley to camp during the summer months, and there was a village nearby at Sandy Point (Lushootseed: č̓əč̓ɬqs), which, as of 1792, was inhabited by about 200 people; however, the Snohomish were removed to the Tulalip Reservation in the late 1800s, and the village was abandoned. The modern settlement of Langley was founded in the 1890s by Jacob Anthes, and the town was incorporated in 1913.

Langley is served by South Whidbey Fire/Emergency Medical Services, the Langley Police Department, and South Whidbey School District #206; the school district offices are located there.



Indigenous peoples, namely the Snohomish people, have inhabited south Whidbey Island since time immemorial.[9] Langley is known in the Lushootseed language as sc̓q̓abac,[a] meaning "gooseberry bush."[6][7]

The site of Langley was a camping spot used during clam harvesting in the summer months.[8] Nearby, there was a village of the dəgʷasx̌abš, a Snohomish band, approximately one mile east of Langley on Sandy Point (Lushootseed: č̓əč̓ɬqs).[b][6][7][8] This village had a large potlatch house, which brought visitors, even as distant as the Samish, during festivities.[9]

For centuries, warfare was uncommon in Puget Sound, and mainly retaliatory in nature. The main dangers to the Snohomish at the time were the Haida and other Northwest Coast peoples, who traveled in large war canoes from the far north to raid and pillage along the southern coasts.[10]

In the 18th and 19th centuries, smallpox epidemics rocked the Northwest Coast, killing 90 percent of the population. In 1792, the village at č̓əč̓ɬqs was seen by Joseph Whidbey, who noted that the population seemed to be about 200 people.[9] Later, the village would be abandoned in the late 1800s after the removal of the Snohomish people to the Tulalip Reservation.

American settlement[edit]

Langley was founded in the 1890s by Jacob Anthes,[11] and was named for J.W. Langley of Seattle.[12] In 1902, Anthes built a logger bunkhouse that still stands in the downtown core (now functioning as the South Whidbey Historical Society Museum).[13] Langley was officially incorporated on February 26, 1913.

In the late 1900s, a number of 4H rabbits escaped their enclosures at the Island County Fair and went on to thrive as a large feral population initially residing around the county fairgrounds and later spreading throughout Langley and south Whidbey Island. In the 2010s the rabbits became a controversial issue in local politics, with citizens and groups advocating for public policy positions from removal and relocation to eradication. Some favored controlling the rabbit population using raptors, while others advocated for a more lenient position of community acceptance.[14][15][16][17]

The Olympic Club[edit]

The Dog House was opened in 1908 as an elite gentlemen's club called "The Olympic Club". However, on opening night the founder realized that he didn't have enough money to pay the entertainers, so he left town with all the money.[18] Over the years, the building has acted as host to many businesses.

During the Prohibition era, the building was host to underground boxing and wrestling matches which were illegal on the mainland.

When Prohibition ended, the club became a public bar, and operated as a restaurant and bar until its closure in 2008.[19] The Clyde Theatre began in the top floor of this building.

Government and politics[edit]

The Dog House, photo courtesy of the South Whidbey Historical Society

The City of Langley operates under a mayor–council government. The mayor and city council members are elected for four-year terms. The city council enacts ordinances and resolutions, holds public hearings, receives citizen comments, authorizes payment of city funds, approves contracts, and creates committees and boards to assist in the operation of city government. The city council meets on the first and third Monday of each month in City Hall at 5:30pm. The mayor presides over council meetings and is responsible for the administration of city government.

The current mayor is Scott Chaplin, elected by the city council in 2021[20] to replace the former mayor, Tim Callison, who resigned.[21]

Langley is also served by a sewage treatment facility on Coles Road, operated by the city's Public Works Department.[22]

Paull Schell, the former mayor of Seattle, was an influence on city politics in the 90s and 2000s, constructing the Inn at Langley.[23]

Langley Marina[edit]

In January 2009, the City of Langley transferred ownership of the Langley Marina to the Port of South Whidbey.[24] The small boat harbor consists of 41 slips and 330 feet of linear moorage that can accommodate vessels up to 190 feet (57.6 meters).

Facilities include restrooms and showers, water and 110v 20, 30, 50, and 100 amp power at the docks, a floating pump out station, and a boat launch. No fuel is available.[25]

Services & Facilities[edit]

  • Vessel moorage
  • Restrooms & showers
  • Beach
  • Fishing[26]


Langley is in the South Whidbey School District, which has been in declining in attendance over the last two decades.

Home of the Cougars[edit]

Langley Middle School.

The first school constructed in Langley, the original Langley High School and later the Langley Middle School after the new High School was constructed – home of the Cougars – closed permanently in 2017 and is now managed by local nonprofits and companies.[27] There are two time capsules buried next to the Middle School flagpole, the next one scheduled to be opened in the year 2055, buried in 2005.

The main building has been converted into an artistic community classroom, known as the South Whidbey Community Center.[28]

The gym has been converted into a CrossFit studio.[29] The football field and track and field area are still maintained by the Community Center, and the science building is now home to the Veteran's Resource Center of South Whidbey.[30]

Whidbey Children's Theatre is housed in the former school auditorium.[30]

The library is now home to the Whidbey Dance Theatre and the Island Dance Studio.[30]

High School[edit]

The high school, home of the Eagles, absorbed grades 7–8 with the closure of the middle school in 2017. Grades 7-12 are now housed at the high school.

Elementary School[edit]

The home of the Dolphins and the home of the Orcas, constructed next door to one another, downsized and have now been merged into a singular entity, still occupying some classrooms in both campuses. Grades K – 6 are housed at the elementary school campus.


Langley Library, 104 2nd Street

The Langley Library is located in a historic building constructed in 1923. This 100-year old public library became a branch of the Sno-Isle Libraries system in 2010. The 3,600 sq ft (330 m2) building was temporarily closed on 17 February 2024 for remodeling. The project estimated to cost $4 million envisages improvements to the accessibility and energy efficiency while retaining the period appearance. About 1,400 sq ft (130 m2) will be added to the lower level. During the project execution of 9-12 months, the library is temporarily located in the South Whidbey Community Center.[31][32][33]


Mystery Weekend is a yearly mystery game event occurring during the last weekend in February. A fake newspaper story is run in the South Whidbey Record or in a fake newspaper that can be purchased from the Visitor & Information Center, detailing the persons involved and instructing players to seek out characters played by local residents.[34]

The Welcome the Whales Festival and parade is held at the beginning of April each year.

The Djangofest NW Music Festival is held in September each year. This five-day festival celebrates the Romani jazz style of Django Reinhardt, and features workshops, concerts, and impromptu jam sessions around town.

The Whidbey Island Area Fair is held in July at the Island County Fairgrounds in Langley. The original Island County Fair Association was formed in 1912, predating the incorporation of Langley.[35]

Choochokam was an event that ran for annually in the town for 41 years, before funding ceased. Local groups are discussing how to bring this festival back.[36]


Langley is located at 48°2′13″N 122°24′31″W / 48.03694°N 122.40861°W / 48.03694; -122.40861 (48.036922, -122.408500).[37]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.08 square miles (2.80 km2), all of it land.[38]


Historical population
2019 (est.)1,140[3]10.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[39]

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 1,035 people, 555 households, and 271 families residing in the city. The population density was 958.3 inhabitants per square mile (370.0/km2). There were 678 housing units at an average density of 627.8 per square mile (242.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 94.1% White, 0.1% African American, 0.6% Native American, 1.6% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.7% from other races, and 2.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 3.2% of the population.

Of the 555 households, 16.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.1% were married couples living together, 7.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 2.2% had a male householder with no wife present, and 51.2% were non-families. 43.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 23.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.86 and the average family size was 2.51.

The median age in the city was 57 years. 14% of residents were under the age of 18; 3.4% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 14.4% were from 25 to 44; 39.8% were from 45 to 64; and 28.4% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 40.9% male and 59.1% female.

2000 census[edit]

As of the 2000 census,[4] there were 959 people, 486 households, and 268 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,165.9 people per square mile (451.6/km2). There were 542 housing units at an average density of 658.9 per square mile (255.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 96.25% White, 0.31% African American, 0.42% Native American, 0.52% Asian, 0.42% from other races, and 2.09% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.88% of the population.

There were 486 households, out of which 24.3% included children under the age of 18, 40.9% were married couples living together, 12.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 44.7% were non-families. 39.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 21.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.97 and the average family size was 2.61.

19.7% of the population was under the age of 18, 5.8% from 18 to 24, 15.7% from 25 to 44, 35.5% from 45 to 64, and 23.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 49 years. For every 100 females, there were 76.9 males. For every 100 women age 18 and over, there were 72.3 men.

The median income for a household in the city was $34,792, and the median income for a family was $51,563. Men had a median income of $41,750 versus $30,125 for women. The per capita income for the city was $24,940. About 5.2% of families and 10.6% of the population were below the poverty threshold, including 10.7% of those under age 18 and 6.6% of those age 65 or over.


  1. ^ also spelled sc̓əq̓abac or c̓əq̓abac
  2. ^ meaning "ripped nose"


  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 19, 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places in Washington: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2019". United States Census Bureau. May 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  5. ^ "Langley". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior.
  6. ^ a b c Bates, Dawn; Hess, Thom; Hilbert, Vi (1994). Lushootseed Dictionary. Seattle: University of Washington Press. pp. 53, 64, 71. ISBN 978-0-295-97323-4. OCLC 29877333.
  7. ^ a b c Waterman, T. T. (2001). sdaʔdaʔ gʷəɬ dibəɬ ləšucid ʔacaciɬtalbixʷ - Puget Sound Geography. Lushootseed Press. p. 364. ISBN 979-8750945764.
  8. ^ a b c Tweddell, Colin E. (August 1953). A Historical and Ethnological Study of the Snohomish Indian People: A Report Specifically Covering Their Aboriginal and Continued Existence, and Their Effective Occupation of a Definable Territory. Coast Salish and Western Washington Indians. Vol. II. New York & London: Garland Publishing (published 1974). p. 141.
  9. ^ a b c "Native Peoples". South Whidbey Historical Society. Retrieved November 14, 2023.
  10. ^ Suttles, Wayne; Lane, Barbara (1990). Southern Coast Salish. Handbook of North American Indians. Vol. 7. Smithsonian Institution. pp. 485–502.
  11. ^ "History of Langley". Retrieved December 17, 2020.
  12. ^ Meany, Edmond S. (1923). Origin of Washington geographic names. Seattle: University of Washington Press. p. 142.
  13. ^ "The South Whidbey Historical Society Museum Logger Bunk House | South Whidbey Historical Society".
  14. ^ "Hundreds of Bunnies Have Overrun This Washington City". NBC News. September 17, 2015.
  15. ^ "'It's not cute anymore': Bunny brouhaha as Langley is overrun with rabbits". October 7, 2015.
  16. ^ Rabbits raid Langley City Hall garden, but overall population appears to be on the decline, South Whidbey Record, April 4, 2017, accessed September 13, 2019.
  17. ^ Langley's rabbit discussion returns; Port weighs options, South Whidbey Record, January 13, 2018, accessed September 13, 2019.
  18. ^ "Historical Langley – 230 First St". Retrieved July 16, 2023.
  19. ^ "PCAD – Olympic Building, Langley, WA". Retrieved July 16, 2023.
  20. ^ "Langley council picks Chaplin for mayor over fellow council member". June 22, 2021. Retrieved October 6, 2021.
  21. ^ ""Langley mayor moving outside city, resigning"". May 18, 2021. Retrieved October 6, 2021.
  22. ^ "Langley Wastewater Treatment Facility". Retrieved July 16, 2023.
  23. ^ "Whidbey Island beach home is new and already full of memories". The Seattle Times. May 22, 2015. Retrieved July 16, 2023.
  24. ^ "South Whidbey Harbor at Langley". Port of South Whidbey. Retrieved January 5, 2024.
  25. ^ "Harbor at Langley". Retrieved July 16, 2023.
  26. ^ "Home". Port of South Whidbey. Retrieved July 16, 2023.
  27. ^ "Goodbye Langley Middle School; board votes to shutter school indefinitely". South Whidbey Record. January 27, 2017. Retrieved July 16, 2023.
  28. ^ "About the South Whidbey Community Center". South Whidbey Community Center. Retrieved July 16, 2023.
  29. ^ "South Island Crossfit: Coaching and Community". South Whidbey Community Center. Retrieved January 5, 2024.
  30. ^ a b c "Campus Map". South Whidbey Community Center. Retrieved July 16, 2023.
  31. ^ "Langley Library". Sno-Isle Libraries. February 6, 2024. Retrieved February 17, 2024.
  32. ^ Parker, J. (November 17, 2023). "Langley Library Remodel Project Overview". Sno-Isle Libraries. Retrieved February 17, 2024.
  33. ^ Erickson, K. (January 30, 2024). "Construction set to begin on Langley Library". South Whidbey Record. Retrieved February 17, 2024.
  34. ^ "Mystery Weekend 2018". March 2017. Retrieved August 18, 2017.
  35. ^ Whidbey Island Area Fair
  36. ^ "Two groups look at reviving Choochokam". June 21, 2019.
  37. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  38. ^ "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 2, 2012. Retrieved December 19, 2012.
  39. ^ United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved August 31, 2014.

External links[edit]