History of Warbass Way

With an ambiance of relaxed sophistication, Warbass Way runs along the shoreline at the edge of Friday Harbor.  A lush, vibrant, uniquely private and quiet community, beloved for the ever-changing marine activity, Warbass Way has a significant history all its own.

A well known pioneer in all of Puget Sound country, Captain Ed Warbass first arrived in the Washington Territory in the 1850’s when he become post sutler or storekeeper at Fort San Juan.  He went on to became highly involved in the island community on many levels and was a founding father of Friday Harbor.

Warbass settled on a claim of his own next to the eastern boundary of the town’s quarter section and lived in a small cabin at the water’s edge.  Originally, Harrison Street ran east from town as it does today, but terminated at Ed Warbass’ property per Warbass’ request in an attempt to exile himself from town.  He moved to Orcas Island in 1906 and sold the property to Andrew Newhall of Orcas Island.

A special meeting of the town council was held in July 1913 to discuss the proposed waterfront road south, by the Newhall property.  The road would start at the intersection of Harrison and First, following the same grade around the hill, through and beyond the Newhall property.  Originally known as Permanent Highway 2, in January 1914, the town council voted to spend $200. on the roadway known as the Jensen-Newhall Road and was ultimately renamed Warbass Way.

Ironically, in his attempt to get away from it all, Warbass actually provided access to town from the southeast end of the harbor as his legacy.