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The Washington state capital is Olympia.
Langley Chamber of Commerce.
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The population of Langley is approximately 1,115 (2000), 1035 (2010).
The amount of land area in Langley is 2.051 sq. kilometers.
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Langley location: on the southeast section of Whidbey Island, west of Everett on the mainland. It is one of only three incorporated municipalities on Whidbey, the others being Oak Harbor and Coupeville.
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The geography for Langley is bounded by the waters of Puget Sound on the north. The waterfront extends from the westerly limits of the city for approximately one and one half miles to the eastern limits. Except for Wharf Street, which is level beach land, most of the topography is bluff waterfront. A concrete seawall was built in 1977 which extends for 1,065 feet and stabilizes the high bluff commercial property. This also created a waterfront park area.
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Jacob Anthes left his home town of Gros Gerau, Germany at the age of 14 and crossed the Atlantic Ocean in hopes of finding adventure and to avoid registering for compulsory military service. A Seattle businessman hired the young man to sit on his tract of homestead land in what is now Langley, so that he could ratify the homestead rights. While living there Jacob Anthes explored all of South Whidbey on foot and decided on the Langley area for his home. He was too young to file his own homestead, so in 1881 he purchased 120 acres from John G. Phinney for $100. He built a log house on the property and began cutting cordwood to supply the steamers in Saratoga Passage. He cleared several acres of land and grew vegetables and tons of potatoes which were sold to logging camps. When he turned 21 in 1886, he filed a homestead on 160 acres. In August of 1890 Anthes bought the tract that became the Town of Langley.
In the spring of 1890, Jacob Anthes succeeded in convincing several business men to form the Langley Land and Improvement Company. Later that year, Jacob conveyed his land, which now incorporates all of the waterfront business area of Langley, to the company and in April of 1891 the Improvement Company officially platted the Town of Langley which was named after the company president, Judge J.W. Langley of Seattle.
The company then built a dock at a cost of $5,000 at what is now the intersection of First Street and Anthes. The dock extended 999 feet. Jacob Anthes then built a general store and post office across the street from the dock. He constructed his own home next to the store and constructed a water system by tapping into a creek that ran down the hill past his home. Sternwheelers docked regularly to deliver mail and settlers to the area.
Hard economic times hit the south end of Whidbey Island and many families were leaving their farms. In 1894 after many severe storms, the dock broke up and the big boats stopped coming. Later, however, the Alaska Gold Rush and the development of Elliott Bay promoted an economic boom in the area. A school district was established in 1898 and a schoolhouse built to accommodate the children of the area. In 1899 a road district was also organized and the roads improved in the following years.
In 1902 the Improvement Company deeded all the property back to Anthes for $3,000. Mr. Anthes built a new dock in the Wharf Street area. The new dock was U-shaped and had two driveways with a warehouse at the end in which to store freight. Steamers and tugboats began to use Langley as a port and freight area once again. Business developed and a wide dirt road and a wooden plank sidewalk were built from the dock area up the bluff to the business center.
The dock changed ownership several times and many businesses came and went. In 1913 a group of citizens worked together to incorporate Langley into a self-governing fourth class town. The new town elected F.E. Furman as its first mayor. A fire engine was purchased and a volunteer fire department started. An 8' x 8' jail was constructed with a lean-to on its side to house the fire engine.
It is believed, although not officially confirmed, that Langley was the first municipality in the nation to elect an all women mayor and council. This happened in December of 1919 just shortly after the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote was signed into law. Miss Helen Coe was elected mayor and the feminine council immediately set to work "cleaning up the town".
Langley became a code city in 1975, 62 years after first incorporating. Langley's fire department is still, as it was when started in 1913, staffed completely by volunteers devoted to their community. The streets are now paved and the business district considerably larger, yet Langley has never lost its rural, friendly flavor and its special way of life.
The city has a small boat harbor and moorage at Wharf Street and also a small memorial park. The harbor provides transient moorage for passing boats in Saratoga Passage and winter moorage to resident boat owners.
The City has a library, sewer treatment plant, water system, harbor and dock, and a city cemetery. Langley has its own Police Force, municipal court and Fire Department.
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Langley economy: The city's economy is based mostly on tourism, commercial and service activities. Major businesses included the Star Store, a grocery and mercantile; Nichols Brothers Boat Works; the Inn at Langley; Whidbey Island and US Banks; about 40 retail shops; several restaurants and other inns and bed and breakfast facilities. Taxable retail sales within the city have grown from $8,033,600 in 1988 to over twenty-six million currently.
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