San Juan boats of yesteryear

ALVERENE. Capt. Bill Kasch, Anacortes, WA. Photo courtesy of maritime historian J. Robin Paterson.

Perhaps the most idyllic physical features in Washington are concentrated in the San Juan Islands. Here is a natural topography encompassing more than 150 islands, considered by many persons to be unsurpassed for natural beauty and interest.
Early-day commercial transportation among the islands, with its colorful sidelights, is recalled by Mary Kasch Nollan. Mary’s father, Capt. William Kasch, or Captain Bill, as he was called, pioneered commercial-shipping, passenger and mail service in the San Juan Islands, around the turn of the century.
“Because my father was a man of the sea, I always was conscious of wind, rain, and fog, as a child growing up in Anacortes,” said Mrs. Nollan, who retains many vivid memories of the era of transportation by small vessels.
The Kasch family came west from Iowa Falls, in 1889, and one year later settled in Anacortes. Mary’s grandfather, Ernest Kasch, opened the Kasch Merchantile Co, one of the first stores in the community. Elected city treasurer of Anacortes in 1902, he served until his death in 1907.

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