Historic Talks

Experts on Anacortes relay their historic knowledge in these invaluable lectures. Dive into deep and rich lessons from those who know it best!


W.T. Preston Steamboat Virtual Tour

Welcome aboard the W.T. Preston, a sternwheel steam-powered snagboat located on the Anacortes waterfront in Washington State's Puget Sound -- and now a historic attraction of the Anacortes Museum. After 52 years of service, the Preston was retired in 1981. Now a National Historic Landmark, she made her last trip to Anacortes in 1983 and was placed on display next to the restored train depot at 7th Street and R Avenue, which is adjacent to the Anacortes Museum's Maritime Heritage Center. 

The W.T. Preston is a very special artifact designed for a specific job, reflecting 150 years of local learning and development. She is the last of a long line of snagboats working the length and breadth of the Puget Sound. She was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 and made a National Historic Landmark in 1989. 

Join your guide Dennis Mazza of the Anacortes Museum for a fun and educational tour of the galley, engine room, crew quarters and working decks of this historic landmark, the W.T. Preston. We encourage you to come aboard on your next visit to Anacortes, WA.


Win Anderson Speaks on Smuggler Kelly (2019)

On June 26th, 2019, Guemes Island Historian, Win Anderson came to give a talk about Lawrence Kelly, or as he's famously known, Smuggler Kelly. Anderson, a 40+ year resident of Guemes Island, was a founding member of the Guemes Island Historical Society and a noted journalist in the area. 

Anderson began his research when the Skagit Land Trust had reached out to him inquiring about Kelly after they had purchased Kelly's Point on Guemes Island. Learn about the grand adventure of the "King of Smugglers" and how he was able to maintain a successful smuggling career for over 47 years.


Bill Mitchell: The Misadventures of Wild Bill

From Tom Deach at the Guemes Island Historical Society: "I was hesitant when I first approached Bill about coming to Guemes Island to give a presentation for our Guemes Island Historical Society. After working up the courage, I went to visit him and meekly asked if he would be interested in such a project. My fears were allayed by his enthusiastic response: Sure when do you want me? Dreary winter was upon us so we settled on a spring date. The first video (May 14th, 2018) was the result of that request. Bill called it the “Misadventures of Wild Bill.” It chronicles the early days of the Mitchell family of Anacortes and Guemes Island with special emphasis on his Grandfather, Bill Bessner (the first “Wild Bill”) as well as other tales."