Original property deed from Alexander Chalmers.

Hall History

The West Sound Community Hall represents the history and character of Orcas Island. Members of the nonprofit West Sound Community Club, as stewards of the Hall, strive to maintain the integrity of the Hall as a unique gathering place for future generations.

In 1902 volunteers began building the Hall with materials supplied by George Adkins. The building site was donated two years earlier by Alexander Chalmers. The Hall was erected to serve as a central meeting place for residents of the West Sound area.

Over the years the original one-room schoolhouse design has changed to fit the times. A kitchen, stage, and entrance porch were added to enhance the building's function.

Numerous organizations have used the Hall for meetings. In addition, weddings, concerts, elections, parties, and other events have been regularly held in the Hall since 1902.

Detailed History


A Lummi village named "Elelung" occupied the land. The property is part of a documented archaeological site as evidenced by a shell midden under the Hall.

1900 - February 21st

Alexander Chalmers donated "property to be used for a site for a public hall" to the West Sound Hall Company. The donated land was originally part of a large parcel homesteaded by Peter LaPlante in 1884.

1902 - 1903

The West Sound Community Hall was constructed. Funds for building materials were donated by George Adkins. The Hall was constructed by Adkins, Omer Freel, Joe Verrier, Peter LaPlante, Gus Smedberg and others. Mr. Adkins, who moved to West Sound in 1896, founded the West Sound Trading Company which was located on a wharf opposite the Hall.


The Chase brothers, who owned the Chase Bros. Mill in West Sound, donated lumber and built an addition for a stage on the north end of the Hall.

1903 - 1935

During this period the following organizations were regular users of the Hall:

Women's Christian Temperance Union Woodmen Lodge
West Sound Literary Society
West Sound Boy's Band
West Sound Grange (130 members in 1913)
Odd Fellows
West Sound Athletic Club
West Sound Orchestra
West Sound Baseball Team
Farm Bureau
Fidelis Circle

1905 - 1910

Sometime during this period the Hall was increased in size by adding twelve feet to the south end.


West Sound Hall Company is reorganized as the West Sound Community Club.

Sometime after 1935

The stage, then located at the north end of the hall, was remodeled " to make it as wide as the Hall and 22 feet back providing room for stage, kitchen and rest room - cost $122.85." Logs were salvaged from local beaches and the Thatcher Mill sawed them into lumber for use in remodel.


During the Second World War, Fidelis Circle cared for and managed the Hall.

Sometime after 1947

When it was determined the foundation under the stage was failing, the stage was converted to a kitchen and the floor was lowered to match the level of the main Hall floor. The current stage on the east side of the Hall was probably added at the same time.


The Orcas Island Yacht Club was founded and began using the Hall as a clubhouse.


The south entry was moved to the present location on the east side of the Hall. The old entry and scaffolding for the new entry are shown in a photo taken in April 1957. This is the only known photo showing in detail how the exterior of the Hall looked prior to 1957.


Members of the Orcas Island Yacht Club made major repairs to the building structure and the interior was completely remodeled. Prior to the remodel the interior walls were burlap cloth and there was no ceiling in the hall.


The property on which the hall sits was increased in size by donation a strip of land surrounding the hall structure.


Major foundation repairs of a temporary nature were made.


The entry stairs and deck were rebuilt.


Realizing a major renovation of the Hall was needed, the officers of the West Sound Community Club reorganized the club as a nonprofit corporation and applied for 501(c)(3) status. A Centennial Building Committee was created to manage the renovation. The goal was to complete the renovation prior to the 100th anniversary of the Hall&appos;s construction in 1902. Con Russell Construction was selected as the contractor and construction started in February 2000. Major repairs, including a new foundation, metal roof, insulation, and painting the exterior, were completed by October of 2000. To date, the Club has received contributions and pledges of more than $81,000 to pay for the renovation and establish an endowment for future maintenance of the Hall.

1999 - October 18th

The West Sound Community Hall was listed in the Washington Heritage Register.

2000 - June 12th

The Washington Department of Revenue approved the West Sound Community Club's application for property tax exemption for the West Sound Community Hall as a "public assembly hall".

2000 - August 31st

West Sound Community Hall web site first launched.

2001 - April 21st

A new "West Sound Community Hall" sign was placed on the front of the Hall in a ceremony attended by more than twenty members of the West Sound Community Club. Placement of the sign marked the completion of a major renovation of the Hall started in February 2000.