he largest of the San Juan Islands, Orcas gets it’s name from Horcasitas, or Juan Vicente de Güemes Padilla Horcasitas y Aguayo, 2nd Count of Revillagigedo, the Viceroy of Mexico who sent an exploration expedition to the Pacific Northwest in 1791. In 1847, Henry Kellett officially assigned the name Orcas to Orcas Island during his reorganization of the charts.
At almost 60 square miles and a population of just over 4,500 souls, the island is larger, but more sparcely populated than nearby San Juan Island.
The island dotted with villages and hamlets like Orcas Village (at the ferry landing), West Sound, Deer Harbor, Crow Valley, Eastsound, Olga and Doe Bay. Each little community has its own personality and feel.
Farming has always been a big part of the Orcas Island due to the perfect climate and drive of the sorts of folks that live here.
For more Orcas Island history, visit the Orcas History Link page