Lopez Island History

Center Church - built in 1887, Lopez Island
Center Church - built in 1887, Lopez Island
Lopez Island was named after Lopez Gonzales de Haro, the Spanish captain who "discovered" the islands in 1791. The next Europeans to come to Lopez Island were the Scandinavian fishermen in the early 19th century, having discovered what the earlier cultures had known all along - that the shores of the these islands teemed with fish.
Lopez's gentle topography encouraged agriculture somewhat earlier than the other islands. When white settlers arrived on the San Juans in the 1850's, Lopez was their first choice. Now farmers raise everything from sheep to llamas, and their crops reflect the same exotic range: from wine grapes to apples, from pears to kiwis. Visitors to Lopez will see a pastoral landscape with fewer luxury summer homes compared to the two "big" islands of Orcas and San Juan.
Farm near Richardson, Lopez Island
Farm near Richardson, Lopez Island
Worthy of a visit are the Lopez Historical Museum in Lopez Village, The general store in Richardson, on the SW corner, which was built in 1917 and is recorded on the National Register of Historic Places, and Centre Church, built in 1887, along with pioneer Union Cemetery on Davis Bay Rd.