When I first started learning about local history here some of the elders of our group often mentioned how Camano Island used to be called “Crow Island.” It wasn’t that I didn’t believe them, we certainly had our share of treetop raucousness in our woods on the South end of Camano Island. But I recently found an news article from a June 4, 1920 Stanwood Tidings that mentioned “Crow Island”. The author was Mr. Gilbert Quale, a Norwegian immigrant whose name is also often spelled Qvale. His farm was at the intersection of SR 532 and Juniper Beach Road where his historic house still stands
In the article he described the land clearing efforts of the local farmers: G. W. Hills, Mr. Danielson, Mr Borrison, Jorgen Anderson, Ivar Opdall, Ivan Larson , Peter Wold, Eli Myron.
They blasted the stumps, hauled them to into piles with steam donkeys and plowed the roots out of the ground to clear land for their farms.
After all of his hard work I think he was feeling a bit righteous about his land in the face of some condescension on the part of other farmers on the mainland. His quote from the article: “Now some of you town people that make fun of “Crow Island,” as you call it, and some of you that are asleep and imagine you are dreaming about stills and moonshine when perhaps pulling crow teeth and blasting stumps, show not be so quick to throw slurs at a neighborhood just because there are a few crows on the Island?
Gilbert was a community minded soul, he worked to actively promote their of their farm products as one of the original trustees of the Snohomish County Dairyman’s Association in 1917. He was listed as a grocer when he married his wife Amelia Land in 1900 Census and a director of the local Farmer’s Mutual Insurance Co. He was listed as a dairy farmer at his death in 1943.