About La Conner and the Swinomish Channel


Greetings All, 

                Information is beginning to trickle in concerning the BNSF bridge closures.  The attached documents show the times the USCG is allowing the bridge to be closed for work during July and August.  This does NOT mean the bridge will always be closed during the specified times.  Times are listed in 24 hour format and there is also an allowance for +/- 30 minutes.  This does NOT account for closures due to normal operations for train traffic. The attachments also show where they are allowed to position equipment during both the open and closed positions.

Bruces Bridge 018 (2)

Brief History of La Conner and the Swinomish Channel:

The Charles Wilkes expedition first chartered the water course now known as the Swinomish Channel in 1841. The town of La Conner’s namesakes, John and Louisa A. Conner, were among the first non-Indians to settle in La Conner in 1870. They operated a large store and dock south of the present town. In 1891, the Corps of Engineers (C-of-E) surveyed and began dredging at the Hole-in-the-Wall. 1903 was the C-of-E’s first major attempt to convert the slough into a controlled channel. In 1908, additional dike piling took place, from McGlinn Island to Goat Island.

From 1936 to 1938, the C-of-E dredged the entire 11-mile channel into the configuration that it is today. Ed O’Leary, a member of the C-of-E starting in 1929, was Master of Dredges & Hydrographic Survey Boats. He participated and oversaw the completion of the entire dredging project. The first bridge to connect the town of La Conner and the Swinomish Reservation was built in 1916 and ran directly from the end of Morris Street across the channel.

The Rainbow Bridge, originally called the Skagit County Bridge, was built in 1957. It had a primer color of orange applied, and the townsfolk preferred that color over the required ‘green’ for county bridges and petitioned to keep the color orange as it is today. The railroad bridge at the north end of the channel was built in 1891.

For more information about La Conner:

Love La Conner/Chamber of Commerce Website

Skagit County Historical Museum

La Conner Quilt and Textile Museum

Museum of Northwest Art