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Catalog Number WF 0671
Caption Cypress Island
Description From the late-1890s, Cypress Island was a favorite destination spot to pick rhododendrons. The 5-20-1897, ANACORTES AMERICAN reported, "Rhododendrons in bloom on Cypress Island. Several parties have been over and returned loaded down with flowers." The 4-22-1909 edition reported the establishment of "Rhododendron Day". "To the Honorable City Council: Gentleman: There seems to be a growing desire on the part of citizens of this city to have a day set apart where the citizens of Skagit County may all join in gathering the rhododendron and to make the occasion a country basket-picnic day. I would suggest that inasmuch as this city lies nearest the fields where the state flower blooms, that this year and in the years to come, we set apart a day and ask the other cities and towns of the county to likewise declare a holiday when all can participated in the festival of a picnic to Cypress Island for the gathering of the state flower." The 5-6-1909, edition reported, "Mayor Proclaims Rhododendron Day will be May 22nd ... All will be invited to join in the festivities of a picnic to Cypress Island. It is also desired that the naming of this holiday may be regarded as a precedent and may become an established custom." Despite the present-day horrors that many would feel at the wholesale picking of native flowers, those proposing the Rhody Day celebration in 1909 were apparently aware of preserving the species. The 5-12-1909, edition noted, "Vandals who tear and destroy or mutilate rhododendron shrubs are not wanted at the celebration of Rhododendron Day in Anacortes and Cypress Island on May 22nd. Gathering the flower should be conspiring to the preservation of the majestic and beautiful state flower while, at the same time, encouraging its transplanting and distribution on the mainland." The holiday continued into the 1920s at least. The 5-20-1920, edition reported, "Rhododendron Party spends Day on Cypress ... A large party of teachers, high school girls and others made up a happy picnic party that chartered the launch MERCURY and went to Secret Harbor on Cypress Island last Saturday. The day was spent in gathering armloads of rhododendrons and maidenhair ferns."
Date 1909
Photographer Unknown
Collection Wallie Funk Collection
Subjects People
Place - Cypress Island
Recreation
Transportation - Maritime
Credit line Donated by Wallie Funk, Wallie Funk Collection
Place Cypress Island, WA
Search Terms Rhody Day
Cypress Island
rhododendrons
Object Name Print, Photographic