In 1860, lime production began on San Juan Island in what is today the Lime Kiln State Park, also known as the Whale Watch Park. For 60 years, the area adjacent to the park was quarried for limestone. Kilns were built to fire the limestone to produce lime. Buildings were built, roads were cut and much of the island was logged to feed the fires of the kilns. Three to four cords of wood per day fired the kilns to transform 20 tons of limestone into 9 tons of lime.
The Boarding House at Lime Kiln in above photo from circa 1970 served as the kitchen and boarding house for the lime kiln workers. Photo courtesy of San Juan Historical Museum.
Today you can visit a rebuilt lime kiln in the park. In the woods beyond its boundaries, you’ll find the ruins of other lime kilns and of above boarding house.