dot

Walter Hunziker House

305 Sixth Street

Walter John Hunziker was 12 years old when he came to Langley from Cottonwood, Minnesota with his parents, Frederick and Madeline, in 1898 becoming one of the earliest inhabitants of the young town. The Hunzikers settled into a house and five acres on 5th (later 6th) Street. Walter and his brother Stanley helped clear the land: “Boy that was hard work.”

house
Circa 1898. Frederick Hunziker family in Minnesota. Walter (center) standing behind his sister Nora (Courtesy Mary Campbell).

In 1906, 20 year old Walter married the eldest daughter of another pioneer Langley family, Alice Howard. The newlyweds initially moved in with Walter’s parents.


house
1906. Walter Hunziker and Alice (Howard) Hunziker (Courtesy Jim and Ardeth Bolin).

When Walter’s father Frederick died in 1907, Walter inherited a portion to his father’s property at the corner of what became Al Anderson Avenue and Sixth Street. Walter built this house there in 1908/1909 where he and Alice raised five daughters and a son.

house
Circa 1910. Southeast corner of Walter Hunziker house (Courtesy Jim and Arfeth Bolin).

house
Circa 1922. East side of the Hunziker house (Courtesy Jim and Ardeth Bolin).

house
1947. Aerial view of Hunziker property (Courtesy South Whidbey Historical Society).

From 1912 – 1916, Walter and his brother William (“Bob”) helped Alice’s father Ed Howard run the Langley Mercantile and Post Office in the old Olympic Club.

house
1913. Langley Mercantile and Post Office. (Inset; Walter and William (“Bob”) Hunziker (Courtesy South Whidbey Historical Society).

The brothers also ran their own Mercantile in the two story building built by the Brotherhood of Yeomen on First Street in 1914.

house
1914. Hunziker Brothers store (Courtesy Bonnie Peters).

In addition, they also managed the funeral supplies business up the Street when the original funeral director left town.

house
Circa 1912. Funeral Supply establishment (Courtesy Douglas McLeod).

The two brothers became overextended, and they relinquished these enterprises in 1916 when Bob decided to move to Alaska.

Walter then served as Post Master from 1922- 1932 in the Post Office on First Street next to the former Hunziker Brothers store in the Yeoman Building. Walter also served as mayor and councilman, and helped build roads on Whidbey and Camano Islands.

house
1923. First Street looking west (Courtesy South Whidbey Historical Society).

Alice Hunziker died in 1925. Two years later Walter married Florence Newton in 1927.

house
Circa 1960. Walter and Florence Hunziker (Courtesy Jim and Ardeth Bolin).

In his later years, Walter indulged his hobbies of making jewelry, flower pots, coffee tables trivets and lampshades in a small building behind the house. He also collected rocks and shells which he used in his constructions. In addition, he kept daily record of rainfall that led to his designation as “Langley’s weatherman.”

house
Circa 1960. Walter and Florence Hunziker (Courtesy Jim and Ardeth Bolin).

Florence died in 1962 and Walter in 1980. During his final years, the only one of his children who remained on the Island, his son Walter, Jr. who lived next door, had an arrangement with his father. If the shade in the bedroom upstairs was raised, all was well. If not, he would go over and check on his father.

house
Circa 1960. Walter and Florence Hunziker (Courtesy Jim and Ardeth Bolin).

The house was purchased by Dean Warwick in 1987 then by David Whyte in 1994 who added a large addition on the south side of the house in 2004.

house
2004. House with addition (Courtesy Robert Gilman).

house
2020. Walter Hunziker house seen from 6th Street (Courtesy Robert Waterman).