UW Biology Station, Friday Harbor, ca 1915
This early photograph was made into a postcard and published by Arcadia Publishing Co. It shows the Friday Harbor Laboratories, a biology research station of the University of Washington, located at Friday Harbor on San Juan Island as it looked around 1915. Zoology Professor Trevor Kincaid started searching for a suitable site for such a facility in 1903 and was impressed by the wealth of sea life found in the San Juan Islands. Captain Warbass loaned a cabin to Kincaid and another UW professor, T. C. Frye, a botanist, in 1904 and the station was founded that same year. In the beginning they had some furniture, a stove, blankets for the cabin, equipment for a darkroom and a rowboat. Tents were set up for sleeping.
Originally no formal classes were taught only a 6 week summer field study with about a dozen students. Today the lab is well known for its short, intensive summer classes for graduate students from around the world that cover marine biology and other marine sciences, such as Marine Algae, Marine Invertebrate Zoology, Comparative Invertebrate Embryology, Marine Conservation Biology, Functional Morphology and Ecology of Marine Fishes, Invertebrate Larval Ecology, Experimental and Field Approaches in Biology and Paleontology, plus other current topics in marine science and oceanography. Classes are also taught during the spring and fall terms for advanced undergraduates and graduate students. The summer session is 5 weeks, spring and fall classes run 10 weeks and feature an original research component. Friday Harbor Laboratories also has a small resident scientific staff and offers year-round laboratory, library and housing accommodations for visiting researchers and their families.
In the early years students slept in tents without flooring that can be seen on the hillside in the postcard picture. The lab was outside on a 3 X 10 foot table. The structure on the water in the photo was built in 1910 to house the labs and lecture halls. The second large building on the hillside was added in 1911 and contained additional lecture spaces, administrative offices and a dining hall. Wooden floors were eventually added to the tents where the students slept.
For an interesting centennial timeline and general information, see: