Anacortes was first settled in the 1860s and wanted to become the western terminus for the railroad. The town added over 2,000 people within 6 months as hotels, shops, businesses, and homes were constructed at a furious rate. When the railroad chose Tacoma, Anacortes went into a depression and hundreds moved away. It took ten years for the city to recover. The city officially incorporated in 1891.
During the 1890s and through the 1950s lumber, fishing, and canning were the main industries. In the 1950s several oil refineries were built giving the town a new economic base and the town prospered. In the late 1980s high-tech business started calling Anacortes home and today the city is a magnet for retired persons as well as those looking for a small town atmosphere in a beautiful setting.
Anacortes is also the terminus for the San Juan and Victoria, B.C. ferries for Washington State.