In the early 20th century, if someone said they were headed to “Lopez” it meant they were headed to the town Lopez, where the present day village is. At that time, Lopez boasted 3 or 4 communities, depending on how you count. Richardson, at the south end of the island, was a thriving fishing community with a cannery, large hotel, community hall, bakery, butcher, busy store, and a harbor full of boats. At the hamlet of Port Stanley, there was another community hall, store, post office, and briefly a kelp mill. Mud Bay was also a small community of boat builders and farmers, with a school and a post office in the area.
Lopez was a fairly quiet town in 1910, with a school, two churches, a parsonage, a creamery, a store and post office, and a significant amount of farmland. A long dock stretched from the store out into the channel. Steamships and ferries delivered goods, mail, and passengers. In those days, the ferry would go to Bellingham, Anacortes, Olga, Rosario, East Sound, Orcas, Deer Harbor, Roche Harbor, Friday Harbor, Lopez (the village), Argyle, Richardson, and even down to Port Townsend and Seattle. In 1912, you could hop on the S.S. Rosalie in Seattle on a Sunday, Tuesday or Thursday at midnight, and at 7:45am the next day, you’d be at Lopez.
When you arrived in Lopez, you would be likely to meet members of the Weeks family. The Homestead House, here, was once the home of Oscar and Henrietta “Etta” Weeks. Built in the 1890s, the house belonged to different members of the Weeks family throughout the 20th century. In the early days, the house had a cattle barn, several storage sheds, and a water tower. The water was from a hand dug well and was pumped up into a large tank at the top of the water tower. Gravity made the water flow through the pipes underground to the house and hooked up to the sink and bathroom. It was heated with a wood cook stove and a wood heater in the living room.
In 1993, the Homestead House was converted to commercial use when Dave and Shirley Stratton opened The Olde Country Store. Three years later, The Vortex Café and Juice Bar opened its doors here and has been an integral part of the Lopez community ever since.