The English Camp Blockhouse

English Camp Fortifications

The Blockhouse was a military guard station that served many purposes.

The English camp blockhouse is one of the most structurally unique buildings on the San Juan Islands.

With the odd geometric design, the building was primarily used as a guardhouse for the camp. The upper story was sometimes employed as a jail cell for soldiers who had gotten in trouble. It wasn't uncommon for British military personnel to be held for desertion of their duties. The area also served as a drunk tank, for those soldiers who chose to relieve the monotony of garrison duty with a little too much whiskey or rum.

The upper story is completely authentic to the time period, but with erosion caused by the tide, the bottom floor received a significant amount of damage and had to be reconstructed in 1970 as well as renovated a second time in 1995. Repairs were done meticulously, as the maintenance technicians utilized the same log cutting techniques used during the mid-19th century when the garrison was first constructed.

The Blockhouse still stands as an interesting point of architectural design and insight into the daily life of British infantryman during the Victorian era. It shows how proper resourcefulness led to multiple uses of the garrison, impacting the day-to-day life of enlisted military members.