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 1899 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.”
Circa 1897. 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.
1906. Walter Hunziker and Alice (Howard) Hunziker (Courtesy Jim and Ardeth Bolin).
When Walter's father Johan Frederick Hunziker 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, his father-in-law, Ed Howard, and brother-in-law William Howard built this house there in 1908 where he and Alice raised five daughters and a son.
Circa 1910. Southeast corner of Walter Hunziker house (Courtesy Jim and Ardeth Bolin).
Circa 1922. East side of the Hunziker house (Courtesy Jim and Ardeth Bolin).
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.
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.
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.
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.
1923. First Street looking west (Courtesy South Whidbey Historical Society).
Alice Hunziker died in 1925. Two years later Walter married Florence Newton in 1927.
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.”
Circa 1959. Walter John Hunziker age 47 (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.
Circa 1985. North side of house (Courtesy South Whidbey Historical Society).
2000 House raised for new foundation (Courtesy David Whyte).
2001 Large addition under construction (Courtesy David Whyte).
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.
2004. House with addition (Courtesy Robert Gilman).
2020. 2020. House seen from from 6th Street (Courtesy Robert Waterman).