William Sutherland homesteaded approximately 60 acres at what today is the Orcas Landing. In the 1880’s he built a dock, warehouse, and store. This was the first store at the Landing and one of five stores on Orcas Island at the turn of the century.
From 1900-1904, he built the Orcas Hotel to house arriving guests to the island. Upon completion of the hotel, he moved his family into the building, leaving only two rooms available for paying guests. William Sutherland created a culture and activity hub at the landing by hiring Octovia Van Moorhem to cook meals for the guests and folks camping in the surrounding area.
As time went on, the Orcas Landing became the single landing location for the ferries. With the post office, the Orcas Hotel, and a variety of other small enterprises, the area continued to remain a central hub for the island.
Today, the Orcas Landing is still the welcome gate to the island with the majority of the visitors as well as the locals using this thoroughfare to arrive and depart.