In 1877, Amos Bowman moved his family to the northern tip of Fidalgo Island and began promoting the area as New York of the West. Seattle and Northern Company began building a rail line from the town in 1888 and real estate boomed. In 1891 the real estate bubble burst and money was lost. After the bust the town became prominent for its fishing tradition, thriving canning industry and timber mills. Anacortes is named after Anna Curtis, who was the wife of early Fidalgo Island settler Amos Bowman.