Coupeville is located on the south side of a sheltered inlet known as Penn Cove on Central Whidbey Island, facing east on Saratoga Passage. It was once the site of three lower Skagit tribal village and in 1850s the area was settled by sea captains and farmers. Coupeville was named for a sea captain, Thomas Coupe. The wharf is the center point of the town and was built in the later half of the 1800s for passenger travel and importing and exporting products between the island and mainland. Passenger ferry service was suspended at Coupeville in 1936 do to the growing popularity of automobiles and the completion of Deception Pass Bridge.