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REMAX Whatcom County 913 Lakeway Drive, Bellingham, WA
(360) 739-2623
RE 1873 Main Street #6, Ferndale, WA
(360) 384-1010
Campbells of RE/MAX Whatcom County 915 Lakeway Dr, Bellingham, WA
(360) 927-0834
Trinity Community Lutheran 1880 Apa Road, Point Roberts, WA
(360) 945-7105
Cafco Realty 1669 Georgia Court, Point Roberts, WA
RE 1841 Front Street Suite C, Lynden, WA
(360) 354-0202
Stop Foreclosure 623 Evergreen Lane, Point Roberts, WA
(360) 201-5892
Re 913 Lakeway Drive #206, Bellingham, WA
(360) 739-5600
Bellingham Remax 913 Lakeway Dr, Bellingham, WA
(360) 920-1218
Re 145 Tyee Drive, Point Roberts, WA
(360) 945-3535
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About Point Roberts

Point Roberts is an unincorporated community in Whatcom County, Washington, United States. It has a post office, with the ZIP code of 98281, whose ZCTA had a population of 1,308 at the 2000 census.

A geopolitical oddity, it is an exclave of the United States located on the southernmost tip of the Tsawwassen Peninsula, south of Delta, British Columbia, Canada. Point Roberts can be reached from the rest of the United States only by traveling through Canada or crossing Boundary Bay. Other exclaves of this type include the U.S. state of Alaska, and parts of Minnesota such as the Northwest Angle and Elm Point, Minnesota. Alburgh, Vermont is also separated by land from the rest of the United States but can be reached by highways originating in the United States.

History

The first Europeans to see Point Roberts were members of the 1791 expedition of Francisco de Eliza. The maps produced as a result of Eliza's explorations depicted Point Roberts as "Isla de Cepeda" or "Isla de Zepeda" In 1792 the British expedition of George Vancouver and the Spanish expedition of Dionisio Alcalá Galiano encountered one another near Point Roberts. In the morning of June 13, 1792, the two ships under Galiano sailed into Boundary Bay and verified that Point Roberts was not an island, which was thus renamed Punta Cepeda. They then sailed around Point Roberts and immediately encountered the HMS Chatham, the second ship of Vancouver's expedition. The two parties made contact and soon agreed to share information and work together in mapping the Strait of Georgia. Point Roberts acquired its present name from George Vancouver, who named it after his friend Henry Roberts, who had originally been given command of the expedition. Point Roberts assumed its present political status in 1846, when the Oregon Treaty extended the 49th parallel as the boundary between American and British territory from the Rocky Mountains to Georgia Strait.

Treaty history specific to Point Roberts

After years of joint occupation of the disputed area between the Columbia River and Russian America known as the Oregon Country to the Americans, and as the Columbia District to the British, American expansionists like U.S. Senator Edward A. Hannegan of Indiana urged US President James K. Polk to annex the entire Oregon Country up to latitude 54°40'N, as the Democrats had been elected on the slogan "Fifty-Four Forty or Fight".

While his government asserted that the title of America to the entire territory was unquestionable, Polk and his secretary, James Buchanan made an offer of a boundary at 49 degrees with the line straight across Vancouver Island, with no commercial privilege to be granted to the British south of the line, with the exception of free ports on Vancouver Island. This offer was rejected by the British and withdrawn by the US shortly thereafter.

On April 18, 1846, notice was forwarded to London that the US Congress had adopted a joint resolution abrogating the Treaty of 1818 which provided for joint occupancy.

The British emissary, Richard Pakenham, had previously been advised that the last concession which could be expected of America was in bending the boundary at the 49th parallel around the lower end of Vancouver Island. Fort Victoria was viewed as the future center for settlements on the island. It was deemed necessary around this point in time to give up territory on the Lower Mainland to keep Vancouver Island part of British North America.

Lord Aberdeen, British Foreign Secretary, proposed a treaty making the 49th parallel the boundary to the sea, giving Great Britain the whole of Vancouver Island. The Treaty of Oregon was concluded on June 15, 1846.

The acceptance of the 49th parallel as the international boundary was concluded without precise knowledge of the effects it would have. Later, as the Boundary Commission was surveying the line, the British government realized that the peninsula of Point Roberts would be an isolated part of the United States. The British Foreign Office instructed Captain James Prevost, the British Boundary Commissioner, to inform his American counterpart of the situation and request that Point Roberts be left to Britain, because of the great inconvenience it would be to the United States. If the American Boundary Commission was reluctant, Prevost was instructed to offer "some equivalent compensation by a slight alteration of the Line of Boundary on the Mainland". It is not known how the American commissioner responded, but Point Roberts became part of the United States.

Relationship with Canada

In 1949, there was talk about Point Roberts seceding from the USA and joining Canada, but this never happened. In 1973 a draught caused the wells to run dry and created tensions between the American and Canadian residents of Point Roberts. The Americans threatened to cut off the Canadian residents' water supply — and hung up signs saying "Canadians Go Home" — unless the Canadian district of Delta agreed to provide water to Point Roberts, an arrangement which became permanent in 1986. Delta Fire Department also provides its services to Point Roberts, and until 1988 BC Tel (now Telus) provided telephone service.

Geography

Point Roberts is a U.S. exclave bordered by Canada and the waters of Boundary Bay. It is 22 miles (35 km) south of downtown Vancouver, British Columbia. Point Roberts is part of the U.S. because it lies south of the 49th parallel, which constitutes the Canada-US border in that area.

Point Roberts borders the municipality of Delta in British Columbia. Boundary Bay lies to the east of Point Roberts and the Strait of Georgia to the south and west. The peninsula is about 2 miles (3 km) from north to south and about 3 miles (5 km) from east to west. It has an area of 4.884 square miles (12.65 km2).

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 1,308 people, 607 households, and 373 families residing in the ZCTA. There were 1,820 housing units, only 607 of which were occupied. The racial makeup of the ZCTA was 94.9% White, 0.6% African American, 0.8% Native American, 2.0% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.5% from other races, and 1.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.3% of the population.

In the ZCTA the population was spread out with 20.9% under the age of 18, 3.4% from 18 to 24, 29.0% from 25 to 44, 32.0% from 45 to 64, and 14.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43.2 years.

The median income for a household in the ZCTA was $36,146; the median income for a family was $45,417; and the per capita income was $25,449.

During the summer the population swells to about 4500, most of the visitors being vacationing Canadians.

Education

Point Roberts Primary School, the only school on the Point, provides only kindergarten, first grade, and second grade. From third grade on, American children must take a 40 minute ride through British Columbia and back into the United States at the Blaine, Washington, border crossing. After the September 11, 2001, attacks, increased scrutiny at the United States' borders evoked worry that the passage of school buses would be rendered infeasible by long traffic delays at the border crossing, but an arrangement was made to give the school buses expedited passage.

Transportation

The only authorized land access to Canada from Point Roberts is Tyee Street, a major thoroughfare northward that becomes 56th Street (Canada). Point Roberts also has a small airport and a large marina for air and water access.

Economy

Many of the area's businesses are geared toward weekend and recreational visitors from Greater Vancouver, especially those in search of cheaper gasoline. The handful of area bars and nightclubs are popular with visiting Canadians despite a drinking age of 21 in the state of Washington versus that of 19 in British Columbia (or perhaps even because of it - establishments south of the border tend to be attractive to mature patrons), although this popularity diminished somewhat after Sunday drinking was legalized in British Columbia. The local post office rents hundreds of post office boxes to individuals and businesses from the Greater Vancouver area (including the US Consulate in Vancouver) which find it a convenient and fast way to receive mail and parcels from the United States without paying for cross-border shipping costs.

There is no hospital, doctor, dentist, pharmacist, or veterinarian, and because American health insurers will not pay for treatment given by Canadian providers, Point Roberts citizens usually seek medical care in Bellingham, Washington, even though Vancouver is closer. This includes even emergency patients.

Residents enjoy a low crime rate at the cost of a high local security presence. Due to having to go through the international border twice to get to the rest of the USA some have called it "the best gated community in the U.S."

Climate

Point Roberts lies within a depression created by Vancouver Island, the north shore mountains surrounding Vancouver, and the North Cascades (including Mount Baker). This micro-climate provides some of the mildest weather in the Pacific Northwest. With annual precipitation of about 1000 mm (40 inches), Point Roberts enjoys more sunny days and a milder climate than its neighbors.

Geology

Beneath Point Roberts, the bedrock Chuckanut Formation was deposited as an alluvial plain containing layers of sediments consisting of silt, sand, sand and gravel, and peat. During the last 60 million years the sediments were compacted and folded by mountain building forces resulting from continental drift to form strata of siltstone, sandstone, conglomerate and coal. During recent geologic history, the Chuckanut formation was overridden by four or more glaciations.

Point Roberts consists of a series of the resulting glacial sediments resting upon the Chuckanut Formation. The lowest glacial sediments (now near sea level) are from Salmon Springs or older glaciations. At the peak of the most recent glaciation, the main ice sheet was in excess of 7,000 feet thick as it moved southward between Vancouver Island and the Canadian Coast Range and down the Strait of Georgia. A smaller lobe of the continental glacier in excess of 5,000 feet traveled down the Fraser River flood plains merging with the main ice sheet over the greater Vancouver area and Whatcom and Skagit Counties. The coalesced continental ice sheet traveled south terminating in the vicinity of Chehalis, Washington. Relatively impermeable Vashon glacial lodgment till (estimated to be as much as 40 feet thick at the uppermost layer) was plastered over the advance outwash as the weight of the 7,000 foot thick plus Strait of Georgia ice lobe moved southward over approximately 10,000 years. (Armstrong, et. all, 1965) Point Roberts, Tsawwassen, and part of British Columbia extending past English Bluff actually comprised an island at the close of the Vashon glaciation, approximately 11,000 years ago.

As the ice sheets melted, the thinner Fraser Lobe began to float while the Strait of Georgia lobe acted as a dam forming a lake under the Fraser Lobe. Sediments settling from the melting, floating ice resulted in the accumulation of 300 feet or more of Glacial Marine Drift over much of western Whatcom County. (Easterbrook, 1976; Geologic Map of Western Whatcom County, Washington, USGS, Map I-854-B) This Glacial Marine Drift is generally soft and was not consolidated by the weight of the glacier. A discontinuous, thin mantle of this Glacial Marine Drift above the Glacial Lodgment Till has been identified sporadically across Point Roberts. The uppermost layer of glacial sediments consists of recessional sand, silt, and gravel deposited as the Strait of Georgia ice lobe receded. Since the recession of the glaciers, the Fraser River has deposited deltaic sediments on the north and easterly side of the Point Roberts-Tsawwassen Island connecting it to the Greater Vancouver mainland (approximately 2,500 years ago, Murray 2008). At some locations, these sediments have been eroded or removed exposing the lodgment till.

Parks and features

Neighborhoods

Telecommunications

Until 1988, Point Roberts telephone numbers were in British Columbia's 604 area code and served by BCTel, a Canadian telephone company. Today, Point Roberts phone numbers are in the 360 area code and the 945 exchange, and the local regular-service telecom provider is Whidbey Telecom. Point Roberts is served by DirecTV and Delta Cable (Canadian) for cable TV. All three companies provide broadband Internet access to residents of Pt. Roberts. Mobile telephone service is provided by a variety of companies, both American and Canadian. Being adjacent to Metro Vancouver, while residents receive the same over-the-air TV and radio broadcasts available in the Metro Vancouver region.

See also


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