Explore our collection to gain a greater understanding of our community.
Spanish Flu, 1918
In this 1918 photograph, Bainbridge Island resident Veola Lundgren sits on a log at Port Blakely Wharf. The influenza pandemic (Spanish flu) reached the Puget Sound region that fall. A mandatory flu mask order was issued in Seattle and Kitsap County, requiring people to wear masks in public places. Schools, stores, churches, and bars were closed. At times, strict quarantine was enforced to stop the spread of the disease.
Minesweeper Launch, 1944
During WWII, Bainbridge Islanders worked for the Winslow Marine Railway and Shipbuilding Company building minesweepers and repairing damaged ships for the military. The company, formerly known as Hall Bros. Shipyard, was located in Eagle Harbor at the time. Before the war, the shipyard built lumber schooners and repaired Puget Sound ferries, employing roughly 300 people. By 1943, that number had grown to nearly 2,300.
Minesweepers were small steel ships equipped for detecting and removing explosive mines in shallow water. Between 1942 and 1944, the Winslow Shipyard launched 17 oceangoing minesweepers.
Medical Bag, 1889
In 1889, Dr. Cecil Corydon Kellam came to Bainbridge Island to treat injured millworkers at the request of Captain Renton at the Port Blakely Mill. Over the next 50 years of his practice, Dr. Kellam worked for the military at Fort Ward during WWI and served four terms as Kitsap County coroner.
Dr. Kellam carried this medical bag during his practice. The medical tools that came with the bag, such as needles, a mortar and pestle, and bottles of morphine, are at the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum.
During COVID pandemic’s the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order, many people spent more time in the kitchen. We looked through our collection and found this sweet pie recipe for warm days.
In 1955, members of the Port Madison Lutheran Church got together and created a handmade cookbook called “What’s Cooking?” From this book came a recipe that seemed just the thing, Angel Pineapple Pie. If you make this recipe, be sure to let us know. Tag us on Facebook or Instagram @bihistoricalmuseum.
Reverend Kihachi Hirakawa
Reverend Kihachi Hirakawa, 1945
Reverend Kihachi Hirakawa was born in Japan in 1864, immigrating to America and the Washington Territory in the late 1800s. For more than ten years after his arrival, Hirakawa worked for the Port Blakely Mill Company. He then left the island to study for the ministry. He returned to Bainbridge Island and became pastor of the Winslow Japanese Baptist church when it was built in 1925. Forcibly removed to Manzanar War Relocation Center during WWII, Hirakawa continued to preach. This photo was taken on his 82nd birthday while incarcerated.
Silent Film Sheet Music
Silent Film Sheet Music
Before the “talkies” arrived in 1927, silent films were accompanied by pianists, such as Islander Eve Nygard Bourns, who would use thematic cue sheets of music, like this one, in order to provide atmosphere during a film. The silent film theater on Bainbridge Island was called “Please U Theater” and operated in the Masonic lodge in Port Blakely on the weekends. Famous Islander George Beck, of the Overland Westerners, owned this theater for a short time in the early 1920s.
Campaign Ribbon, 1993
This campaign ribbon was made by hand to support Janet West’s run for mayor in 1993. She won and served as mayor until 1997. Ms. West spent most of her life as an activist and a teacher, working at Bainbridge High School for nearly 20 years. Following her teaching career, she served on the Helpline House Board of Directors as president. She was also a founding director of the Bainbridge Foundation.
In 2019, the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, BIHM celebrated the influx of women in public office as a result of the amendment. Enjoy an online tour of our exhibit, Her vote. Her Story, about the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment. A virtual tour of the exhibit given by a former curator, Merilee Mostov, is available here.
Scotchbroom Parade, 1974
Zany. Spontaneous. Quirky. Magical. All appropriate words used to describe Bainbridge Island’s annual Scotch Broom Parade. According to our friend, Jerry Elfendahl, the tradition began in 1963 when architect John Rudolph filled out a survey about the island’s major community festival.
Rudolph sent the survey to the Tourist Bureau as a practical joke detailing a fictitious, “Scotch Broom Parade,” which was held at the end of May when scotch broom bloomed. He included amusing details like a Tiddlywinks championship between the local Rotary and Kiwanis clubs and he mentioned the crowning of a scotch broom queen during the event.
Visitors actually arrived on Island the next year looking to attend the community event. In response, locals threw together a parade which has remained a special and unique part of Bainbridge celebrations since. This photo from our collection is from the 1974 Scotch Broom Parade.
Her Son’s Grave
Her son's grave, 1930
More than 100,000 Americans died during World War I, creating immense suffering and pain for family members left behind. The U.S. government recognized the sacrifices women made burying their sons and husbands overseas. Through Gold Star pilgrimages, the Federal Government paid expenses to sponsor women visiting the graves of their loved ones from 1930-1933.
Annie Bucklin Hydes is pictured above in 1930 visiting her son’s grave in France. Annie’s scrapbook is a part of the Museum’s collection and features correspondence from the War Department, an official invitation notice, and a letter signed by Major General John L. DeWitt.
BIHS Yearbook, 1933
BIHS Yearbook, 1933
As the Class of 2023 graduates, we remember another class who graduated during difficult times. Bainbridge High School Class of 1933 graduated 90 years ago on June 7th, while the Great Depression was in full swing.
The 1933 edition of the Spartan Life yearbook highlights this time with a touch of optimism. “There were several unexpected arrivals during the life of the class and several people have dropped out. However, the bulk of the class is still here and will leave—still united.”
This yearbook from our collection reminds us that good memories survive hard times. Though the way we celebrate has changed, we still want to raise a virtual glass to Bainbridge High School Class of 2023. Congratulations!
Winslow Post Office
Winslow Post Office, 1909
The US Postal Service dates back to the Second Continental Congress in 1775, when Benjamin Franklin was appointed the first Postmaster General. The Post Office has run continually since that time, through wars, epidemics, and even survived electronic forms of communication to remain an essential service.
Bainbridge Island’s early post offices were often combined with a general store and were a hub of activity. Mail was delivered to Bainbridge by a steamer from Seattle that stopped at individual docks. In 1900, the island had a population of just 1,961 people, but had 7 post offices. One mail carrier, John Rayne, drove his horse and buggy 25 miles each day to every 500 post office boxes over this island.
“Snail Mail” may seem like a thing of the past, but we are especially reminded of its vital role as we endure this pandemic together. Have you received mail lately that you hold dear or is lifting your spirits during this time?
Bainbridge Historical Baseball Society
Bainbridge Historical Baseball Society, 2004
This patch created for the Bainbridge Historical Baseball Society game played in 2005, was donated to BIHM in May. The Society was founded by baseball memorabilia collector and then BI resident, Jeff Giblin. Formed around 2004, the Society’s goal was to revive and celebrate traditional baseball.
“The idea was to go back in time and celebrate what mostly has been forgotten,” remarked Bob Santelli, a participant in the games and patch donor. According to Santelli, the players wore replica uniforms and gloves in the styles worn by teams in the early – mid 20th century.
While active, the Society played before the annual Grand Old 4th parade and celebration. The memories that drove Boomer players to form the Society were not shared by younger generations, however, and it was disbanded after only a few years.
Ship Under Construction in Port Blakely
The Hesper, 1882
The Hesper, launched October 12, 1882 at Port Blakely, was one of the Hall Brother’s most famous ships. As a “blood boat,” it gained notoriety for being commanded by brutal officers.
The Hall Brothers Marine Railway and Shipbuilding Company, run by brothers Isaac, Winslow, and Henry, was a shipbuilding company based on Bainbridge Island from 1881 until the business was sold nearly forty years later.
In his book, Images of America: Hall Brothers Shipbuilding, Gary M. White notes that, “The Hesper is best remembered for a mutiny on a voyage from Newcastle, Australia, to Honolulu in 1893 under the command of Capt. Frank O. Sodergren. A sailor was murdered, a federal trial held, and a crew member convicted and hanged.”
Due to this incident, the Hesper gained the “blood boat” reputation and was sold several times over the course of her life.
Fourth of July in Winslow
Old Time Fourth of July Celebrations
Did you know the 4th of July only officially became a national holiday in 1870? The origins actually date back to a blast of fireworks on July 4, 1777, when the Sons of Liberty celebrated America’s first birthday in Philadelphia.
On Bainbridge Island, residents celebrated the 4th with picnics and parades. This photo, taken in 1897, shows children in patriotic costumes celebrating in Winslow.
In 1912, our records indicate residents celebrated with boat and swimming races, with the winner awarded a greased pig!
The Chamber of Commerce inaugurated a Grand Old Fourth celebration on July 4, 1965, which endures to this day. In its early days, there were and still are a variety of activities leading up to the parade including the Rotary Auction, street fair and dances, and a Strawberry Festival—to name only a few.
1890 – 1920
Perfume Vial, 1890 - 1920
Who originally owned it? Why did they have it? How did it survive all of these years? These are just a few questions that come up when thinking about an object in a museum collection.
Sometimes our Museum files provide answers to these questions, but sometimes they don’t. While we may never know all the details about this cultural resource, there are certain things we can glean. For example, the label design is artistically similar to labels from the Art Nouveau period. This can be seen in the font type and female figure in profile. Both are stylistic hallmarks of the period between 1890 and 1920. From the label we also know that it is a perfume vial.
If this looks familiar to you, or you have information that may be helpful in further identifying this item, let us know! We’d love to hear from you.
Retort Building at Creosote Plant
Retort Building, Circa 1909
Walking by the Museum, it’s hard not to notice the end section of a large retort in our courtyard. It is from one of eight retorts used at the Creosote Plant on Bainbridge Island, which were airtight containers in which, at high pressure and temperature, wood products were impregnated with creosote. Creosote processed wood was used for products like pier pilings, railroad ties, and telephone poles.
The company, Perfection Pile Preserving Company, opened in 1904 and operated through 1988. Located on Eagle Harbor’s South Shore, it was actually known as the town of Creosote in the early 20th Century. It had its own post office, general store, baseball team, and several types of housing for the workers and their families.
The EPA added Eagle Harbor to the Superfund site list in 1987, when environmental investigations revealed extensive contamination in soils, groundwater, and sediment on the bottom of Eagle Harbor. Work to clean up the soil and groundwater at the former wood treating facility continues today. To read more about the important work being done, check out BI Metro Park & Recreation District’s website.
Port Madison Sketches, 1886 – 1897
Port Madison Sketches, 1886 - 1897
Thomas Beaton was master ship carpenter for the Port Madison Mill Company, which George Meigs owned. Beaton’s daughter, Etta, was familiar with George Meigs and his daughter Lillian. Etta drew a number of sketches, which we have in our collection and are sharing with you today.
This sketch shows a building identified as “Sunny Side Ranch,” drawn by Etta Beaton on August 10, 1897 when she was 17 years old. Sunny Side Ranch was likely a nickname for the Beaton family home.
Subject of the sketch below is identified as “Lillian C. Meigs / June 1886.”
Sketch of George Meigs likely drawn by Etta Beaton around 1890. Text reads, “G.A. Meigs / On a pedestrian tour to ‘the farm.’ / Eighty miles a day.
Rotary Auction and Rummage Sale
Rotary Auction and Rummage sale
The motto, “Service Above Self,” truly exemplifies Rotary International and our own local Bainbridge chapter. Formed in 1905 in Chicago by three friends wanting to rekindle hometown friendliness, the name came from the practice of meeting in “rotation” at various members places of business. Since then, Rotary has grown into an organization with 1.2 million members and more than 35,000 clubs worldwide today.
The Rotary Club of Bainbridge Island held its first meeting on July 1, 1947 at Lynwood Center. Over the past five years, our club has raised more than $5 million for community grants, construction projects, scholarships and other worthy causes. This generosity stems largely from their annual Rotary Auction and Rummage Sale.
Our Museum has benefited directly from Rotary’s commitment to community. Rotarians helped to move the present School House from the High School to Strawberry Hill Park, where it became the Historical Museum. Rotary members jumped in again to build a “sturdy porch” so people could get in the building and countless other improvements, including a new roof in 1998.
This year, the Rotary Auction and Rummage Sale will be held July 8, and donations will be accepted June 30 through July 5. More information on the event can be found here. Thank you, Rotary, for making a difference in our community!
Winslow High School Girl’s Basketball Team
Winslow High School Girl's Basketball Team, 1924
James Naismith invented basketball in 1891. He created it as a safer, less injury-prone sport to football. One year later, Senda Berenson introduced women’s basketball at Smith College.
Senda was an advocate for mandatory physical education for women. She saw basketball as an engaging way to get girls to exercise. Yet, she felt the men’s style of gameplay was too rough. She worked with her classes to modify the rules for women.
- The number of players on each team increased.
- The court was divided into three regions: Forward, Center, Guard
- Players were prohibited from leaving the assigned region.
- No dribbling the ball more than three times.
- No holding the ball for more than three seconds.
- No snatching the ball from an opponent.
In the early years of the sport, men were not allowed to watch the games. The modesty of the players was carefully considered. Uniforms were designed to be practical, yet maintain dignity and femininity. The first pants were loose and covered by a knee-length skirt. These early pants were replaced soon after by loose bloomers over stockings.
This photo of the Winslow High School Girl’s Basketball team was taken in 1924. The photo perfectly captures the evolution of girls’ basketball. The short and manageable hairstyles. The uniforms of loose bloomers over stockings. The dress shoes. The outfits showcase modesty and presentability over comfort and function. These girls are the epitome of a female basketball player in the 1920’s.
Norval Hall was a compound on the shore of Port Madison built by Norval Hastings Latimer as a summer home for his family. Latimer, President and director of Dexter Horton & Co. Bank beginning in 1910, lived with his wife, Margaret Moore, seven sons, and one daughter in Seattle.
In this photo, you can faintly make out the words Norval Hall spelled out in the garden. The property had a tennis court, outdoor bowling, and easy access to the beach. It also had a large hall for dancing which later became a pool hall.
In 1920, Latimer sold the property to Dexter Horton Bank as a Club House for their 160 employees. The home could accommodate 60 people at a time. The bank employed a husband and wife to care for the grounds and the home. Employees who visited Norval Hall had to pay 25 cents a day or 35 cents for overnight stays. Meals cost; 40 cents for breakfast, 50 cents for lunch, and 60 cents for dinner. The bank paid for any other charges.
The home sold sometime between 1923 and 1925 to John H. Perry, a newspaper publisher from New York.
Norval Hall burned down in 1929. The home had a caretaker but had been empty for four years until the fire. An automobile gas tank exploding near the home was believed to be the cause of the fire.
Port Madison Bell
Port Madison Bell
Have you seen the bell at the top of Fay Bainbridge Park and wondered about its story? The bell is closely tied to the histories of Port Madison and Norval Latimer, both focuses of previous collection finds.
The bell was initially purchased for a proposed school in Port Madison in the early 1880’s. Before the school was completed, Mr. Meigs turned the building over to county officials to serve as a court house, since Port Madison was the county seat for Kitsap County at the time.
The bell was placed in the Community Hall to serve for church and Sunday school uses until the Mill closed and the hall became unsafe. Eventually, Mr. Latimer took the bell and placed it over the entrance to his smaller summer home in Port Madison, Bell-Vista.
The bell was transferred out of private ownership and returned to the community of Port Madison thanks to efforts of the Bainbridge Island Unit of the Kitsap County Historical Association. Today, the bell rests at Fay Bainbridge Park on a stone pedestal furnished by the Parks Department.
More than a fashion statement, these hat pins in the BIHM Collection are a symbol of social issues and female ingenuity.
In the 1880s, hatpins became more prevalent and as hat sizes swelled and the pin size grew accordingly. Newspapers reported on injuries incurred by the large pins. In 1899, The Seattle Daily Times printed a story from London of a woman’s hat blowing into the face of a man sitting behind her. The point of the hatpin entered his right eye.
Another news story from 1903 tells of a Kansas woman’s interaction with a “masher,” a lecherous or predatory man, on a New York stagecoach. The stagecoach was crowded that day and passengers jostled about. The man took advantage of the situation, putting his arm on the woman’s waist. She responded by brandishing her nearly foot-long hatpin to stab him in the arm.
As more stories of injury, by accident or in self-defense, increased, some people called for regulation of the pins. Between 1909 and 1910, many cities in the US passed laws to limit the length of hatpins to 9 inches and/or to require a covering on the pin tip.
In 1910, the Seattle City Council proposed an ordinance to limit the length of hatpins. A Seattle Post-Intelligencer article from that year exposed different sides of this hot topic.
Euphemia Nisel, a cashier at the College Inn, stated the importance of hat pins for women that work into the evening. She thought that limiting the length of pins would deprive women of “her most trusted weapon of defense.” Ida M. Jayne Weaver, president of the Women’s Commercial Club, favored the ordinance to shorten pin length to protect the public “against the carelessness of those who wear long hat pins.”
In 1913, Seattle passed an ordinance regulating that a pin could not project more than 1 ¼ inch from the hat. Punishment for violating this ordinance was up to a $100 fine or up to 30 days in jail. (This ordinance was repealed in 1967.)
We don’t have exact dates for these hatpins in BIHM’s Collection. Nor do we have any evidence that they were used in self-defense. The gold bird and amethyst accented pins are both 10 inches long, suggesting they likely pre-date the length ordinances. At 6 inches, the golf club pin is a probably a later style.
Regardless of design, the hatpin served several useful purposes and with its demise, we are left to ponder how women can continue to protect themselves from the inevitable “masher.”
Ralph Munro’s Merit Badges
Ralph Munro's Merit Badges
Ralph Munro earned these 4 Boy Scout Merit Badges in 1956 – 1957 as part of Troop 496 which was sponsored by the American Legion. The troop was active from 1940 – 1980.
Ralph remembers,“It was a tremendous learning experience for all of us boys. We had some great Scoutmasters and leaders. Hal Plummer, Keith McCormic, Ray Shawley, etc. We met at the American Legion Hall and those members were always willing to help us with projects and programs.”
To receive the Fishing Badge, Ralph recalls he had to describe various fresh and salt water fish and “catch a fish and clean it for eating.” His dad, an electrician, helped him to earn the Home Repair Badge.
It’s not surprising that Ralph, a 5-time Washington Secretary of State (1981-2001) did the necessary work to earn two citizenship badges. For the Citizenship in the Home Badge, he “had to explain to my counselor how a home could be the best place to learn about citizenship and how to teach citizenship to young people in the home.”
One requirement for the Citizenship in the Community Badge was to interview a local elected or appointed citizen leader. Ralph interviewed Walt Woodward, then editor of the Bainbridge Island Review. “He was very sweet to me and helped me to learn a lot about practicing good citizenship in our community.”
Founded in 1910, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) created merit badges to reward learning about the values of the Scout Oath and Law.
Welcome to the Blog!
June 11, 2020
We’re excited to welcome you to the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum (BIHM) Blog. Given recent circumstances, finding new ways to communicate virtually has become a necessity. We hope this new platform will be a fun and helpful way to stay connected.