Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Emmett Hunt's Diary Entry August 14, 1889

Somewhat clear with quite a shower at midnight --- Lay around till night then steamed to shingle mill in West Passage with scow.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

District 37, Crescent Valley School District, Gig Harbor

District 37, Crescent Valley School District, Gig Harbor

Joseph Goodman - He first lived in Samuel Jeresich's cabin behind spit, but since area was military reservation, he built home and farm in Crescent Valley (Crescent Drive near Drummond intersection)

Joseph and Rose Goodman, along with their children, arrived in the Gig Harbor area in 1883.  Joseph was a Civil War veteran having served in the 45 Wisconsin Voluntary Infantry.  The education of their children was of foremost importance.  This is why three of their children remained in Tacoma to finish high school when they arrived.  At first Joseph taught his and the Jeresich children in the evenings after he finished his farm chores.  By 1886 the local Gig Harbor tribe of the Puyallup-Nisqually tribe loaned him their potlatch house to use as a schoolhouse.  His daughter Anna was employed as the teacher, and now the student body included the Novak children as well as the Jeresich and Goodman children. 

The community was experiencing growth, which meant a new school house was needed.  In 1887, the school house was finished, but before a teacher could be hired the citizens needed to form a school district.  Joseph Goodman took it upon himself to see that this was done.  As Therese Hogan wrote in her “The Early Years of Education in the Gig Harbor Area and the Goodman Family”, August 9, 2000 paper:  Joseph Goodman walked several miles to get a petition signed and to conduct a census.  He walked north along the Kitsap County Line, west to Purdy, east to The Sound.  The southern point is unknown as to where he walked but his effort resulted in one of the largest school districts in the area.  He obtain the names of every school age child.  At this time funds were allowed to schools for the number of school age children in an area, although they were not required to attend.  With the documentation of a proposed school district and the names and head count of school age children Joseph Goodman traveled across The Narrows by row boat, 10 miles to Tacoma, and met with the County Superintendent of Schools and “others”.  His proposal mapped the largest school district in the area, which would be designated District #37.  Joseph Goodman was a trustee and a clerk of the school board for many years.”.

This area became Crescent Valley School District #37.  The Harbor History Museum has a hand drawn map of the area which identifies it as:  beginning at the point where the shoreline of Puget Sound known as Colvos Passage intersects the north boundary line of Pierce County T 22 N R 2 E thence west to N W For. of Sec. 17 in said T & R thence south to S W For of Sec 29 thence west to N W For of Sec 31 thence south to SW For of Sec 7 T 21 N R 2 E thence east to the intersection of the said line with the shoreline of Puget Sound thence along said shore line in northernly direction to place of beginning.  There was a conflict in the descriptions of boundaries with District # 36, both of them evidently being given section 31.  It was left with District #37.  Later (5/3/1912) the Lincoln School District in Gig Harbor was formed of most of the lower half of sections 5 and 6, section 8 and most of section 7.  Earlier when #79 was formed part of the southeast corner of 7 had been transferred to it.”

The school District as described above contains numerous land patents, and there are no land patents associated with the district itself.  By 1941, all the greater Gig Harbor Community schools were incorporated into on district, that being Peninsula School District #401. 

In 1887 another building had been constructed to house the school and the students fas the student free as more people settled in the area, and the school district identified was so very large.
Crescent Valley School, Winter

By 1915 another new school building, which we currently remembered as the Crescent Valley School aka The Masonic Temple was built.  This last building is still standing and is located at 3025 96th Street NW, Gig Harbor.  (It was recently purchased by the City of Gig Harbor and adjoins the City Park).  It was built by E. L. Major & F. C. Bradshaw of Olalla, WA.  Unfortunately I have been unable to trace these two men.
Crescent Valley School, West Side with fire escapes - 1948

Crescent Valley School, Rear View, Boys bathroom at end of woodshed, Steps leading up to main floor.  March 1948.  Frank Owen Shaw

The following information was found in the Research Room at the Harbor History Museum.

“The following material was written by Mrs. John H. Insel for the Tacoma News Tribune:

“When the Crescent Valley school building is sold this Saturday at public auction to the highest bidder, another district school will join “the little red school house” in history.

“This notable landmark, located at the head of Crescent Valley, one half mile northeast of Gig Harbor, was constructed in 1915 by Pierce County School district No. 37 to provide a school for the large number of children in the fast growing community.  Heretofore, the children had attended the two room school house which was built in 1887 at he head of the bay on a site donated by Dr. A. M. Burnham who came to Gig Harbor in 1884.  The building has since been divided, one room now houses the Peninsula Gateway, weekly newspaper at Gig Harbor, and the other is a part of the Edward New house.

“Directors of the district at the time the Crescent Valley School was built were Peter Alvestad, Homer Benson, and Arthur Peterson.  The two story frame building with its distinctive tower that is visible at a long distance was dedicated in August, 1915, with Principal Nash of the Bellingham Normal School giving the main address.  Contractors who erected the structure were Major and Bradshaw of Gig Harbor.  The building originally had two rooms, but an increase in enrollment necessitated building a third room in the basement.

“The first primary teacher was Miss Lucy Goodman of Crescent Valley and the other teacher was a Professor Hatch.”

In a later column, Mrs. Insel tells of the sale of the school and the plans for he future use of the building and site:  

“Plans for a new Masonic temple on the site of the Crescent Valley school, one-hale mile northeast of Gig Harbor, were announced Saturday by the Masonic Temple Association.  Excavation for foundations and basement will be started as soon as weather permits.  The second story and tower of the school building which occupies the site will be razed and the interior of the lower floor will be remodeled to conform to the new architectural plan for the building.

“‘Architects’ plans, drawn by Mock & Morrison of Tacoma, show that a 30 X 39 foot addition with basement will be built on to the west end of the present structure.  The first floor level will have a 38 X 46 lodge auditorium, an adjacent anteroom and preparation room.  The basement, besides a 30 X 40 foot banquet and social hall, will contain a modern, fully equipped kitchen.

“There are separate chapter rooms for Waconda Chapter, No. 217, Order of the Eastern Star, and Waconda assembly, No. 122, Order of Rainbow for Girls.

“At present the Masonic Lodge is housed in private quarters in the Community Hall.”

A newspaper article, presumably Tacoma News Tribune although note noted, tells us that the drive to acquire a new lodge building originally started in 1943.  At the time they were meeting in private quarters in the Community Hall, owned by Herman Uddenberg, Post No. 1854, VFW.  The Masonic group then formed the Gig Harbor Masonic Temple Association in 1946.  Byron L . Conan was the worshipful master of the John Paul Jones Lodge.  

A booklet entitled “Freemasons in Gig Harbor” written and produced by Joe Hoots in 1997 tells us that the Masons were active in Gig Harbor and Key Peninsula area prior to 1920, although much of its history has disappeared.  However the booklet provides much history of the organization from the 1940s forward.  He states that “We do know that eighteen local sojourning Masons became charter members that established John Paul Jones #271 F & AM in 1926.”

The City of Gig Harbor Parks Page has this to say about the adjoining park:  Located at 3303 Vernhardson Street, Crescent Creek Park is still known to long-time residents as "City Park". The park's large, open air structure, natural creekbed, and specimen trees represent an important historic landscape that embodies Gig Harbor’s early rural lifestyle. It was the first (and for many years) only park within city limits. It signifies a national economic period of significance with architectural characteristics of a type, method of design, and construction typical of WPA projects around the country. Although the Park is not currently listed, the WPA structures at City Park are eligible for Gig Harbor's Register of Historic Places.
The site was originally owned by Crescent Valley School (built 1915) and was used as a playground.

The first homesteaders to stake claims in the Crescent Valley appeared as early as 1883, and made a living off the valley land through ranching, farming, and dairy operations. In 1915, the Crescent Valley School was built and remained the primary school house for the valley until it closed at the end of the 1946-1947 school year. Crescent Valley School owned the stretch of land along Vernhardson Street upon which the WPA recreational structures had been built near Crescent Creek. With the school set to close, the school board donated this piece of land to the town of Gig Harbor in 1946 to be used as a park. This park soon became known simply as Town Park. 
Now, at the end of 2017, we await to discover what the City of Gig Harbor has in store for this property.

  • Old Town, Gladys Para
  • The Early Years of Education in the Gig Harbor Area and the Goodman Family by Therese Hogan, August 9, 2000
  • Tacoma Public Library Northwest Room
  • Harbor History Museum, Research Room document with Mrs. Insel’s article
  • Washington Dept of Archaeology & Historic Preservation
  • City of Gig Harbor Parks

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Emmett Hunt's Diary Entry August 7, 1889

Very pleasant indeed.  Lay around in AM and in PM took a picnic party to Chaintauqua returning at 12 undrnight and dropped our port wheel as we finished our landing.  So again we are laid up.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Emmett Hunt's Diary Entry July 31, 1889

Weather unchanged.  This morn found us at Little Skookum and immediately upon arrival we let go the scow and returned reaching Tac. at 10:53 - then work on the books.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Reuben Hassler Berkheimer (1894-1978)

Reuben Hassler Berkheimer (1894-1978)

Imagine you are a 15 year old who has moved from a railroad town on the East Coast with the largest repair and construction facility in the world known for it’s profitability and production.  You, and your parents, have left Altoona, PA, where you were born and moved across the country.  A year was spent in Shelby, Ohio where you father took a construction job, before moving on to the West Coast.

We don’t know what caused Alonzo M. Berkheimer in 1908 to pack up his family and move across the country, we can only guess.  Alonzo was not a railroad man , he was a house carpenter.  He might have seen articles in the various newspapers of the time talking about the spurt of growth growing up around the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.  Or perhaps it was the news about the construction project for Dry-Dock No. 2 at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, a $2 million construction project.  It would be the Navy’s largest dry-dock and the only one on the West Coast capable of handling the largest naval vessels.  Of course, there were the rumors from Europe about the unrest and revolutions.  That meant military projects, and wouldn’t that mean work for a carpenter?

According to history “the February 1909 issue of Coast magazine described the town:  “Bremerton has a population of about 3,000 souls, and is daily adding to its numbers.  The business interests are large and increasing.  On every hand is seen the widest activities in all lines of business.  A large saw mill, ice and cold storage, lumber yards are located here and groceries, dry goods stores, boot and shoe stores, bakeries, restaurants, hotels, saloons and all kinds of business departments are numbers and thriving.  New, substantial brick and concrete business blocks, public halls, several hotels, one of which is a large three-story structure, and countless numbers of residences of a lasting and permanent nature are now under construction or just being completed” (Coast, p. 112)”

Sounds to me as though a carpenter would look upon news like that as a good omen, don’t you?  We’ll never know what Alonzo thought though.

According to the Bremerton City Directory, the family had arrived by 1909 because Reuben got a job as a messenger even though he was still in school.  The City Directory goes on to state that in 1911, Alonzo was working for Erickson Construction.  However the US Census report for 1910 shows Alonzo as “helper machinist” at the Navy Yard.

Perhaps Alonzo’s health was declining because by 1913-15 he is a janitor, and dies in 1916 at age 53.  Reuben now becomes the sole support of his mother, Mary.  She also contributes working as a dressmaker which she has in all the census reports I found.

Reuben is an ambitious young man:  in 1913 he works as an electrical helper at the Naval Shipyard; 1915 he is associated with Regan & Berkheimer; 1917 when he registers for WWI draft he is janitor in the public schools; 1923 an inspector at the Shipyard.  

He marries Anna C. Gustofson in 1919 in Seattle. In 1920 they moved to Seattle and Reuben gets a job as an electrical for a radio station.  

I don’t find them in Gig Harbor until on the 1930 US Census report they are shown as living in Gig Harbor.  Although his obituary states that he came to Gig Harbor in 1927.  This is the first time, Reuben’s occupation is shown as a merchant.  An exhibit at the Harbor History Museum shows in 1933 the Berkheimer Hardware store was located where the Threshold (Russell) Building is now located.  If you recall reading Barbara Ogden Pearson’s blog, she and her sister would row across the bay, leaving her rowboat at Berkheimer’s, and go to school.
History map of downtown Gig Harbor - Harbor History Museum (iPhone photo)
Reuben joined the other businessmen in forming the Gig Harbor Chapter of the Lion’s Club in 1931  and is shown as president 1931-1933.  He was also a member of the John Paul Jones Masonic Lodge, the Scottish Rite organizations and the Shrine.  

Did he close the hardware store in 1936 when the Novak Hotel burned down since they were adjacent properties?  Did he close because of the Depression; Gig Harbor’s economy was affected too.  It did not escape the financial disaster.  I haven’t found the answer to that question.
Shows shop signs for businesses located on street floor of Peninsula Hotel.  Pic-'N-Pay in right back.  Grover C.Crawford on right; John Cosulich on left.  John Galbraith owned Pic-"n-Pay.  R.H. Berkheimer had hardware store there first.  From Marie Gustafson. Harbor History Museum Collection
In 1940 US Census he is back in Bremerton working at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard as an electrician.  Despite searching I was unable to find a street address or the radio station where he was working.

in the Gig Harbor, A Century Ago blog, it is mentioned that he had a ‘six-piece orchestra’ which played at the dances at the Silver Glide.  For the dances there during Prohibition in the 1920s, he must have traveled to Gig Harbor from either Bremerton or Seattle since again he was living in Seattle in 1920 and doesn’t show up in any of the records I found on  Gig Harbor until the 1930 Census, though if he moved to Gig Harbor in 1927 as his obituary states he still would have missed the Prohibition era locally.  

Although he spent the majority of his working life in Bremerton, he did leave his name and reputation in Gig Harbor as an important businessman in helping to build the success of this community.  He also lived in Gig Harbor from 1930 until his death in 1978.  

I only wish he, his wife or his daughter had left us an oral biographical history.


© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Emmett Hunt's Diary Entry July 24, 1889

Calm smoky and warm.

At 10:25 steamed out to Vashon with the Morrisons - Herriot wedding party returning in evening & make good run and land all satisfied.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Emmett Hunt's Diary Entry July 17, 1889

Sunny & hot --Got around to the Cove unloaded on machinery and then into the city where we washed up and then in eve took a MethodistPicnic to Des Moines returning at 12

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.