Saturday, April 28, 2012

Getting there Ninety Years Ago

Ninety years ago on April 27, 1922, Hubert Secor launched his bus service to "town." He is seen above with his Pierce Arrow bus in front of the Sweeney Block at the head of the bay. The bus carried 28 passengers plus the mail twice a day to Tacoma for ten years. The fare was 25 cents, plus the ferry toll.  However, no one was ever charged just to ride around Gig Harbor to do errands.

Secor left home about 6 a.m. in order to complete his first run by 8 a.m. so people could get to school and work on time.  He finished his day at 6 p.m. Gig Harbor had no high school before the fall of 1922, so Stadium High School in Tacoma was the nearest school.  The bus ran seven days a week, with Secor the only driver.  He once drove 28 months without a day off.

By 1928, a second bus was added, driven by Orville Hemphill.  He drove his bus from 8 to 8.  Both drivers earned $4.40 a day.  

Besides the free rides around town, Hubert was known to pick up items for housewives who couldn't get into town themselves.  He would take a bit of thread to match, or pick up packages upon request.

Hubert Blaine Secor was born in Longmont, Colorado, in 1904.  His family moved here in 1907.  Hubert went to Stadium High School by taking the steamer Crest each day.  After graduation, he worked at the telephone company in Tacoma, where he met his future wife Mary.

He sold his business to the Tacoma Bus Company in 1931, but continued to drive the route.  By 1934, he was ready for a change.  He and Mary opened the Minterbrook Oyster Company on the Key Peninsula.  In 1964, he was elected the fourth Mayor of Gig Harbor, serving until suffering a stroke in 1969.  He died in 1972 at the age of 80.

Linda McCowen, Historic Photos Editor
© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

April 25, 1880, Sunday

On this day, Emmett Hunt wrote in his diary "Walked up to Bob Murray's but find him absent so went ... to funeral - Burston's child play preacher while I go to Mr Chamber's at night."

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Charles Edward Trombley and The Peninsula Gateway

Gateway press
Gateway office
C.E. Trombley

Charles Edward Trombley was born in Hemlock, Michigan. He was married in 1902 and in 1904 he and his wife moved to Jamaica, Iowa where it appears he started his newspaper career. He moved his family again in 1907 to Tillamook, Oregon, where he owned and operated a newspaper. 

In August 1923, Trombley moved with his wife and three children to Gig Harbor where he purchased the Bay Island News. The Deed of Sale of the newspaper was signed by F.S. Drummond, Gig Harbor Printing Company, by C.O. Austin, and J.B. Fuller. As you will see he made an excellent decision in buying this paper.

The Bay Island News was started in May 1917 as a weekly paper by Ira Case, Editor/Owner and Homer S. Mohr, Assistant Editor and was published in Burton, Washington

Their mission statement read: “The paper will be purely local, its policy will be to build up, never tear down. It will aim to cover the field without partiality. We will have no favorites insofar as locations may be concerned. Each community will be largely depended upon to build up its local columns; we want the news, all of it. With this and your individual cooperation our mission will be mutually successful.”  

We want 500 partners in this newspaper enterprise at once.  One dollar pays your subscription for a whole year.”

By March, 1922, the Bay Island News was including columns representing news from the communities of Burley, Midway, Glencove, Wauna, Purdy, Shore Acres, Warren, Fox Island, and Longbranch.

Trombley changed the name of the newspaper to The Peninsula Gateway and published it for 30 years until his death in October, 1953. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Gig Harbor is 124 years old this week

Dr. Alfred Mark Burnham and his second wife Rachel filed the plat for Gig Harbor on April 19, 1888.  The town extended from their farm near Donkey Creek to the head of the bay, now marked by the Bogue Viewpoint Park on North Harborview.  They had arrived in 1886 after slowly working their way west from Minnesota, finding the harbor a very welcome place to settle.

They quickly became friends with their neighbors and knew it was where they wanted to put down their roots.  Having purchased land from Sam Jeresich, one of the first white settlers, Burnham offered free lots to anyone willing to build a house and paint it white.

Dr. Burnham opened his store at the head of the bay, which had a wide variety of goods to sell as well as a small stage where small plays were performed.  He produced his own newspaper.  As he was a physician, the paper had medical advice and  patent medicine ads.  

The Burnham family is pictured above seated on the porch of their white house near the creek.  At left is son Nick, Biz, Rachel, Alfred, Luella, and Frank.  An unknown neighbor is at right.  Lower left is a portrait of Dr. Burnham and at right is Rachel with her dog Prince.

Dr. Burnham died in 1896 at the age of 72.  Rachel lived until age 88, passing away in 1933.

Linda McCowen, Historic Photo Editor
© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

April 18, 1880, Sunday

On this day, Emmett Hunt wrote in his diary "Cool and unpleasant.  Went to church as usual after which I spent my time with good company and listened to fine music."

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Dr. Ivanovich credit to Gig Harbor

Did You Know?  Dr. Peter T. Ivanovich was awarded a Shield of High Honor by the Japanese for his work in the field of dialysis and kidney transplant in 1975?

Dr. Ivanovich is the son of Mato and Maria Ivanovich. Peter attended Lincoln Elementary School in downtown Gig Harbor (site of today's Church of Latter Day Saints), and graduated from Bellarmine Prep, Seattle University, and St. Louis University School of Medicine.

Dr. Ivanovich pioneered in the field of dialysis and was director of chronic-dialysis and research for the Spokane Inland Empire Artificial Kidney Center of Sacred Heart Hospital during the early development of dialysis.  He developed a pilot cooperative program for transplantation and maintenance of dialysis patients. 

He served as consultant, director, and adviser in numerous other hospital and university programs and wrote intensively on all aspects of kidney disease.

In 1979, Dr. Peter T. Ivanovich at age 50 was promoted to full professorship with tenure at Northwestern University’s Medical School.  It usually took 10 years for a person to be elevated from associate professor to a full professorship. He had only joined Northwestern University in 1975.  He also served as chief of the hemodialysis unit of the Veterans Administration Lakeside Hospital in Illinois.

At that time, he ran the artificial kidney program, was in charge of dialysis, and the head of the peritoneal dialysis program. A list of his credentials ran 24 single spaced legal-sized pages in 1975.  Can you imagine what it would run today?

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Shenandoah Restoration Project "ramping" up

Early photo of F/V Shenandoah - in her prime!

The Shenandoah restoration volunteers  - a great group of guys - are getting started tomorrow on building the stairs that will provide access to the boat's aft deck.  This is something we've been anticipating for many months now. Shipwright Nate Slater will direct his crew on building the staircase, which will provide access for the working volunteers on the weekends, and eventually visitor access in the coming months.  Just think of sitting in the cabin having a cup of coffee, listening to some of Gig Harbor's own fishermen telling their true stories of the great fishing days...Later this year, that will happen!

If you haven't stopped by the museum on a weekend, now is the time to see the restoration crew in action. The workshop is up and running and several safety projects have been completed in preparation for work now beginining on the boat itself.

If you want to join in the restoration, please stop in on a Saturday or Sunday and talk to Nate, or Warren - the project coordinator.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Crest Leaving the Harbor

The recent warm spring weather reminds us what a wonderful place Gig Harbor is.  Getting out on the water is a great way to appreciate it whether by rowboat of steamboat.

You can just imagine what a fine day it is as this young girl sets out for a row at the mouth of the harbor.   Suddenly, she hears the familiar chug of a steam engine and sees the Crest gaining on her and decides to drift ashore and watch it pass.  The steamer was headed for Tacoma and Vashon Island in this 1905 photograph.

On this day...Emmett Hunt's Diary

Emmett Hunt's DiaryOn this day April 11, 1880, Sunday, Emmett wrote in his diary "Again am I at church and with the range of the reverberating and echoing >>> which issues forth like distant thunder from the dentist office of our beloved Mr. Wickson."

Meet Emmett Hunt...

Emmett was the second son of Miles B. and Maritta Hunt. The family homesteaded at Wollochet Bay in 1877. Miles established one of the first post offices in our area near Wollochet Bay and called it Artondale. Emmett was 18 years old at the time.

Emmett took his teacher’s examination in 1878 and opened what was called Artondale School.  But he was also a traveling teacher and taught school in Puyallup, South Prairie and Roy as well as in Artondale.

Emmett was one of the first to provide steamboat travel in south Puget Sound. His small boats were part of the famous Mosquito Fleet. His brothers (six of them) would eventually join him at some point as steamboat operators and owners. It was said by his competitors that Emmett always had a hand up in the industry because there were enough brothers to supply any help he needed...while the other operators had to depend upon hired help!

In 1881 at age 22 Emmett began his venture into the steamer business when he bought the contract to carry mail between Steilacoom and Artondale. Rowing was too hard, even for a young man such as himself, so he built his first small steamboat to carry the mail and, to make more money, cargo. Eventually, as his business grew his brothers joined him. They transported passengers and cargo, including lumber and livestock. It wasn't an easy job, what with the competition, and sometimes he barely broke even.

Emmett lived in the Gig Harbor area until his dear wife, Henrietta, died from complications of child birth. His business was not as successful as he had hoped so there was no reason to stay. At the age of 49, Emmett moved to North Central Washington and became a farmer.  He eventually returned to the area and helped when needed in his brother's steamboat business. He died in 1933.

The original Emmett Hunt diaries are in the collection of the Puget Sound Maritime Society. All but one diary has survived.

 © 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The verdict is visitors are loving our new exhibit "With a Loving Eye: The Photographs of Jini Dellaccio."  Reading through the comments in the "Dear Jini..." guestbook, people are in awe of Jini's beautiful and compelling black and white imagery.  Saying "large format prints" just doesn't do justice to the 26 framed images on display. Haunting, beautiful, powerful, wonderful, incredible...these are just a few words used in the "Dear Jini" comments to describe her photography.

Museum staff and our collaborators from the Jini Dellaccio Collection have been planning this exhibit for several years, so please come down and see these works of art and learn about Jini Dellaccio and her legacy.  What a thrill it is to have this exhibit here...and to provide a beautiful exhibit gallery just for Jini!

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Talking to Dick Brynestad of Gig Harbor

Dick Brynestad is a happy man. Wouldn't you be happy to live in the place which you always loved, to have five great kids, fourteen grandkids and ten greatgrandkids plus a loving wife of 60 years and lots of things to do? I would.

As a salmon returns to the place where it was born, Dick made a circle and returned to the area where his grandparents settled down back in 1910.
And not only he and his wife, Rosemary, live here, but also four of his children. He loves Gig Harbor and Wollochet Bay full circle from Tacoma, Gig Harbor, Fox Island, Longbranch and back to Gig Harbor - 82 years in this area and occasional trips, 11 to be exact, to the country of his ancestors' origin, Norway.

Click on the pictures to enlarge them
Dick Brynestad, March 2012

Have you ever been to Norway? They say it looks a lot like the Pacific Northwest. This is what the first settlers wrote to their relatives and friends back to Norway: It looks like home! Come over and get some land! And they came. Dick's grandparents, Jens and Maria, made a stop in Minnesota for several years on their way from Norway and then arrived in Cromwell where they bought 5 acres of land and started a farm in 1910.

Timber was heavily harvested by the first settlers on the Kitsap Peninsula such that the land actually became covered by huge stumps.
To remove them, dynamite was used, and what's left was pulled by horses, taken away and burned. Eventually, the land was improved for planting and harvesting tomatoes for the Tacoma market.

Tomatoes grew well on the sunny hills and were a big part of Brynestad family's income. Dick's Dad, Melvin, used to water them carrying a yoke with buckets for hours. He would finish the watering job, tell his father and often hear a reply: 'Well, now do it again!' Tomatoes were placed in wooden boxes nailed together by Melvin and then loaded on a steamboat. The steamboat delivered them to Tacoma where they were sold. Things did not always went as planned. Weather and currents sometimes changed a steamboat's schedule. Consequently, tomatoes were spoiled, and losses occurred.
On the right - home of Jens and Maria Brynestad.
On the left - Hales Passage Scandinavian Lutheran Church

Dick's Grandfather, Jens, passed away on the front porch of his home on the farm playing violin for his family and group of neighbors.
Melvin Brynestad, with his brother and five sisters, grew up on that farm and after his father died, moved with his mother, Maria, to Tacoma.
He used to come back and spend all of his spare time in Cromwell hanging around with other kids, fishing, having bonfires, swimming, etc.
Here, in Cromwell, he met his future wife, Palma. She also lived in Tacoma and used to come over to Cromwell to visit her family friends. The friends' family had a 20-acre farmstead next to Brynestad's.
How did they travel from Tacoma before the bridge was built? By a boat of course. Not a sailboat, but a steamboat and a rowboat!
Daughters to Jens and Maria Brynestad seated in rowboat from left to right:
Julia, Ruth, Cora, Anna with niece Amanda Muri. 
Location: Cromwell beach in front of Hales Passage Scandinavian Lutheran Church

Melvin Brynestad and his wife lived in Tacoma, but he always wanted to build a family cabin for them in Cromwell, the Wollochet Bay area.
He was out of work, as many others, during the Great Depression and couldn't afford to buy all the necessary building materials for the cabin. Fortunately, a work opportunity helped. He had been hired to tear down a house in Tacoma. There were some materials he could use for the construction.

But how to move them from Tacoma to Wollochet Bay? By ferry! What if you can't afford to pay the ferry fare? He loaded the materials on the top of his car, drove it to Tiltow beach, reloaded it there to the rowboat and rowed the materials to their building site at Wollochet Bay.
As you can guess, it wasn't an easy trip. Currents and tides could take boats past Tiltow beach to as far as Point Defiance.
Finally, the cabin was built - originally, on Melvin's brother-in-law's land and then later moved to the adjacent property after Melvin was able to buy it.

Dick Brynestad was born in 1929. From the time he was 18 months old, he has been visiting the Wollochet Bay cabin, which became a part of his life.
All summers and many weekends were spent there the same way as his father did many years ago - playing with local kids, helping grandparents and enjoying the great outdoors.
Four houses on Wollochet Bay belonged to Squally Indians, who were fishermen, and Dick remembers how he and his sister used to play with the Indian kids every summer.
Later, the little cabin was replaced by a house. Melvin Brynestad was a carpenter by trade.

There are many memories about living on Wollochet Bay in Dick and Rosemary's family. All their kids are also attached to this place. The kids of the kids are attached to this place too. There are 6 generations of Brynestad's who have enjoyed and still enjoy the Wollochet Bay scenery, fresh air, majestic sunsets and other pleasures of life in the Wollochet Bay area.
When asked what his favorite thing about Gig Harbor was, Dick replied "I like the slower pace of life and the old Gig Harbor waterfront." He also said his favorite place to eat is the Tides Tavern. "A bowl of clam chowder and a plate of sweet potato fries are our usual meal there."
 Tatyana Searcy

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Hunting Easter Eggs

Children scatter through City Park on Vernhardson Street in search of Easter Eggs in this Frank Owen Shaw photo dated April 13, 1952.  This was the first Annual Easter Egg Hunt in the park.  Looks like the weather was a bit warmer in 1952!

Emmett Hunt's Diary & Did You Know?

Looking Back in History on This Day in 1880 and Did You Know?

Don’t you think it would be fun to follow Emmett Hunt's days as he spent them?  We’ll start in 1880 and continue on through the years.  For those of you who keep a diary you can see at a glance how your day in 2012 and Emmett’s day in 1880 were alike, and how they differed.  Emmett’s diary was chosen because he was a prolific diarist. More on the life of Emmett later!

Captain William J. Duley

As you discovered in last week’s entry, a little behind People’s Wharf was 10 acres for picnicking and dancing in 1895.

Let’s explore a little history about who was responsible for these grounds and why.

In 1893 the Gig Harbor land around the bay consisted of 578 acres on the south side and 638 acres on the north side.  This land belonged to the Federal Government and was under the supervision of Captain W. J. Duley.  On March 7, 1893 the people living in Gig Harbor petitioned Congress to sell the land to the settlers already here in parcels of 10 acres at a price of $2.50 per acre.  This petition was signed by 134 people; 102 of those took up claims on the land. What resulted was House Bill No. 342 was introduced to Congress providing Gig Harbor and Millville Military Reserves open for settlement.  As required, the Bill was read twice and on December 8, 1895 referred to the Committee on Military Affairs and ordered to be printed signifying passage.