Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Town of Gig Harbor Incorporated

First City Hall occupied the back rooms of Pioneer Electric Co., now Kit Kuhn's Jewelry store.
Mayor Ryan, dentist, was conveniently next door.  
After World War II, the needs of the community had risen to point that Gig Harbor needed a mayor and town council.  However, just like today, there were many opinions and much discussion about the subject.

CE Shaw, local sign painter and Gig Harbor promoter, was definitely against it.  He felt the taxes would be too high.  However, Judge H R Thurston was definitely for it.  Letters were published in the Peninsula Gateway newspaper supporting each side.

The first vote was held September 1945.  It failed by thirteen votes.  The reason given was that the fishermen were still out of town fishing and thus many supporters were gone.  

A second vote was held June 26, 1946.  It passed 141 to 114.  Ballots were easily available as they were printed in the newspaper. There were no polling booths. 

Also on the ballot were the mayor and the town council.  Harold Ryan, dentist, beat C O Austin, local mill owner, for mayor.  Leander Finholm, local telephone company owner, was named Treasurer with grocers Keith Uddenberg, Tony Stanich, and John Finholm,  and fisherman Emmett Ross forming the Town Council.  

First Gig Harbor Police Car, (l to r) Mayor Ryan, Tony Stanich, Judge H R Thurston,
Marshal Chet Jones, Keith Uddenberg and Fred Perkins, undertaker
The first police car was a big purchase for the new town in 1948.  Bert Uddenberg, local Ford dealer supplied the vehicle.  In March that year, after months of laying pipe throughout the harbor, Mayor Harold Ryan established a town water system.  Sewers would have to wait another 30 years to be installed.

Linda McCowen, Historic Photo Editor

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

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