Thursday, December 29, 2016

Talking to Dick Brynestad

I thought that it would be a great way to end the year 2016 by republishing the first Harbor History Museum blog and the only one written by Tatyana Search.  


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
© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Emmett Hunt's Diary Entry for March 7, 1888

Good except a strong N. wind.  Took hay to Rains & Co in AM then to Fox Island Brick Yard and lay till sunset awaiting the subsidence of the breeze -- Then to Minter and anchor.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Emmett Hunt's Diary Entry for February 27, 1888

Some S. freeze and some rain in PM.  Took scow load of everything to McNeil's but as scow got off fast in storm we ran down light - go a cargo of hay and steamed back to Wollochett.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Emmett Hunt's Diary Entry for February 22, 1888

Pleasant with some sun & clouds.  Drove in to the city again and put on our propeller & am ready for biz.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Government - or Lack of it…that is the Question.

Government - or Lack of it…that is the Question. (1867-1946)

Have you every wondered about how early Gig Harbor was governed from its start in 1867 until the community was incorporated as a fourth class town in 1946?  I have so I thought a clarification might be interesting.  But remember, this is no a history lesson, just a very simplified explanation.

At first Washington’s nearest government offices were in what was then called Oregon County from 1843; its name changed to Portland in 1845 and was incorporated.  In 1852, the US government created Thurston County and set up limited governmental offices there.  Later that same year when the federal governmental offices in Oregon Territory decided that Thurston County was too large since it stretched from Olympia to the Canadian border.  As a result Pierce County, King County and Jefferson County were all formed from the Thurston County land mass.  Now, settlers in and on the Gig Harbor Peninsula could transact property filings in Tacoma, WA.  

The US Homestead Act, established May 20, 1862 was specifically for this purpose, and remained in effect until the final claim for 80 acres in southeastern Alaska was approved in 1988.  

The Act provided that any adult citizen (or person intending to become a citizen) who headed a family could qualify for a grant of 160 acres of public land by paying a small registration fee and living on the land continuously for five years. If the settler was willing to pay $1.25 an acre, he could obtain the land after only six months’ residence.

As stated above, by December 1852, Pierce County became responsible for land filings, roads, waterways, property sales, licensing of vessels , establishing of post offices, business firm incorporations, and similar governmental oversight.  

The settlement of Gig Harbor started in 1867 when Samuel Jerisich moved to the area.  When he was convinced that it would be a perfect place to set down roots, raise his family and earn a living.  Jerisich brought his wife, Anna Willits and their children here from British Columbia where they had previously been living although Samuel fished up and down the Pacific Coast.

Jerisich met many people during his travels and told them about Gig Harbor and his enthusiasm for this new place.  It was most likely discussed with his friends still living in his country of birth, and each friend told his friends…and you know how news spreads.

Gradually those friends and other families joined him both from the Old Country but also from east of the Rocky Mountains as they sought a better life.  Not all the new settlers however were Croatian; there was a large influx of settlers from the Scandinavian countries.  Then too there were those families who had been caught up in the Civil War and suffering from the various recessions or depressions which occurred during the latter part of the 19th century and into the first part of the 20th century.

The settlers started social clubs to meet their neighbors and join in community activities beyond their churches.  Gradually the social clubs expanded to joined similar ones so more voices were heard.   Organizations such as The Grange, The Lions Clubs, and other fraternal organization.  In addition to these clubs, the settlers wanted to improve the limited services available.  For example streets, electricity, transportation, fire protection, policing and schools just to name a few of the needed services.   

The Gig Harbor Improvement Club (covering primarily north Gig Harbor and Crescent Valley areas) and the West Side Improvement Club (covering what later became know as the South Side or Downtown area) were formed.  Both joined the Federated Clubs organization as did the women’s  social clubs. 

It is possible that an article appearing in an unnamed paper section entitled “Gig Harbor and Vicinity, the Choicest Suburb of Tacoma” dated 1906 was the major incentive to start the improvement clubs.  Why do I think that?  There was an editorial or article was captioned “Let Us Organize” published in the local paper, although we don’t know which paper.  The first such club was formed in 1917 and was named ‘Peninsula Community Club’ that I found.  I think that the two local Gig Harbor clubs separated from the original club to concentrate on immediate concerns to their community.  But the Peninsula Community Club and the  two improvement clubs joined forces when needed, along with other clubs.  The South Side Improvement Club operated from 1925 until 1946 when both areas joined together to be incorporated as a fourth Class Town of Gig Harbor.  

The idea behind the improvement club philosophy was to improve living conditions in the communities and to lobby the government for help as well as for new and improved services the communities needed.  I found it interesting that the two Improvement Clubs operated basically as de facto town governments for their individual areas or districts.  And to give you a better idea of what they did, I’ll share a few of the various activities of the South Side Improvement Club, starting in 1925 until 1946.

The first recorded order of business for the South Side Improvement Club was gathering subscriptions for the park fund.  The park in question was the Grandview Park, property formerly owned by Neil Shyleen, Chair of the new club.)  The fund raising appears successful given the times; WWI ended a short 7 years earlier and the country was just coming out of the 1920-21 depression.  Nine Gig Harbor business and individuals, 10 Tacoma firms and professionals and one Seattle business all bought subscriptions.  The total raised was $565 or, by 2016 dollars, $7,724.66.

The members also wanted to be certain that the club was known as the “South” not “West”  Side Improvement Club.

Next item taken up by the club was a plea made by Mr. Makovich for a vote to get the community pass an extra 10 mill levy for the school district.  

In April 1926 the members were having meetings with the County Commissioners regarding traffic regulation as well as extending Harborview Drive (at that time name “Front Street”) to the ferry dock at the mouth of the harbor.  Remember Harborview Drive was the main highway to travel to Port Orchard and Bremerton.  But this specific traffic and road work had just transfer the responsibility to the State Highway Commission.  

Other highlights of their work for the community included but not limited to were:
  • Puget Sound Electric Company offered to supply electric current to Gig Harbor and Shore acres:  house lighting 8 1/2 cent per KW, heat, power chicken houses, etc $1.50 plus 3 cents per KW for 1st 150 KW, then 2 cents per KW.  Industrial trial rates by special agreement.
  • Purchase into Peninsula Light Company
  • Improving the poor telephone service between Port Orchard and Gig Harbor
  • Discussion with County Commissioners for shorter ferry route from Pt. Defiance to Gig Harbor
  • Discussion with County Commissioners to have regular paid resident sheriff.
  • Special levy to buy a badly needed furnace for school
  • 1928 working with Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce regarding the pros and cons of incorporation into an actual town.
    • Pros included reduction of insurance rates; city lighting; sewers; fire protection.  Joseph Dorotich was one of the mens supporting incorporation.
    • Cons included heavier tax burden as current tax revenue could not support the community.
  • 1929 found the club participating with the 6th Avenue Improvement Club as respects the bridge movement between Tacoma and the Peninsula communities.  The meeting was attended by all clubs in Pierce County and City of Tacoma, Governor Hatly and the Tacoma mayor.
  • Club paid their income tax and requested that they be exempt from the income tax.
  • Naming some of the roads in and around the community:  Malony Lake, Wollochet Northern and Park Avenue.
  • 1931 had Lee Makovich discussing and explaining the fishermen’s stand on the proposal treaty between Canada and the United States.
  • 1932 found the club working with the State Highway Commission to eliminate the curve at Austin Mill.
    • Also for lower taxes
    • For street lighting from Pearl Street to Ferry Landing at Point Defiance in Tacoma
    • Still working to build the bridge to and from Tacoma possible.
      • 1933 found Neil Shyleen Chair of the Local Project Committee to fix and surface some roads in Home Colony as well as the Gig Harbor Ferry Landing road and to finish a part of the Point Fosdick road either with cement or gravely black top.
      • Working with the CWA (Civil Works Administration) to obtain funds to clear grounds and finish the Boy Scouts cabin at the Auto Park.
  • 1934 Neil Shyleen reported that the CWA refused to advance any funds for the improvement of the Parking Ground, road and buildings because the South Side Improvement Club was a corporation.
    • Question of whether or not to pay taxes on the ground at Grandview Park was delayed until fall.  In December it was decided that the Club would request the PTA to help pay the taxes and to keep the land until such time as the Town is incorporated and then the land be turned over to the Town for a Town Park.
    • Letter from Tacoma Chamber of Commerce in regard to donating some money to help defray expenses in connection with the Narrows Bridge.  The Club instructed the Secretary to explain the financial standing of the Club and the inability to contribute to the Tacoma Chamber of Commerce.
    • The Treasure Department notified the Club that they needed to appear at the Collectors Office in Tacoma and explain that the Club has no income from any source.
  • 1936 the Secretary was instructed to write to the President of the United States and ask for help in securing funds to construction the Narrows Bridge.
  • 1938 there was much discussion about the State taking over the ferry system and the need to keep close eye on it so that Gig Harbor did not suffer due to lack of ferry service.
    • Resolution to go on record covering our late President’s passing and same to be published in local Paper.  (Mr. Neil Parsons Shyleen died October 24, 1937)
      • “In memory of the late president, members present caused to be read upon the minutes, most sincere regrets because of the passing of a man who for so many years had served his community, state and country with a devotion that was sublime, and an inspiration to all good citizens.  May we always cherish and hold close to our hearts the memory of this good man who gave so much to others.”
      • Discussion of the Fishermens Dock to be taken up with project committee 
      • Promote the Library move

These are just a very few of the activities engaged in by the South Side Improvement Club and its members.  So I believe it helps you understand why I called it a quasi governmental body.

And now for a listing of  the various members’ names mentioned in the South Side Improvement Club Minutes.  I’ve tried to identified their occupation for a better understand of the various viewpoints expressed in their activities.

    • Adams, Frank H. - Boat Builder
    • Atkinson, Mrs. - Possibly Sam L.’s wife
    • Austin, C. O. - Manufacter of lumber, shingles, boxes, etc.
    • Batchelor, Harold. H. - Berry Farmer
    • Bone, Mr. - I could not identify
    • Burkhiemer, R. H. - owner The Hardware Store
    • Cinema, G. - Tacoma Businessman owner of Iron & Metal Co. and what is now known as the J. B. Stevens Building in 2100 Block of Pacific Avenue
    • Commerce, Jim - I could not identify
    • Commers, R. James - 
    • Cook, Mrs. - Several Cooks in GH; most Civil War veterans or was it Mrs. Anna Cook, owner of a vineyard on Fox Island in 1922-1944?
    • Cruver, Lewis Crosier - Cruver Service Station 
    • Dorotich, Mr. Joseph
    • Easterday, Mr. (Joseph H. ?)
    • Eckton, Edgar J. (his name was also spelled Eskton)
    • Erickson, Mrs. Alfred 
    • Floyis, Mrs.
    • Frost, Charles David 
    • Gillie, Mr. - Sales Manager of Puget Sound Electric Co., Bremerton
    • Guell, Mr.
    • Hopping, Wm. P. - Tacoma Businessman
    • House, Mr. H. A. - owner/manager West Side Mercantile Co.
    • Hunt, Floyd - Member of the Miles Hunt family - Ship Building/Operations
    • Hylean, Mr.
    • Jacobs, C. V.
    • Jacobs, Mrs
    • Kimball, Lewis - Farmer
    • Krewer, Mr.
    • Lawroff, S. - Tacoma Resident
    • Lowry, J. F.
    • Makovich, Lee - Fishing Industry - President of Fisherman’s Packing Corporation
    • McCouaghy, Jack
    • McIntyre, Art. W.
    • Mojean, Mrs.
    • Mojean, Louis (Spelled Mojian) - Real Estate & Insurance
    • Mosher, W. Y. - Owned grocery “Staple & Fancy Groceries; Fresh & Smoked Meats; Mother Meat Market
    • Mosher, Mrs.
    • Nelson, Chris M.
    • Noithy, J.
    • Paul, Mr. (E. V. D. ?)
    • Peyran, Mr. P. H. or Ross J. - Holly Farmer
    • Rawlins, Jack
    • Rehn, Mr. Harold - Owner Rehn Motor Co.
    • Rowlings, J. S.
    • Ryan, Dr. Harold H. - Dentist - First Mayor of Gig Harbor
    • Shaffer, Fred
    • Shyleen, N. P. - Farmer/Property Owner
    • Simerson, Mr. Alfred 
    • Skansie, Andrew - Skansie Ship Building
    • Skansie, Mitchell - Skansie Ship Building/WA Navigation Co./Ferry Service
    • Skansi, Peter - Fisherman
    • Skansi, Mrs. Peter 
    • Smith, Earl
    • Steele,  Mr. George H. - District Manager Puget Sound Electric Co., Bremerton
    • Stowe, Mr.
    • Swanson, Mr. Nels O. ?
    • Sweet, William. J. - Life Insurance Agent
    • Theis, George A. - Salesman General Store; wife owned The Peninsula Cafe
    • Thurston, Judge H. R. - Also Owner of Pioneer Electric Co/electrical contractor/property owner
    • Tinkanelli, Peter
    • Trombley, C. E. - owner/Publisher/Editor The Peninsula Gateway
    • Turner, Mary J. - Pastor of Memorial Presbyterian Church
    • Uddenberg, Mrs.
    • Van Osterhout, Mr.
    • Wallis, Mr.
    • Wallis, Mrs.
    • Welch, R. E.
    • Welch, Mrs.


  • Minutes of The South Side Improvement Club, Gig Harbor, Washington 1925through 1945 transcribed by Maureen Della Maggiora
  • 1930 & 1940 US Census
  • Harbor History Museum Resource Room
© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Emmett Hunt's Diary Entry February 15, 1888

Nice day.  In AM did nothing and in PM ran to Balch's Cove for another spar & got back at midnight, having made the run with spar in tow from B. Cove in 3 1/2 hrs.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Emmett Hunt's Diary Entry February 8, 1888

Weather much changed.  Arose late and found ourselves adrift and nearing the other shore.  Steamed back to town and went up the beach and took off our broken wheel.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Jack (Jake) Dominick Bujacich, Jr. (December 12, 1926 - Present)

Jack (Jake) Dominick Bujacich, Jr. (December 12, 1926 - Present)

On December 12, 2016 we will celebrate Jake’s 90th birthday.  

In advance of his birthday I thought I would share a little of his family history; a little because I could not find an oral history for him.  When I ask a few years back, he said he didn’t have time to do on,  and besides everyone else was either writing one or asking him to do one.
Peninsula Gateway newspaper article

Jake’s love of the town where he was born, grew up, and has lived all his life has helped him enrich Gig Harbor for all of us who live here.    He was born into one of the prominent fishing families and his love of fishing is evident today in many ways and forms.

Jake’s father, Jack Sr. (1894-1970), left his home in Premuda, Jugoslavia at age 13 to come to America.  Like many Croatians, he found himself in Colorado, some of whom like he worked in mines. (My grandfather also worked in the gold mines in Cripple Creek, Colorado as a young man.)  In the mid to late teens, Jack Sr. decided to move to Gig Harbor where he joined the Croatian fishermen earning his living on the water during the summers.  Come winter, he would go to Eatonville to work at Eatonville Lumber mill.  

It was here in Gig Harbor that Jack met Winnifred Andrea Ross, John Ross’ young daughter.  They fell in love, married and started a family.  They had five children, Mary Pauline, Frances G., George Peter, Jack Dominick, Jr., and Bartmer.  ( 

In 1928, Jack, Sr. was able to launch Majestic, one of the Skansie Shipbuilding vessels.  In one article I found that original appeared in the Kitsap Sun-Gig Harbor Life newspaper George is quoted as saying “I first went out with my dad on that boat when I was 8; that would have been 1933”.  The same quotation appears in Gig Harbor Founding Families.

Jake (Jack Jr.) didn’t start fishing until he was 16, first with an uncle, and then with his father and his older brother George.  But two years later, Jake enlisted in the US Merchant Marines.  He is quoted as saying “Me and my buddies joined up together.  We said we were going to win the war.”    He spent two years in Korea before returning home.  

His father, John Sr., was an expert at making the needles used to mend nets. All the kids in fishing families learned at an early age how to thread the needles so the cotton nets could be mended whenever they torn.  “We’d go down to the docks and fill needles all day long.  The faster and better you were the better they liked you.  They had to be wrapped real tight.”  When he returned from Korea, he took over the Majestic from his brother George (who had taken over from their father) which he ran from 1960 until 1966.  He continued fishing every summer even while serving as a councilman and mayor.  He is quoted as remarking “Back then, everybody helped each other out.  We’d get together and make a crew, if somebody needed help.  In 1967, I fished with George Ancich.  In 1969 I had my own boat.  In the 1970s, I ran the Shenandoah.”  He went on to say that he had probably fished on at least 17 different boats.    As anyone can tell you, fishing has both good and bad seasons, or as Jake put it “The first year I fished in, 1942, I didn’t even make enough to pay my union dues.  1946 was a big sockeye season.  In ’47 it was a big humpy season.  It was also in 1947 that the fishermen went on strike due to the low rate buyers would pay for the catch.  “We needed to get 14-cents a pound for fish in order to make it work  When we finally found a buyer at 14-cents, off we went.”  In the winter of 1949, the harbor froze completely over.  This was the year that Jake was appointed cook for the crew.  “I got recipes to cook from my mom and my sister.  Just about every man in this town who fished knows how to cook.”  I’m told Jake still cooks, both at home and in the summer when he might go out on one of the fishing boats.
Harbor History Museum document
When Jake returned from military service, the local residents had been voting on whether or not the community should incorporate.  The first round of votes were against incorporation.  But the second vote was stronger, and incorporation won in July 1946.  Among the various departments formed under the incorporation was the first complete Police Code, Ordinance No. 6, passed by full town council vote on November 15, 1946.  Jake joined the early police department in 1950 when he was appointed Deputy Marshall.  

In 1954, Jake was joined by Dick Allen, Adam Ross, Sr., Peter Babich when they appeared at a Town Council Meeting requesting a new commercial fishing dock from the town.  The previous commercial fishing dock had deteriorated and also had been condemned.  Unfortunately the Town had no funds available, and when Jerisich dock was finally approved, the grant funds were only for recreational docks, commercial boats were excluded. 

And, Jake followed that early governmental position as policeman by later running for and being elected to serve as a councilman in 1955.  He was appointed Mayor Pro Ten in 1967 when Mayor Secor became ill and unable to perform his duties, and then in 1969, appointed as Mayor to fill the unexpired term of Mayor Secor.  He then served mayor until 1978 at which time he resigned to run for Pierce County Commissioner   He went on to serve as Pierce County Commissioner/Council member from 1981 until 1986. 
Jack (Jake) D. Bujacich, Jr.  Mayor May 1969-November 1978
Another issue that Jake took on was the construction of a sewer system.  According to to An Excellent Little Bay, Changing Times as early as 1946 when the town was incorporated the need for a sewer system was made known.  In 1961 the Gig Harbor Town Council approved Resolution No. 22 appealing to the Federal Government for $90,000 towards the construction of sewers, but it was voted down by the residents.  In 1962 the then mayor, George R. Gilbert tried again with the same result when the voters went to the polls.  So, in 1969, Jake is now the mayor.  He knows personally the needs of the growing community, not only as a resident but also as a fisherman, Gig Harbor needed a functioning sewer system.  The vote failed once again, but the State stepped in threatening injunctive action but still the next ballot vote came up short.  It was not until 1973 that construction finally started on the sewer system.

Jake decided Gig Harbor needed it’s own planning department; true it already had a planning commission in place.  But Jake felt the town needed more professional oversight  on land use, regulations, codes and ordinances.  It was probably influenced by Pierce County first Comprehensive Land Use Plan adopted in 1962.    It designated the Gig Harbor Peninsula as “Suburban Residential”.  The plan established zoning districts dictating the appropriate location for commercial and residential.  But the plan didn’t offer much protection against incompatible uses or recognize the unique individuality of the various communities.  Jake wanted the planning within the Town of Gig Harbor to be under the oversight of the town council and mayor so that they could control development and make the decisions, not the County.

For example, by 1960 traffic on the Narrows Bridge averaged 6,218 vehicles a day so when the citizens and politicians started talking about removing the tolls Jake got concerned.  The local Gig Harbor infrastructure couldn’t support the traffic; SR 16 was under construction to widen the highway slowing down the traffic at Olympic Drive exit.  But this was an argument Jake lost when in 1965 the State Legislature passed a bill removing the tolls.   Perhaps this was just one of the many things that convinced Jake to run for town councilman.  

Without tolls on the Narrows Bridge the population of Gig Harbor started experiencing more growth.  Summer Residents became full time residents, new people arrived finding the quaint village on the harbor enchanting and moved here.  In 1960 the population in Gig Harbor was 1,094, by 1970 it was 1,657, a 51.5% increase over what the community growth had been in previous years.

The growth Gig Harbor was experienced became quite evident when steps to install either school crossing guards back in 1977.  As mentioned in An Excellent Little Bay, Changing Times, the traffic monitoring showed that “some 10,000 cars per day were zipping through the intersection of Pioneer Way and Grandview Drive, some at speeds as high as 50 miles per hour.  Large numbers of children from the school were crossing at the same intersection, and the potential for a tragedy was growing.”  I went back to look at the City Council Meeting minutes and discovered and discovered that at first, City Council explored the possibility of using school crossing guards, where either the children accompanied by a teacher, act as the crossing guards.  This was vetoed by the Peninsula School District.  Next the Council researched a street light.  Due to the cost, a flashing red on Grandview Drive and a flashing yellow on Pioneer Way was considered.  But the final decision was for a red, amber and green light be purchased and installed.  And, so the first street light in Gig Harbor came into being.  Others followed with the flashing light at Grandview Drive and Soundview Drive and at the foot of Pioneer Way and Harborview Drive.

This are just a few of the things that Jake accomplished during his active political life.  It would be impossible to list all his accomplishment.  But if you have one that you consider invaluable, please hit “Comment” at the bottom of this blog, and enter it.

Today, in 2016, Jake is still very active in community affairs-nothing gets by him.  He has the ability wanting in so many people, and that is being able to bring people together and getting them to compromise despite their disagreements at the beginning. 
The Peninsula Gateway newspaper article
Most of all, join me and the Harbor History Museum in wishing Jake a most happy birthday on the occasion of his birth!

  • Jack Bujacich (Naputi Family Tree)
  • Gig Harbor History, Founding Families - Bujacich
  • Wikipedia - Gig Harbor, Washington
  • Kitsap Sun-Gig Harbor Living - The Bujacich Brothers-Gig Harbor Fishing Community
  • City of Gig Harbor Archives 1968-1983
  • An Excellent Little Bay, Changing Times - Pg 270-71; Pg 289
  • City of Gig Harbor “History of the City of Gig Harbor-Incorporation 1946 through July 2006
  • Tacoma Narrows Bridge-Bridge Connections - 1950 Present (WDOT)

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.