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100 years in the making

Jake Moe, a descandant of the Moe pioneer family, shares a laugh with Muriel Williams Saturday in from the Moe flag that flew in turn of the century Poulsbo. - Brad Camp/Staff Photo
Jake Moe, a descandant of the Moe pioneer family, shares a laugh with Muriel Williams Saturday in from the Moe flag that flew in turn of the century Poulsbo.
— image credit: Brad Camp/Staff Photo

POULSBO — It was some kind of miracle.

Saturday the Sons of Norway on Poulsbo’s Front Street was a simple Norwegian lodge no longer.

For one day, it was much more.

Transformed into the likes of a small-scale Smithsonian, inside the Sons one thing was easy to see. The Poulsbo Historical Society (PHS) outdid itself exceedingly, surpassing expectations by far as Little Norway’s 100th birthday was celebrated in high and historic style.

With a crowd on hand of preeminent proportions, including state legislators Rep. Christine Rolfes (D-Bainbridge Island), and Sen. Phil Rockefeller (D-Bainbridge Island) and several of Poulsbo’s founding family members, the daytime occasion was one for the books. Maps, relics and photos of Poulsbo’s past, narrated video shows and a performance by a group of North Kitsap High School ingenues were all a part of a day dedicated to the town’s beginnings.

A letter from Secretary of State Sam Reed was read, declaring Poulsbo a Century City, and several area leaders and long-time residents shared memories of a city with a history as rich as its culture.

“I think a birthday like this is a time to look back and look forward,” said Suquamish Tribal Council Chairman Leonard Forsman, calling on times from his own childhood in the area, as well as hopes he has for environmental and economic goals shared between the tribe and the city. “We look forward to a long and fruitful relationship.”

Muriel Williams, 91, spoke of growing up not just in, but with, Poulsbo, and Pauline Rindal, 100, made an appearance to wish the city well. Three former mayors and Miss Poulsbo Alex Duchemin also took the stage before a standing-room-only audience of more than 100.

But if the morning’s festivities filled the house, the evening gala packed it to the limits. More than 400 attendees filled the Sons hall for a wine-tasting event once again in celebration of a century well-done.

Two specially made Centennial wines topped off the esculent treats served up for the evening. Central Market’s Al Moore had the honor of uncorking the first Poulsbo blend, Mayor Kathryn Quade the honor of tasting it.

“It has just the right amount of history, just the right amount of hope and just the right amount of body to see us through the centennial year,” she said.

City Centennial Committee Chairwoman Connie Lord said the evening was the perfect start to a year-long party for Poulsbo.

“This is just a wonderful day,” she said. “We’ve been working hard to get this put together and this is just the beginning.”

An August street dance, fall harvest festival and wintertime celebration are also planned by the committee, which donated the proceeds from the wine-tasting event to the PHS. All 400 tickets were sold at $35 each.

“I’m overwhelmed. The response of the community has been so touching,” Lord said. “What this is going to do is boost the historical society.”

And boost it it shall, allowing for even more detailed displays and archiving of Poulsbo’s history, she said.

Former PHS curator Erica Varga said a lot of work went into the research and gathering of information for the event.

“People had a lot of fun with this,” she said.

A goal of the PHS was to create a sense of place for visitors, allowing them to know the backgrounds of things they see every day, including the names of streets and history of buildings. As Poulsbo evolved from a meeting place for the Suquamish Tribe to a logging town, fishing village and finally a booming, bustling city, knowing the history of the place is invaluable, and being able to display it within the Sons was an added bonus, she said.

“This establishment is one of the things that makes Poulsbo a special place,” she said. “It’s really incredible to think about how much we’ve changed over the last hundred years.”

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