World War, public safety issues top headlines

Editor’s note: The information in this story was provided by the Poulsbo Historical Society.

World War II continued to drive national and local headlines well into the late 1930s and 1940s, with the stories hitting closer to home every day. In February 1941, the draft was in full effect. Young men were going into the service both voluntarily and by way of the Kitsap County Draft Board. Lists of names of young men who were headed off to basic training were commonplace in the Kitsap County Herald.

In other news, there was an uncanny parallel to today’s headlines. Traffic safety, access to health care and public safety were at the forefront of everyone’s conversation and minds.

Again with the roads

In September 1939, the residents of Harding expressed their gratitude that they had a new surface on the roads. They also requested that drivers using those newly paved roads would keep an eye out for children walking along the sides of the road.

Bridges a spectator sport

Folks came from far and wide to watch the show as the long-anticipated Tacoma Narrows Bridge was pieced together to provide passage from Gig Harbor and Tacoma to Kitsap and Pierce counties. “Cable spinning across the Narrows is carried on by day and night crews continuously and is now nearly completed,” the Herald reported on March 1, 1940. “The first wires were carried across the morning of January 10 and rapid progress was made in the past month in spinning the two main suspension cables. Five of the nineteen strands in the two cables were completed about the first of February.”

The bridge opened on July 1, 1940. The real show came on Nov. 7, 1940, when the bridge earned the monicker “Galloping Gertie” when it literally blew apart during a 42-mile-an-hour wind storm.

Accessing health care

The American Legion Ambulance Association stepped in to help fill the community’s need for a new ambulance in August 1940. The organization was originally formed in 1928 to give Kitsapers with no other transportation free ambulance rides to the hospital.

In its conception, the ambulance made 25 trips each month.

By August 1940, the ambulance was making an average of 115 trips per month.

In this same vein a fund drive to purchase a new rural fire truck was an ongoing venture in February 1941.

Books and brewed tea

A tea party to benefit the public library celebrated the Poulsbo library’s one-year anniversary and raised money to purchase new books. The library owned and loaned 200 books when it opened. In a year, the collection grew to about 2,000 books. Memberships were $1 annually, but membership wasn’t required to use the library. “Any one with the proper recommendations may secure a card,” the Jan. 31, 1941, Kitsap County Herald reported. After a year of operation, the library had 502 patrons.

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