Historical Society creates two more historical figures

POULSBO — Two guys who keep history alive — and lively — in Little Norway now have a new place in the history books themselves.

Former Poulsbo/North Kitsap Historical Society board members Archie Lien and Earl Hanson were honored by the group last week with the official title of board member emeritus. Muriel Williams was given the same title last year.

During the surprise ending to the Feb. 10 historical society meeting, president Kathy Hogan praised the two men, who have been tireless advocates for preserving the history of the area.

“These two gentlemen have worked long and hard for the historical society and have retired from the board but they’re still here and still working hard for us,” Hogan commented. “We aren’t going to lose them, we know that.”

Hanson, 80, has been a member of the local historical society from its beginning, although he admits that he thinks he missed the first couple of meetings.

It was the famous Rangvald Kvelstad (aka Mr. K), the founder of the historical society, who guided Hanson into his association with the group. Serving as vice president at the Sons of Norway to Mr. K’s president, Hanson said the community leader inspired him.

“He was a teacher, you know, and he was always educating me and I knew I was going to follow him,” Hanson recalled. “Later, he and I would go to breakfast together and he always said, ‘Earl, we’ve got to go this and we’ve got to do that.’”

Born and raised on Bainbridge Island, Hanson has lived in Poulsbo for 51 years with his wife Norma, who has lived here all her life. He worked at Keyport and has been active at First Lutheran Church (especially its annual Lutefisk feed), Sons of Norway and Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation Institute of Kitsap County (CAPRI).

But overall, he has an abiding love of history in both Poulsbo and Bainbridge Island. He’s active in the efforts to get Eagledale Park as a memorial for the Japanese interment during World War II and he puts in numerous hours setting up the speakers for the Poulsbo historical society’s monthly meetings. Hanson said he doesn’t mind the job, since one of his biggest hopes for the historical society is to gain more members.

“I’m trying to get the most interesting stuff,” Hanson explained of the job. “We need members and the more interest you get out to the public, the more people will come out.”

Lien, 79, said he has lived in Poulsbo for 75 years and in that time, he’s moved a total of two miles.

“And I can’t go back to where I was raised before because it is in the middle of Bangor now,” he commented.

Lien and his wife Norma are both long-time members of the historical society. He has been quite a source for local history for the historical society, especially for his recollections of his childhood at Martha & Mary, when the facility was still a children’s home. He also often fills in the blanks for members on subjects like Keyport and Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (where he worked at one time), Irish’s Corner (which he owned at one time) and the Sons of Norway (of which he’s a bond holder and member).

“I like talking about the old times and the old people who lived around here,” Lien said of his enjoyment in being a member of the historical society. “I think it’s important to gather up this old history and keep it and store it.”

A tireless advocate of a Poulsbo historical museum, Lien knows capital projects. He was instrumental in getting the current Grieg Lodge built and even had a hand in pouring the foundation for the Kvelstad Pavilion. Lien said he hopes to be part of a building project on behalf of the historical society in the near future.

“Poulsbo, I think, is an historical town and I think it’s awfully important we have a museum downtown,” he commented. “It’s too bad we don’t have Bill Gates living here but maybe somebody will come along and get things going. I’d like to see us get a building, even if it’s not something very big to begin with.”

Lien and Hanson both are known by society members for their senses of humor and friendliness. In their usual fashion, the two preferred to make light of the honor, crediting many others with more contributions.

“I don’t know if we deserve this,” Lien commented last Tuesday after being given a plaque from the society.

“I think we don’t,” Hanson responded with a smile.

“But we’ll take it,” Lien added, laughing.

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