130 years of history in your hands | Viking Fest 2013

From the May 10 issue of the North Kitsap Herald

The "unveiling" and book signing of Images of America: Poulsbo, with authors Judy Driscoll and Sherry White, will be Aug. 22, 7 p.m., in the City Council Chambers, 200 NE Moe St., Poulsbo.

POULSBO — A new book about Poulsbo makes it possible for you to hold in your hands more than 200 images from Poulsbo’s past.

Judy Driscoll and Sherry White of the Poulsbo Historical Society and Museum have authored “Poulsbo,” a photo history published as part of Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America series.

The book is scheduled to be in stores on Aug. 19. It will sell for $21.99; royalties will go to the Poulsbo Historical Society.

At 128 pages, “Poulsbo” is not as substantial as Driscoll’s earlier work, the 398-page “Spirit of Poulsbo,” which she co-authored with volunteers from the Friends of Poulsbo History. But its concentration of photos, culled mostly from the museum’s collection, provides a unique window into community life from 1890 to present day.

“That’s the nice thing about these books,” Driscoll said of Arcadia’s Images of America series. “They capture the flavor of the whole area, it’s not a big book to pack around, you don’t have to spend hours reading it. I enjoyed working on it because it went together quickly and we were able to [include] outlying areas that we were not able to before [in ‘The Spirit of Poulsbo’].”

The book contains 218 photos in four chapters: Water — Our Lifeblood; Land — Our Refuge; Community — Our Strength; and Celebration — Our Joy. Included are the neighboring communities of Big Valley, Breidablik, Finn Hill, Lemolo, Lincoln, Lofall, Pearson, Pleasant Ridge, Scandia, Sunnyside, Vinland and Virginia Point. Historically, those communities were in Poulsbo’s orbit for labor and social reasons; today, they remain tied to Poulsbo by zip code.

Driscoll does a masterful job of summarizing Poulsbo’s history in a two-page introduction — the arrival of settlers; the community’s evolution from farming, fishing and logging town to modern city; the demographic change brought by two world wars; and modern efforts to hold on to the community identity established by its earliest European immigrants.

(Poulsbo is within Suquamish’s historical territory. The Treaty of Point Elliott, signed in 1855 and ratified by Congress in 1859, opened the region to non-Native settlement. In the 1860s, newcomers trapped dogfish here for rendering into oil for use at a lumber mill in Port Madison. The first Norwegian immigrants arrived in the 1880s, attracted by climate and resources similar to their native country. )

Each chapter opens with a paragraph introduction. Carefully selected images and concise, yet detailed, captions continue the story.

“There are some iconic photos, but we tried to put photos in there that people hadn’t seen over and over,” Driscoll said. “And we were able to grow the museum’s digital collection.”

Driscoll hunted down unfamiliar images for the book. During her  search, she visited Skelley’s Four Corners Tavern for the first time and found pre-Highway 3 images of that neighborhood on the wall.

“I had never gone into [the tavern],” Driscoll said. “I was searching for photos from the Breidablik and Lofall area and finally I decided I’d drive in there and see if they had any photographs. They had four old photographs on the wall, including a photo before the highway went through in 1931. The building faced the other direction — it was a gas station then, and you can see the gas pumps. That was neat to see.”

The cover photo is from 1909: “The Eliason dock was the welcome mat for passengers arriving on the steamers circling Liberty Bay,” the caption reads. “Here passengers and milk cans await the arrival of the steamer to Seattle in 1909.” You’ll recognize the wharf building; it’s now the Loft Restaurant. And, Driscoll said, there’s reason to believe that boy on the dock is Ronald Young, later to become famous as the builder of the Poulsbo boat.

The earliest photo is an often-published image from 1890: Adolph Hostmark and family in a canoe in Liberty Bay. The photo is important because you can see farms in what would become downtown. you can also see the children’s home operated by Martha and Mary.

In another old image, circa 1896, the Hostmark family is photographed in front of their home at what is now Jensen Way and Front Street. The Hostmarks’ adjacent store is now Thor’s Hammer and Needle.

In several photos, cows graze within view of the hustle and bustle of downtown. Much of Poulsbo was farmed until the Great War, later to be known as World War I. The world wars brought a flood of military personnel and civilian workers into Poulsbo, expanding the population and the demographics. Look for the photo of the Army barracks in Lemolo; the Army is long gone but some of the buildings are in use today.

The downtown landscape changed considerably to accommodate development and the movement of people and commerce. Familiar buildings seem out of place in some photos; buildings were sometimes moved on site or to other locations as streets were established, or as otherwise necessary. You’ll see a picture of the bridge over the creek that once flowed down what is now Jensen Way.

Historic moments are captured in this book. You’ll see the day in 1915 when lights were turned on for the first time in Poulsbo, in the First Lutheran Church.

Neighborhood landmarks now gone are documented. You’ll see the Lincoln Market on old Lincoln Hill Road. The neighborhood it served, Lincoln, was absorbed into Poulsbo. The market is gone, but its image is a reminder of similar markets, like the old Lemolo Market, that once served North Kitsap’s far-flung neighborhoods.

Unique traditions are depicted. It seems Poulsbo has long had a need for speed: There’s a picture of go-cart races, predecessor of today’s soap box derby on Dauntless Drive.   The book familiarizes readers with some interesting backstories. The next time you visit Molly Ward Gardens on Big Valley Road, know that you are at the former home of Margaret Olofsson Bergman, a weaver and teacher. It was here in the 1930s that she designed and patented the Bergman Suitcase loom and the Bergman Floor loom; each had folding frames that enabled the loom to collapse even when fully warped.

Telling Poulsbo’s story in 218 images was no easy task; the museum has close to 10,000 photos in its collection, Driscoll said. She and White had the assistance of several historical society members: Mickey Albanese, Patsy Armstrong, Bernice Denton, Melinda Dietlein, Hildur Gleason, Dennis Johnson, Gerri Johnson, Jan Lofall, Camille Meyers, Roseanne Mitchell, and Ruth Peterson Reese. The project began in July and the final manuscript was submitted to the publisher in February.

Driscoll and co-author White are both active in the Poulsbo Historical Society and enjoy gathering research related to Poulsbo history. Driscoll moved to Poulsbo in 1970, taught school, and authored two previous works on Poulsbo. White was born and raised in Poulsbo, worked at City Hall, and is married to a commercial fisherman.

Books on Poulsbo history
2013: “Poulsbo,” 200 pages, Arcadia Publishing.
2009: “The Spirit of Poulsbo,” 398 pages, The Book Stop.
2004: “Paul’s Place,” 38 pages, AuthorHouse. 
2004: “Poulsbo Past Times,” 216 pages, Poulsbo Rotary Club.
1986: “Poulsbo: Its First Hundred Years,” 300 pages, Poulsbo Centennial Book Committee.


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