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Lost and found: Scottish smoking pipe makes Norwegian Point famous

Norwegian Point Park is believed to be the site of a 19th century fishing community. This pipe was found near mammal bones.  - Courtesy Photo
Norwegian Point Park is believed to be the site of a 19th century fishing community. This pipe was found near mammal bones.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

HANSVILLE — Finding a small, ceramic smoking pipe in the middle of a site trafficked by vandals is never a good sign. However, if it dates back to the 19th century it is cause for the Smithsonian Institute to celebrate.

The area surrounding Hansville’s Norwegian Point Park’s dilapidated flat-top buildings — once the site used by transients and vandals — is now registered as historically significant.

And it’s all because of a little, white clay tobacco pipe, now with a Smithsonian number attached.

The pipe is believed to be made by the Glasgow, Scotland firm of William White, said Glenn Hartmann, president and principal investigator for Cultural Resource Consultants Inc., a private archaeological firm who handled the site.

Similar pipes were found in areas such as Fort Vancouver and have been associated with the Hudson’s Bay Company, one of the oldest commercial trading companies in the world. The Hudson’s Bay Company controlled much of the North American fur trade in the 1800s.

Because the pipe is marked with the city Glasgow instead of the country Scotland, the pipe dates prior to 1891 when the United States mandated imported goods needed to be marked by the country they came from.

“We’ve bracketed it between 1870s to 1891,” Hartmann said. “It’s likely not related to the Point No Point Treaty, which was earlier.”

The signing of the treaty of 1855, which occurred between the S’Klallam, Chimicum Skokomish tribes and Issac Stevens, governor of the then Washington Territory, likely occurred near the Point No Point lighthouse, he said.

“If we were going to guess, this could have been a fisherman’s camp,” he said. “But we didn’t find enough to tell a story.”

Hartmann said no Native American artifacts were found at the site.

“It doesn’t mean there isn’t any out there but there wasn’t any that we found,” he said.

Hartmann said the historic find will not halt any development of Norwegian Point Park. The Kitsap County Parks Advisory Board agreed to move ahead with the park’s passive projects on Wednesday night at the Greater Hansville Community Center.

This was the third public meeting about the master planning of the park, which the county purchased with an Aquatic Lands Enhancement grant from the Department of Natural Resources to provide residents with water access.

Passive projects for the park include daylighting Finn Creek to control flooding, creating a community gathering space with picnic areas, a bird watching platform and rebuilding the old pier.

The separate grant which enables the pier’s rebuild is tied to a boating infrastructure program that mandates public moorage facilities, said Arvilla Ohlde, project manager for Kitsap County Parks and Recreation.

What is planned is a seasonal dock like the one at Salisbury Point Park, said Chip Faver, director of Kitsap County Parks and Recreation.

Boats that tie up to the dock cannot be larger than 28 feet, which is if the dock even works out. It might not, depending on how drastic the tides are, said Jonathan Moreley, principal of The Berger Partnership, a Seattle-based lanscape Architecture company working on the project. More research has yet to be done on the weather and tide patterns, he said.

Issues surrounding the contentious three-historic flat-topped buildings will be addressed later at a September meeting, which the Parks Advisory Board promised to attend.

Project updates are visible on Kitsap County’s Parks and Recreation Web site at www.kitsapgov.com/parks.

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