Historical society seeks space, funds for Poulsbo Boat

The Poulsbo Boat
The Poulsbo Boat's exterior is mostly finished. The Historical Society will soon begin restoring its interior.
— image credit: Courtesty of David Shields

POULSBO — Over the past few months, the Poulsbo Historical Society has steadily been restoring one of the city’s namesake boats back to its former glory.

And while it might not know exactly where it will eventually place the boat, officials do know what they will call it: The Spirit of Poulsbo.

“Although this boat is not going to be out in the elements a lot, the intent is that for special events it will be seaworthy and we will take her out on the bay,” said David Shields of the Poulsbo Historical Society. “And perhaps a couple of times a year we will parade its colors.”

Approximately 75 percent of the boat’s ribs have been replaced, along with several hull planks.

“The paint work is just about complete on the outside of the hull,” Shields said. “The next step will be to build a cradle for it, and we will roll it into the cradle and tackle the inside.”

Shields noted that they also need to procure a trailer for the boat. He hopes someone in the community will either donate one, or people will donate funds to purchase a trailer.

Floor boards will be painted and installed inside. The original engine — which is being restored — will also be installed.

Shields said he expects the boat and engine to be finished by February.

A Poulsbo boat, sometimes referred to as a “Young Boat,” is a craft built by Ronald Young, who designed and fashioned the vessels from around 1930 through the ’60s in a downtown Poulsbo shop.

Young made roughly 1,000 of the boats. Approximately 750 were 16-feet models like the boat that the historical society is working on now.

Cruising at up to 7 knots, with a single-cylinder engine, the wooden boats proved to be very popular in Liberty Bay and in the waters beyond. But today, few remain which is why Shields and the historical society want to make sure theirs becomes a testament to the city’s legendary boat.

To do so, they seek a public space and a structure that can show it off. They have eyed a portion of Waterfront Park, and have been negotiating with the city for a place to put it. It is still uncertain where it will ultimately find a home.

“What we are not going to do is stick it in the back of some parking lot somewhere away from downtown,” Shields said. “It’s one of the crown jewels of the city.”

As the historical society negotiates with city officials, it also seeks help from the community to raise funds for a structure to house the boat, wherever it will be.

“The structure will have a roof that will keep the weather off,” Shields said. “We anticipate that it will be mostly glass or Plexiglass so people can see through. It will lend itself to observation.”

The historical society has reached out to Poulsbo’s fraternal organizations, and hopes that locals will step up as well.

Donations can be made online at

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