Locally authored book captures 'Spirit of Poulsbo'

'The Spirit of Poulsbo,' a historical tome about Little Norway, is available for pre-sale now.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

POULSBO — To Poulsbo residents monitoring their Twitter feeds, updating their blogs and maneuvering the streets in their Smart Cars, the Poulsbo Historical Society has a message: You may be modernized, but you're still a part of history.

"Some of the things that people see going on around them right now, they don't really stop and think about the fact this is history in the making," said PHS member Judy Driscoll.

Driscoll and a 10-member committee have spent the last year researching, organizing and writing a 400-page book on Poulsbo's story, from it's earliest settlements to the recent refurbishment of the Hood Canal Bridge. The team interviewed locals, compiled tattered photographs from inherited albums and scoured archived news articles in order to put together "The Spirit of Poulsbo."

"It ties the present history with the past history. What really makes Poulsbo unique is the spirit that's endured through all these decades," said Soon Hood, owner of the Poulsbo Book Stop, where the book, not yet in print, will be sold. "That's what we're going to try to really focus on: the beauty and the spirit of the people."

The book, now discounted at a special pre-sale price, is being edited in preparation for a late-summer or early-fall printing. It's expected to hit shelves by late fall.

For $65, aficionados can get in line early for the full-color, hard-cover production. Once the book is in print, its cost will be $75. A limited number of special edition, leather-bound copies will also be available.

Proceeds will benefit the PHS.

Driscoll, who authored the book apart from a handful of submitted articles, is currently scouring its pages for grammatical mistakes. More than 2,000 photographs were submitted for the tome. And as for how many people offered their services, anecdotes and hand-me-down family memories to be included in the book's pages?

"I couldn't even hazard a guess," she said. "The people have just been wonderful, when they heard that we were looking for things, about opening up their scrapbooks to us."

It's enough for two volumes, she believes, though the PHS is keen on keeping it all together.

The book begins with the first explorers in the area, covering the years between 1790 and 1919.

Information is written in one- or two-page articles, so that readers can peruse start-to-finish or pick and choose what they'd like to read about. Stories in the first section cover the town's earliest industries, including logging, fishing and dairy and chicken farming.

The book goes on to the 1920-1940 era, looking at steamboat wars and the formation of area school districts.

"We get into stories about moonshiners and a couple of well-known murders," Driscoll said, "some of the juicier things that went on during the roaring '20s."

"Spirit of Poulsbo" continues to chronicle events through 2009, from world wars to the city's population explosion to the building of the Olhava Marketplace and current environmental concerns.

Even the city's new city hall project made it onto the pages.

"It's going to be a big one," Hood said, laughing at the "suffering" it took to decide on a single name for the mass amalgamation of historical tidbits. "It's enormous."

To order, visit or call the Poulsbo Book Stop at (360) 779-9773.

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