Members of the Poulsbo Historical Society Board of Directors plan all kinds of exciting events at their board meeting, March 3. Among the plans: construction of a boat shed at the maritime museum, a dinner/auction fundraiser, and new exhibits and presentations. (Richard Walker/Kitsap News Group)

Busy times at the Poulsbo Historical Society | Editor’s Notebook

BUSY TIMES AT THE POULSBO HISTORICAL SOCIETY: Society president Tom Henderson is leading the effort to build a boat shed at the downtown Maritime Heritage Museum; the boat shed will shelter some restored antique boats. Look for the boat shed to go up in April or May.

By the way, if you haven’t visited the maritime museum yet, do so. First of all, it’s free. Second, the museum features interactive displays and imaginative exhibits that tell our story — how local families traveled dock to dock to get their farm products to market in Seattle; the proud codfish fleets, their holds full of fish, that returned from Alaska to help feed the west coast; and the tour ships and paddle boards of today.

“History … yawn,” your children say? Here’s what you tell them: Our local museums are cool. Poulsbo’s history is “our soul,” Mayor Becky Erickson said. “I think about the people who came before us; we are the sum total of our history. It’s the legacy of who we are as a community.”

History influences our future. For example, we know that Liberty Bay was long a source of fish and shellfish — for millennia, for the Suquamish people; then, our grandparents’ grandparents. We also know from that history that since the settlement era Liberty Bay wasn’t treated as well as it should have been; it became a repository for our detritus and polluted runoff. But now, the mayor points out, Liberty Bay is once again clean enough that shellfish harvesting can resume there. History provided the benchmark.

Here’s another point: If you visit the Poulsbo Historical Museum in City Hall, you can actually touch stuff. Historian Judy Driscoll will let you work the butter churn — no, great-grandma’s butter didn’t come from the supermarket. If you’ve ever thought, “I wonder how they did that back then?,” go to the historical museum and you can get the feel of old stuff and how they worked.

YUMMMM … CODFISH!: You don’t like codfish, you say? Sure you do, if you like fish and chips. (And who doesn’t like fish and chips?) So, go to the Poulsbo Historical Society’s sixth annual Codfish Dinner and Fundraising Auction 4:30-9 p.m. March 25 at the Sons of Norway Hall in Poulsbo. You’ll have fun; a lot of your neighbors will be there. You’ll have a great dinner. You can bid on some really neat donated stuff, from artwork to furniture to collectibles. And you’ll raise money for the Poulsbo Historical Society.

Tickets are $30 each and available at the maritime museum, daily from 10 a.n. to 3 p.m.

THAT OLD PHOTO DOESN’T TELL THE STORY: The bride and groom stand stiffly for the wedding photographer, looking like they can hardly wait until the shutter clicks so they can join others in the celebration. Ah, the photography of the day often required patience on the part of the subjects and belied the joy within. The Poulsbo Historical Museum’s upcoming exhibit, “Poulsbo Brides Through the Years,” will bring to life the joy felt by those blushing brides and handsome grooms of the past. The exhibit opens in June, in time for the wedding season, and will feature beautiful vintage wedding dresses as well as other memorabilia. Go to

DOMINO EFFECT: Mayor Becky Erickson said the sale of the old city hall property — site of the proposed Old City Hall Apartments — could close within a couple of weeks. And a purchase contract has been signed for the old police station, the site of 25 proposed apartments.

Those efforts — or, rather, the funds the sales will generate — will set various projects in motion.

After site cleanup costs and paying Kitsap County for its share of the old city hall property — the county owned the space occupied by district court there — the city will net $800,000. For the old police station, the city will receive $825,000.

Some of that money will be used to pay for the removal of the house on 8th Avenue and a nearby house nestled within Centennial Park. Removal of those houses will clear the way for restoration of that section of the south fork of Dogfish Creek. New restrooms will be built in Muriel Iverson Williams Waterfront Park, but relocated closer to the parking lot. A Dumpster enclosure will be built next to the restrooms, with a drain that will tie into the wastewater system so runoff from the Dumpsters will be captured and treated rather than drain off into Liberty Bay.

Expect this out of park reserve funds: Those concrete pilings sticking out of the ground in front of the Austin-Kvelstad Pavilion will be removed and replaced by rows of comfy park benches, in time for Viking Fest.

IMPROVEMENTS AT NELSON PARK: The trail from Fish Park to Nelson Park is expected to be completed “within the next month,” Erickson said. The old Nelson Farmhouse barn, which is going to seed, will be removed and some kind of recreational use installed in its place; ideas range from basketball courts to a skate park.

Meanwhile, the mayor is exploring ways to improve vehicle movement in and out of the Nelson Park parking lot. Did you know the Martinson Cabin across the parking lot, on Viking Avenue and Lindvig Way, is part of Nelson Park? Erickson said she’s exploring ways “to connect the pieces of the park together.”

— Richard Walker is managing editor of Kitsap News Group. Contact him at

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