History day makes history of its own

First-ever event draws a steady crowd, encourages historical society members.

POULSBO — It was a day about history, but it was also history in the making.

The first-ever history day event sponsored by the Poulsbo/North Kitsap Historical Society got an enthusiastic thumbs up from those who worked so hard to make it a reality.

“Everything is going along great,” said organizer Kathleen Hogan, noting that the Sunday event drew more than 100 people over the afternoon. “We all feel very encouraged, everybody is so willing to share their knowledge, their history and their stuff.”

For one afternoon, the Sons of Norway was transformed into a mini museum. Historical society members brought artifacts, many from their own collections, on subjects like military history, fishing, farming and boating in the area.

Some attendees combed through the pieces and simply enjoyed the history, but others were looking through the memorabilia for very personal reasons.

Roy Rasmussen, a long time Poulsbo resident, flipped through a book of old Vinland school photos until he found the shot he was looking for.

“See that? That’s my wife, Tordis,” he said with a smile, pointing to a curly-haired girl of about 10 in a group photo of Vinland students. He then pointed to the same woman standing across the table from him — her hair was now white, but her smile was the same.

A collection of old church directories, photos and collectibles featuring First Lutheran Church caught the eye of former Poulsbo resident Hildur Gleason. She grew up in the church, was baptized and confirmed in what is now its side chapel, and hopes to retire to Poulsbo and return to her roots.

“I had to come and reminisce,” she said. “My mom was the librarian in town for many years and my dad was a history teacher, so history is really important to me.”

Later in the afternoon, much of the crowd settled into chairs to hear a string of guest speakers during one of the historical society’s famous chat sessions. Among the speakers: Earl Hanson talked about his father’s boat building and showed the original tools that had been used; Christine Lofall spoke about the history of Lofall and her family’s place in the area’s history; and Mike Regis remarked on the long-standing history of Boy Scout Troop 1571 in the community.

But of course in true chat session fashion, members of the audience were encouraged to jump in and add their own memories, which they did time and time again.

All of the comments made during the chat sessions were recorded with the hopes of preserving these memories, said Hogan. Preserving the history of North Kitsap was really the theme of the day, as the historical society also had on hand preliminary plans for a museum that is slated to be built on Jensen Way.

While the construction is still a ways off, the desire to have the facility showed loud and clear in the comments of history day attendees.

“It’s amazing that we still have so many of these resources,” said Roger Stoleson during one of the chat sessions. “We definitely need to make sure we preserve them.”

Hogan added the historical society is already planning for another history day event this spring.

She said she hopes the next event can be held over two days and that members can incorporate more of a Norwegian heritage theme including costumes and music.

“A little more of a party atmosphere,” Hogan explained.

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