POULSBO — Judy Driscoll swung and broke a bottle of champagne on the dock clete June 10 to launch the Poulsbo Historical Society’s newest project at its downtown Maritime Museum.
A Boat Shed Pavilion will display some smaller boats used in Poulsbo’s early days, and will include a life-size replica of the pilot house of the Hyak.
“We’ve been waiting for two years now to get all the permits and everything in place to go ahead and get it built,” said Driscoll, secretary of the historical society board of directors.
The society was founded in 1991 and operates three museums: the historical museum in City Hall, the Martinson Cabin at Poulsbo Junction, and the maritime museum on Front Street.
Though still in its infancy, the maritime museum gets around 3,000-4,000 visitors every summer, according to the historical society. Last year, more than 21,000 visitors entered it’s doors.
“They come from all over the world,” said Mary Ann Acosta, coordinator for the historical society. “They’ve been to world-class museums and they’re so struck at how you can put together a local history and tell the story of it.”
Poulsbo Historical Society Board President Tom Henderson said the maritime museum showcases “the 100 years of the past, so it can be viewed now to students who are saying, ‘How did this all happen?’ ”
When trade began to flourish in Poulsbo in the early 1900s, roads and bridges weren’t yet developed. The town relied on the “Mosquito Fleet” to carry farm goods and passengers to other ports, including Seattle. Among them was the Hyak, which operated from 1909 to 1941.
Henderson described the Hyak as the “queen” of the Mosquito Fleet.
Driscoll added, “Other boats came and went, but the Hyak stayed.”
The board created models and blueprints of what the pilot house will look like next to the museum. They said the replica will give visitors who go aboard a good view of Liberty Bay.
“It’s going to be exactly the same scale,” Henderson said. “People will be able to look inside it and walk into it for photo opportunities.”
According to the June 2017 “Time and Tides” newsletter from the historical society, some of the first steps that will be taken to make the pavilion include “removing a portion of the current roofing and adding a gutter, preparing the asphalt for proper draining, setting the trusses, framing the roof and walls, installing roof panels, electrical work and many other tasks.”
The Poulsbo Historical Society is raising funds for the project from donations and from events like the annual Codfish Dinner and Auction and the upcoming Pirates Plunder Rummage Sale on June 23.
Several people attended the celebration on June 10, including Mayor Becky Erickson and donors who contributed to the project.
Board member David Shields brought a decorated shovel down into a cracked portion of cement to symbolically begin the project.
The project is expected to be completed by September.