kitsap county historical society
Kitsap Historical Society & Museum

One of the most popular KCHS events is the Eat Your Way through Kitsap History series. Each year we visited six new sites. These outings provide a wonderful combination of history and food. Participants enjoy a historical presentation and tour, followed by a meal at the historic site or a participating restaurant. The calendar of events runs between April and September, a wonderful season to travel
the county and soak up history!

Are You Ready? The 12th Annual Eat Your Way Through Kitsap History Starts on April 23rd, 2014!

For the full Eat Your Way menu of 2014
and a form to sign up for one or all EYW events
in PDF format CLICK HERE

11th Annual Eat Your Way Through Kitsap History - 2013 -- IS NOW HISTORY as we raised a glass and toasted the end of another successful season on October 19th.

You can still download the brochure for the event here.

Separator Bar


10th Annual Eat Your Way Through Kitsap History - 2012

To download the full 2012 brochure, click here.

First Course: Camp Union ~ Willcox House ~ Holly School

Following a casual lunch at the Camp Union Saloon (previously the historic Camp Union Cookhouse), we step into 1930s elegance at the Willcox House, situated on Tekiu Point on Hood Canal. In 1937 Colonel Julian Willcox hired architect Lionel Pries to build this stately mansion in Kitsap County. The architect faced many challenges because Constance, the colonel’s wife, wanted the latest and best of everything. The home became the grand entertainment center of the canal region. Current owners Philip and Cecilia Hughes will share with us their home’s colorful history that includes celebrities such as Clark Gable and Erle Stanley Gardner.

Next we travel south on the canal to the historic Holly School. The two room schoolhouse built in 1922 still retains its original design. It is the best preserved of three schools built at the same time. The other two were located at Crosby and Seabeck. The building was used as a school until 1946. In 1947 it became the home of the Holly Community Club and a center for community events. Our gracious hosts at the Holly School will be serving our group a delicious dessert. Photos Course sponsor: Richard Eskridge


Second Course: Historic Gregory Way Walking Tour

Today we stroll along Gregory Way, a street full of history that borders the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in downtown Bremerton. Historian and author Frank Wetzel lived on Gregory Way as a youth. The first sentence in his well-known book Victory Gardens and Barrage Balloons is “We kids who lived on Gregory Way in Bremerton knew war was coming long before Pearl Harbor.” We are fortunate to have Frank Wetzel join us today to tell the stories of those early years of the war, point out some noteworthy homes and tell about the people who lived there. You’re sure to recognize some familiar names along the way. A bonus stop will be a tour of the historic Lofthus home, a beautiful Mediterranean style home, currently owned by Mr. and Mrs. Trent England. When we have worked up an appetite, we’ll gather at Anthony’s Harborside Restaurant for a delicious lunch. Photos Course sponsor: Donald DeMers Investigations

 Local author Frank Wetzel in front of his childhood house on Gregory Way. During the Gregory Way Walking Tour Frank told many stories about growing up in Bremerton and living along Gregory Way during World War II. 


Third Course: Burley Colony

In Burley, on the shores of Carr Inlet in South Kitsap, a 103-year-old community hall, original houses, a cemetery, and pilings of a pier speak of an attempt at a communal settlement there from 1898 until 1912. The settlers of the Burley Co-operative Brotherhood—one of five utopian communities in Puget Sound at that time—cleared the land and shared in the operation of a lumber mill, orchard, fruit cannery, printing press and cigar factory. Kevin LaCombe, president of the Burley Community Club, will be our guide and historian for this fascinating chapter in Kitsap history. We will meet in the historic community hall for an introduction to Burley.


Then, following either a picnic lunch in Burley Park or lunch in the hall, depending on weather, we will have the opportunity to take a short to walk to several of the original houses and tour the cemetery, including a look at the dam across Burley Creek that was the water supply for the colony.


Fourth Course: The Grahn House in Gilberton

Carl Grahn emigrated from Sweden in 1881, eventually homesteading near Brownsville in Gilberton. His wife Mattie, originally from Norway, and their three children joined Carl at the Gilberton family “ranch” where both Carl and his brother Herman built farmhouses between 1889-1904. In those early days, the Mosquito Fleet would stop at Grahn’s Cove, where one can still see the pilings of the pier and the skeleton of one of the boats. Today we visit the home of Elaine Thomas and John Sledd, who occupy the original Carl Grahn home. Descendants Karl, Florence and Peter Grahn, as well as Elaine and John, will share their historic photos and stories about the history of this early Kitsap family. We may also be able to visit the home built by Herman Grahn—a bonus for our group. We will enjoy a picnic lunch in the orchard. This is truly a unique Kitsap pioneer family experience that has evolved and yet remained much the same for over 100 years. Course sponsor: Annamarie Lavieri and Al Gunther


Date: Thursday, September 13
Time: 10:00 a.m.
Cost: $40 per person
$35 KCHS members

Fifth Course: The Country Club of Seattle ~ Bainbridge Island

In the 1870s, a group of well-to-do Easterners who loved to sail looked for a site where they could live on the water and close to Seattle. They bought a 20-acre dairy farm on Restoration Point, a promontory on the southeastern shore of Bainbridge Island. In 1891 they built the Clubhouse for The Country Club of Seattle. Soon, 18 homes with spectacular views of Mount Rainier, Puget Sound and the new city of Seattle graced the bluff. The homes have been lovingly lived in and cared for over the years. Longtime Bainbridge resident and historian Andrew Price, Jr., has graciously invited us to visit the 1906-vintage home his family has owned in the Country Club community since 1929. Andy will show us the Clubhouse and share with us the history of Restoration Point and the genteel enclave situated there. We will enjoy a light lunch at Andy’s home.


Date: Saturday, October 6
Time: 10:30 a.m.
Cost: $40 per person
$35 KCHS members
**space is limited**

Sixth Course: Suquamish Fish Hatchery ~ House of Awakened Culture ~ Suquamish Museum

In this month when salmon are spawning, we will first get to see the Suquamish tribal fish hatchery, where manager Mike Huff will lead us through the important steps of fish production and protection. We will see spawning chum and coho, eggs, green eggs, hatched chinook and learn about this important Northwest natural resource.
Next is a visit to the new House of Awakened Culture, the Suquamish tribal community center. For the Salish Tribes of the Puget Sound, a single large building served as the center of the community. The original community house of the Suquamish (Old Man House) was over 600 feet long and stood in what is now Old Man House Park. Families lived communally in the house, which served as the center of major tribal events. It was burned to the ground in 1870 by the US government following the death of the Suquamish leader, Chief Seattle. The new community center is modeled after its historic predecessor and features traditional architecture and materials. Although it is much larger than the original, it captures the spirit of the community and is used for many living culture programs. We hear about that interesting culture and then enjoy a lunch in the community house. For those who wish to stay longer, a visit to the just opened Suquamish Museum, a short distance up the hill, puts the final touches on a most interesting day. Course sponsor: Peninsula Services


Date: Thursday, November 8
Time: 10:30 a.m. – Fish Hatchery Tour
12 noon – House of Awakened Culture and Lunch
1:00 p.m. – Suquamish Museum
Cost: $40 per person
$35 KCHS members

Drink Your Way through Kitsap: Exploring Local Breweries ~ Remembering Roadhouses

With all the new breweries bubbling up in Kitsap County, one might think this is a new industry in our neck of the woods. But not so. Historically, breweries have been a part of Kitsap County since before the 1930s. Originally located in Port Orchard, the Silver Springs Brewery stood at Bay St. and Bethel Rd. When built, it was the tallest building in Kitsap County, a landmark building from 1934 until 1950, when the brewery moved to Tacoma, where it continued its business until 1967.
Today we will be exploring several breweries that are making new history in Kitsap. We board our chartered bus at the Kitsap Mall parking lot, travel to Poulsbo, Manette, Gorst, and Port Orchard, then return to have dinner at Hale’s Alehouse. Along the way you will hear fascinating stories of the numerous and sometimes notorious road houses of Kitsap County where dancing, drinking and revelry were the order of the day. Join us for this unique light-hearted adventure.

Date: Saturday, August 11
Time: 1:30 p.m. Meet at the Kitsap Mall
Cost: $60 per person
$55 KCHS members

9th Annual Eat Your Way Through Kitsap History - 2011

First Course: Port Gamble Heritage Trees and Exploring

Did you know that are designated rare trees named Washington State "Champion Trees"? One of these is the rare 120-year-old Camperdown Elm at Port Gamble. Heritage tree expert Jim Trainer guides us today as we learn more about this and other noteworthy Kitsap trees on our leisurely walk through beautiful Port Gamble. The stroll takes about one hour. Following the guided tour you will be free to wander the quaint streets of the updated Port Gamble community. There are interesting mint condition historical homes to peruse and shops to visit, including the wonderful Dauntless Bookstore in an old home, the Tango Zulu import shop, the Artful Ewe, the Historic Museum of Port Gamble, the Tea Room and more. When you are ready for lunch, you will have a ticket for a tasty light meal at the General

Second Course: Furuya House and Gazzam House, Bainbridge Island

We will visit two historic early 1900s homes situated close together on Crystal Springs Drive. The Furuya House, currently owned by Frank and Michele Whitman, was the summer retreat of Masijiro Furuya, a successful Seattle businessman. Because Mr. Furuya was Japanese, he was not allowed to own property, so he leased this property from his neighbor, Colonel Warren Gazzam. The Colonel, a colorful entrepreneur whose business ventures included a Mosquito Fleet line and a Bremerton hotel, at one time owned over 500 acres on Bainbridge Island, including Gazzam Lake, and intended to develop the southwest shoreline as the "gold coast" of the island. His 6000-square foot house, built with river rock from the shore, has been lovingly researched and cared for by its current owners, artist Kathe Fraga and her husband Jeff. You won't want to miss this fascinating destination and hear the stories it tells. Photos

Third Course: Naval Base Keyport, Dive Locker & Keyport

We are most fortunate to have the opportunity to visit Naval Base Kitsap-Keyport, a site that plays an important role in our community and is the location of some lovely historic homes, as well as the "dive locker", the oldest hyperbaric chamber in the United States, still in use today. Dean Cox, NUWC Keyport historian, will be our guide as we travel by bus onto the base, where we will enjoy a stroll on the beautiful grounds to Keyport House, the quarters of NUWC commander and his wife, Captain Stephen and Lynn Iwanowicz. We will walk or be drive by van to see and learn about the dive locker, and then, as we finish our visit, we will get to see the Gettysburg Oak, planted by a Civil War hero who lived his final days on his homestead near the Keyport lagoon. Outside the Keyport gates after our tour, we will hear the history of the small Keyport community from its proud and knowledgeable residents. And then a box lunch at the historic Keyport Mercantile, established in 1903. Photos

Fourth Course: Seabeck Gardens Tour, Historical Notes & A Moveable Feast

We will visit some of the most beautiful gardens in Seabeck and, along the way, hear the history of this unique area of Kitsap. Among the properties to which we have been invited are Kathy Mahan and Don Paulson's small but elegant beach side garden; Jerry McAuliffe's expansive Emel Glade property near the Big Beef estuary; and the Asian Northwest gardens of neighbors Tim and Shirley Ryan and John and Kristie Lamberg, also on the Hood Canal and with spectacular vistas. At each garden visit, Seabeck historian Fred Just will narrate "chapters" of Seabeck history, starting with the Native American settlements in the area and continuing through the Milltown years and into the present. Our catered breakfast, lunch and dessert will be strategically served so that we can enjoy picnic style food along with the sights, the sounds, history and good camaraderie of this day in lovely and interesting gardens. We will be outside the entire time and may get to watch eagles and herons feeding along the shoreline of the Hood Canal. A wonderful morning and afternoon. Photos

Fifth Course: Hansville Native Plant Garden and Tour of Historic Kingston

At the northern-most tip of Kitsap County lies the charming little community of Hansville, famous for its historic lighthouse. But there is much more to see in Hansville The Native Plant Garden in Buck Lake Park is an easy and interesting walk, made even more so by our expert guide, landscape architect Patrick Leuner. Patrick is well known throughout the area, having designed noteworthy gardens for Paul Allen and others in the Pacific Northwest. We are fortunate to have him available for our group excursion. We will also visit the Hansville Community Center before we head into Kingston, where members of the Kingston Historical Society will take us on a walking tour of downtown Kingston and point out historic sites. Following our tour, we will break into smaller groups and enjoy lunch at several local restaurants in Kingston. Lots of fun and interesting history for everyone. Photos

Sixth Course: The Carl Nelson House in Olalla

This spectacular Victorian home, built by Charles Nelson for his bride in 1913 and listed on the National Historic Registry, sits perched on the hillside overlooking Colvos Passage and Vashon Island. Current owners Roy and Jennifer Hjalseth will share with us the house's proud history. After our home tour, we will cross the nearby Olalla Bridge, the site of the annual Polar Bear jump on New Year's Day, and stop at what was until recently Al's Grocery. The grocery, Olalla's first store, located near a mosquito fleet stop for the Virginia V, was the center of community social activities, housing the post office, the jail, and boarding rooms. Dances were often held in the second story. Be sure to join us for this day of history in Olalla. Photos

Bonus Event: Drink Your Way through Kitsap History

Last year we explored some of the oldest taverns of Bremerton, Port Orchard and Silverdale. This was such a popular and interesting tour, we are including a similar adventure in our 2011 program, this year exploring old taverns of the Poulsbo, Keyport, and Kingston areas. We board our Silver City Bus in Keyport and head for the Voodiez Bar and Grill in Poulsbo. This establishment, in existence since the Poulsbo Hotel was razed in 1913 and replaced with the A. Nelson Blacksmith Shop and Hardware, has had many different "lives", including numerous taverns and restaurants. Another Poulsbo destination is The Loft, established in 1907 and also witness to a varied history, including a time as the popular Viking House. We'll travel up Highway 3 to the 4 Corners Tavern, dating to 1952, then on to former drinking establishments in Kingston, and then to check out the 19th Hole at Erlands Point. On our return to Keyport, we'll enjoy a fine dinner of pub food at the famous Whiskey Creek Steak House. Originally Keyport's First Mercantile in 1927, then the Keyport Tavern, then the Torpedo Shop in the 1930s, Whiskey Creek Steak House showcases its past in the historic photographs that line its walls. Our accomplished guide will again be Paul Middents, who mixes history with humor and little known facts about taverns and breweries. Join us for this unique look at Kitsap County's colorful history.

KCHS   In 2010, the Kitsap Historical Society presented the inaugural Drink Your Way through Kitsap History. Traveling via a tour bus from Silver City Brewery, attendees learned the history of a number of notable drinking establishments as they visited (and patronized) historic bars from Silverdale to Port Orchard. We plan for this to become a new KCHS tradition!

2010 Drink Your Way photos: view

2010 EYW events:

My Girl Drive-in (May 11, 2010)
An authentic replica of a 1950s drive-in restaurant, this 10,000 square feet of antiques and collectibles, including classic cars, machinery, toys and celebrity memorabilia, is the culmination of years of a dedicated effort by our host Bob Thompson. view photos

Westinghouse/Lindbergh Estate (June 3, 2010)
This beautiful property was built orginially by the commodore of the Seattle Yacht Club in 1908, when the SYC had an “out station” on the bay. The Colonial Revival style home was significantly enlarged and rebuilt during the 1930s, when it served as a residence for the family of George Westinghouse, Jr., who sought sanctuary for his young family after the Lindbergh kidnapping. Coincidentally, the home was later owned by Charles Lindbergh’s son, Jon. view photos

Blakely Harbor Park (July 24, 2010)
A lovely outing to one of the most historic sites in Kitsap County takes us to Blakely Harbor Park on Bainbridge Island. Andrew Price, preeminent historian of Blakely Harbor, will share his extensive knowledge of the story of Captain William Renton’s Port Blakely Mill, described in its heyday in the 1880s as “the largest sawmill in the world”. view photos

South Kitsap – Beautiful Gardens, Good Eats, Historical Notes (August 21, 2010)
Tucked away in wooded glens, along with beaches and overlooking ocean vistas lie some of the most beautiful gardens of Port Orchard. Lovingly designed and tended by Master Gardeners and award winning landscape artists, four of these gardens in Port Orchard will be our destinations as we enjoy a day of beauty, history and refreshment. view photos

Early Days in Eglon – A Storyteller’s Historical Account (September 16, 2010)
Join us as we hear stories that bring to life the early days of Eglon, a tiny community near Hansville that was home to many well-known Kitsap pioneer families who shaped the development of the area. view photos

Seabeck – Logger’s Breakfast & Tour of Historical Homes (October 20, 2010)

We begin in the Seabeck Conference Center dining room with a hearty breakfast that will fortify us for the rest of the day, just as it did the lumberjacks of the late 1800s. Those were the days when Seabeck was a thriving mill and shipbuilding center, and the lumber company’s reputation depended as much on the quality and quantity of timber it produced as it did on the quality and quantity of the food it put on the tables in the cookhouse where the workers ate. Following breakfast, we will be treated to a tour of some of the original houses, built in the 1850s, that remain in use on the property today.

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