We recently debuted a new column in the Islander examining the history of island road names. The column is made possible by the work of Elinor Ringland, a Bainbridge Historical Society volunteer on a mission to dig up the story behind every street on Bainbridge.
Elinor and fellow volunteers combed through local history books, Historical Museum archives, and interviewed islanders to compile these street name stories. Their work to date can be viewed at the museum. Many of the histories are based on family lore and are not necessarily definitive.
If you have a street name story (or myth/rumor/legend) to share, Elinor would love to hear from you. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ll post the column on this blog each week. Our first two road name columns involved the namesake of Redmond and a popular neighborhood fox:
Location: Runs east-west between Wardwell Road and Summer Hill Lane, west of the Highway 305/Sportsman Club Road intersection.
History: Sea captain and carpenter Lucas McRedmond immigrated from Ireland in the 1840s to escape the most recent potato famine.
He made his living in the shipyards of Memphis until California struck gold. Like millions of fellow adventurers, McRedmond made the dangerous journey around Cape Horn to seek his fortune in California. Once west, McRedmond met George Meigs, a fellow 49er questing not for gold but lumber. Together the two opened a mill in Port Madison.
Throughout his time in the Kitsap community, McRedmond was known for his involvement in local government serving as county auditor and commissioner. His prominence led to the town of Redmond and McRedmond Lane both bearing his name.
Sources: “Port Madison Washington Territory
1854-1889,” Fredi Perry, Perry Publishing Bremerton. Page 168.
Kitsap Magazine, March 17, 1982 “Luke McRedmond. A colorful Irishman once called Bainbridge home.”
Fox Cove Lane
Location: Runs north-south between NE Battle Point Drive and the north shore of Fletcher Bay.
History: In the 1950s, a friendly red fox lived in the wild plum thicket near Fletcher’s Bay. At the time, red foxes were common on Bainbridge Island although they are not a native species. It’s believed they were escapees from fox farms that flourished in the area during the 1920s.
The fox frequently ate from the same feed tray as the owner’s ducks (no word on if he also ate the ducks). The owners last saw him before they left on vacation, though the fox inspired the name for the area.
Fletcher’s Bay was also rechristened. It was originally known as Greek George’s Bay after settler George Alap. Wagons would stop at the beach to take a skiff across the bay to a steamer dock, saving them what otherwise would have been a long ride. Judging by deep wagon ruts descovered in the area, the bay seems to have been a popular spot.
Source: “Fox Cove A History.” Barbara Winther, 2003. Fox Cove Association.