Island Road History | Grow Avenue

Street of the Week: Grow Avenue

Location: Runs north/south between Winslow Way and High School Road

History: Grasshoppers drove Ambrose Grow to Bainbridge Island. Grow, a Civil War veteran, left his home of Kansas after reading a New York newspaper article about “beautiful Bainbridge Island.” (The article was supposedly written by Riley Haskinson, an early settler of Eagle Harbor.) The Northwest locale, Grow hoped, would mean fewer bugs to contend with every year.

In 1881, Grow and his wife Amanda moved west with six of their children (older sons Frank and W.M. joined their parents later). The family started the long journey with a wagon train but ran into difficulties as their traveling money ran out. Eventually though the Grows made it safely to the shores of Bainbridge where they played a prominant role in the island’s early history.

Among other contributions, the Madrone School was built on land donated by Grow; his youngest daughter, Carrie, was the school’s first teacher.

The family patriarch died in 1909, at the ripe old age of 84 leaving behind a whole new crop of Grows.

Source: “Bainbridge Through Bifocals,” Elsie Frankland Marriott, 1941.

This occasional Islander series explores the history of island street names, as compiled by Elinor Ringland and fellow Bainbridge Island Historical Society volunteers.  If you have an island road story to share, email Ringland at elinorjoe@msn.com.