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Island Road History | Shepard Way

April 1st, 2013 by Tad Sooter

Location: Runs east/west between Weaver Road and John Adams Lane. A middle section of Shepard Way is now a walking path.

History: “The man who knows the most about the insides of Bainbridge Island.” That was how the Seattle Times referred to island doctor Frank L. Shepard in an article published in the early 1960s.

Educated at Northwester University and Seattle General Hospital, Dr. Shepard was originally from Fargo, North Dakota. He and wife Charlotte McEown moved to Bainbridge Island in November 1911.

A couple months after they arrived, Dr. Shepard, assisted by his wife, delivered his first baby on Bainbridge. By the time he retired from medicine more than four decades later, Dr. Shepard would deliver nearly 2,000 more bouncing baby Washingtonians.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Dr. Shepard and his wife were well-known members of the Bainbridge community.

The couple’s reputation only grew when the pair bought the first automobile the island had ever seen: a Ford Model T purchased in August 1912. It cost the good doctor a whopping $6.50 (that’s roughly $150 for a 2013 consumer) to transport the new car to his home via The Virgina K. steamboat.

Using his new wheels, the doctor visited many communities outside of Bainbridge. On one trip to Poulsbo he drove to Agate Pass, parked his Model T and hopped into a rowboat to make it to the other side (construction of the Agate Pass Bridge was still decades off; the bridge spanning the treacherous waterway didn’t open until 1950.) Needless to say, the journey across was hardly easy with Dr. Shepard battling high tides and dense fogs all by the dim lift of the boat’s gasoline lanterns.

After a long career aiding Kitsap County citizens, Dr. Shepard died June 2, 1962. To honor his contributions as both a doctor and as a Rotarian, the local Rotary donated funds to help buy library furniture in Dr. Shepard’s name.

All told, Dr. Shepard spent more than half a century practicing medicine alongside his wife Charlotte, who was also his trusted nurse. The couple’s home on Madison Avenue has since been remodeled and used for law offices.

Source: “They Like Noble Causes,” Barbara Winther.

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.

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