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Island Road History | Lytle Road

May 6th, 2013 by Tad Sooter

Street of the Week:  Lytle Road

Location: Runs north/south from Pleasant Beach Drive, south of Baker Hill

History: There once was a beer-drinking monkey named Mike. The beloved pet and local celebrity lived at Lytle’s Saloon in Pleasant Beach where many a visitor bought him a round just to see a monkey enjoy a beer at the bar.

Saloon owner and monkey owner Billy Lytle was a character, too. Often smartly dressed in a fashionable derby hat and garters, Lytle was known as a friendly, witty businessman who understood the financial benefits of keeping a monkey on a chain in a bar.

Lytle and his wife Mamie also owned a parrot, a gift from a visiting seagoing captain. Though unlike his fellow animal counterpart, the parrot didn’t indulge in the saloon’s alchoholic beverages, his salty language always kept things lively at the Lytle’s establishment.

The animal Lytles weren’t the only ones with reputations. Mamie was a small woman known for abbreviating everyone’s names and for frequently prefacing most of what she said with “wait ’til I tell you.” Mamie’s favorite exclamation of all, however, was supposedly “Oh Jesus, Mary and Joseph.”

She had good reason to call upon the sacred trio one morning when she awoke to the maniac cackling of the chickens she kept outside her and Billy’s home near the saloon.

Upon looking out on the coop, Mamie saw chickens running around no, not with their heads cut off but almost as upset. It seemed Mike the Monkey had found his way to the Lytle home and taken an interest in the flock. He was now in the coop, chasing the frenzied fowls around and pulling off their feathers.

“Bill, come quick!” Mamie was said to have yelled upon seeing the monkey-chicken war being waged in her yard. “Wait ’til I tell you what Mike did to the chickens!”

Billy, upon seeing the commotion, likely laughed at the antics his furry barkeep had gotten up to that morning. The monkey always cheered him up with its foolish tricks.

And when Kitsap County went dry and Lytle’s Saloon closed, Bill could have used a laugh. The couple fell on to hard times with Bill taking work in the taxing business, meeting ferries at Port Blakely to find fares.

As for Mamie, she outlived her husband by many years. In the twilight of her life, she sold her home and moved to a small cottage not far from the site of their  once merry saloon. Let’s hope she still had Mike the monkey and that colorful parrot to keep her company.

Source: “A History of Bainbridge Island.” Katy Warner, 1968, page 83.

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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