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Archive for the ‘History’ Category

‘Honor & Sacrifice’ wins American history documentary award

Friday, April 18th, 2014
Contributed file photo Don Sellers and Lucy Ostrander's "Honor & Sacrifice" won the Erik Barnouw Award from the Organization of American Historians for outstanding programming in documentary film concerned with American history.

Contributed file photo
Don Sellers and Lucy Ostrander’s “Honor & Sacrifice” won the Erik Barnouw Award from the Organization of American Historians for outstanding programming in documentary film concerned with American history.

Lucy Ostrander and Don Sellers’ “Honor & Sacrifice: The Roy Matsumoto Story” continues to impress critics and audiences.

Last weekend, the documentary captured the prestigious Erik Barnouw Award from the Organization of American Historians for outstanding programming in documentary film concerned with American history in Atlanta, Ga.

“Honor & Sacrifice” focuses on Roy Matsumoto and his Japanese immigrant family that endured tragedy and triumph during World War II. Matsumoto’s daughter, Karen, lives on Bainbridge Island and is the film’s associate producer.

“We’re particularly pleased because for the creators of historical documentaries, the Erik Barnouw Award represents one of the most important honors achievable,” said Ostrander, whose Stourwater Pictures is located on Bainbridge. “It not only speaks to the scholarly rigor of the work, but also to its historical importance.”

Ostrander said past winners of the award include Ken Burns and Henry Hampton, as well as revered films such as “The Most Dangerous Man in America” and “Death and the Civil War.”

“The Organization of American Historians is the major organization for historians who study and teach about the United States,” Ostrander said. “They annually present a small number of awards in recognition of scholarly and professional achievements in the field of American history. Only one is for a film, so the award is extremely competitive.”

If “Honor & Sacrifice” sounds familiar it should. It was shown at 15th annual Celluloid Bainbridge Film Festival last November.

If you haven’t seen the stirring ”Honor & Sacrifice” yet, you’re in luck. It will be broadcast on Seattle public television station KCTS at 7 p.m. Sunday, May 25.


Public memorial for Kitamoto set for April 6

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

The community is encouraged to wear either purple and gold or Hawaiian attire when they attend a public memorial service for Frank Kitamoto at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 6, at Woodward Middle School, Kitamoto’s sister Lilly Kodama said.

“We are telling people to wear purple and gold as Frank was an ardent U of W Husky fan or Hawaiian attire as this was his favorite vacation spot,” Kodama said.

After being hospitalized for six weeks, Kitamoto died at age 74 on March 15 at a Seattle hospital.

During World War II, Kitamoto was interred for three years with his family when he was just 2 years old. Kitamoto, who worked as dentist, was well known for traveling around the country informing people about the Japanese-American internment camps and his experiences.

“Besides his speaking presentations,” son Derek Kitamoto said, “…my fondest memories are of going to Sonics, Seahawks and Husky football games with my father. He was a big sports fan and longtime Husky football season ticket holder. I also cherished the few times I was able to go with him on his annual trips to Hawaii. The Hawaiian islands were his home away from home.”

Contributed Photo/Courtesy of Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial “(Frank Kitamoto was) a humble, gracious soul with (a) hearty, infectious laugh and a 1,000 watt smile that would light up the darkest room," says Clarence Moriwaki, president of the Bainbridge Japanese American Exclusion Memorial.

Contributed Photo/Courtesy of Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial
“(Frank Kitamoto was) a humble, gracious soul with (a) hearty, infectious laugh and a 1,000 watt smile that would light up the darkest room,” says Clarence Moriwaki, president of the Bainbridge Japanese American Exclusion Memorial.


Patriotism abounds at decommissioning ceremony for former military housing

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014
Ethan Fowler/Special to the Kitsap Sun Jim Walkowski, right, talks about former Government Way housing resident Tony Watson, a U.S. Navy underwater diver who was on the 1985 hijacked TWA airplane of Flight 847, during the March 20 Government Way decommissioning ceremony.

Ethan Fowler/Special to the Kitsap Sun
Jim Walkowski, right, talks about former Government Way housing resident Tony Watson, a U.S. Navy underwater diver who was on the 1985 hijacked TWA airplane of Flight 847, during the March 20 Government Way decommissioning ceremony. From left, Bainbridge Mayor Anne Blair, Kathryn Keve, Jon Quitslund, Greg Lotakis, Karen Vargas and Fred Scheffler listen to Walkowski.

Tom Vargas said giving a proper closure to a subdivision that served as government housing was one of the best things about participating last Thursday in the decommissioning of a Bainbridge street formerly known as Government Way from 1957 to 2007.

Tom, and his wife Karen, lived on the street for 10 years starting in 1992. Tom donated an American flag that was used on the USS Alabama submarine at Bangor. The flag was used during Thursday’s ceremony to conclude the event.

Karen, along with Kathryn Keve and others, worked hard to collect the names of former residents, other stories and historical facts that were tied to the 16-house street. Karen retired from the Army.

Tom served on the USS Alabama with frequent Government Way visitor Brian Moss, who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, terroristic attacks while working at the Pentagon. The two friends enjoyed barbecuing together.

“It’s pretty cool,” Tom said after the decommissioning ceremony. “A lot of stuff gets closed and not a big deal is made and you come back a year later and it’s gone. This gives me closure because this was the majority of where I lived during my (military) career.”

Bainbridge Mayor Anne Blair said the ceremony was “nicely done all the way around.”

“Home is where our stories begin and this was a day of stories and it will continue to be,” Blair said.

Ross Smaaladen, a construction worker with PHC, thought the ceremony was “awesome” and appreciated learning some of the interesting history of the homes and residents. PHC employees are dismantling the 16 rambler style homes on the street to make way for the new 5-acre second phase of the Grow Community. The new development literally will be situated on what is now John Adams Lane and will feature 3 acres of open space that will be mixed with fields, orchards and light forest groves.

“We’re helping to build the next stage of history for the community and it’s great to be a part of it,” said Seppi Gorecki, another PHC construction worker.

Six of Bremerton High School’s Navy Junior ROTC members also participated in the decommissioning and conducted the flag-folding ceremony. Michael Shiflet was the cadet that presented the flag to American Legion Post 172 Commander Fred Scheffler at the event’s conclusion.

U.S. Army recruiter Sgt. Clarence Jennings drove from Silverdale to also attend the ceremony.

“I’m honored they asked us to do this and that’s what we do – leadership in the community,” said Sr. Chief Anthony Jones of Bremerton High’s Navy JROTC.

Greg Lotakis, project manager for Asani Developments on the Grow Community project, said he was appreciative of everyone who made the street’s decommissioning event possible.

“Karen and Kathryn are amazing,” Lotakis said. “Community organizers never get enough credit and they said, ‘This is what we want to do.’ And we said, ‘Absolutely,’ and they got it done. It’s a nice close to it.”

Lotakis said trails and a community center will be included in the new Grow development, which will also acknowledge the history of street and its residents with signs.

Ethan Fowler/Special to the Kitsap Sun Members of Bremerton High School's Navy JROTC unit present American Legion Post 172 Commander Fred Scheffler with an American flag that once was previously used on the USS Alabama submarine at Bangor to conclude the Government Way decommissioning ceremony.

Ethan Fowler/Special to the Kitsap Sun
Members of Bremerton High School’s Navy JROTC unit present American Legion Post 172 Commander Fred Scheffler with an American flag that once was previously used on the USS Alabama submarine at Bangor to conclude the Government Way decommissioning ceremony.

Ethan Fowler/Special to the Kitsap Sun Brandon Keller of PHC Construction, right, goes over the designs for new 5-acre second phase of the Grow Community with real estate agent Keith Hauschulz after Thursday's Government Way decommissioning ceremony.

Ethan Fowler/Special to the Kitsap Sun
Brandon Keller of PHC Construction, right, goes over the designs for new 5-acre second phase of the Grow Community with real estate agent Keith Hauschulz after Thursday’s Government Way decommissioning ceremony.


Historic Preservation group seeks nominations for award

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Do you know either an individual, or an organization, or even a preservation project that has had significant community value?

Bainbridge Island Historic Preservation Commission is seeking nominees for its fourth annual Blakely Awards, which are sponsored by the commission.

Nominations are due by March 28.

The Blakely Award for Project of Excellence honors outstanding historic preservation or a restoration project of significant community value. An individual or organization also can vie for the Blakely Award for Preservation Leader award, which recognizes community leadership in promoting historic preservation.

Nomination forms for the awards can be found on the city of Bainbridge Island’s website on the Historic Preservation Commission’s web page – under the Government tab – or alphabetically under Documents & Forms.

The awards will be announced in May during Historic Preservation Month.

For additional information, contact Heather Beckmann, an associate planner on the city’s planning staff, at 206-780-3754.

Past Blakely Awards winners of the Project of Excellence Award include Bainbridge Island Metro Parks for the Yeomalt Cabin restoration (2011), Michael Yates for the restoration of an early log home in the Wing Point neighborhood (2012) and Craig and Alice Skipton for the management of Hey Day Farm (2013).

Past winners of the Preservation Leader Award include Steve Romein and Ty Cramer for the restoration of Lynwood Center (2011), Jeff and Jocelyn Waite, owners of the Harbor Public House (2012) and Howard Block and CeAnn Parker, owners of Bay Hay & Feed (2013).


Drew Hansen shares knowledge of King’s ‘Dream’ speech

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

UPDATE: Apparently Hansen wasn’t done yet. Here’s his op-ed published Tuesday in the New York Times. 

Wednesday marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s transcendent “I Have a Dream” speech.

As the occasion approaches, media outlets across the country are striving to place the historic day in context. For help, some are turning to islander and state legislator Drew Hansen.

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Few people are as intimately familiar with King’s speech as Hansen. The Bainbridge lawyer and 23rd  District representative is also author of “The Dream: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Speech that Inspired a Nation,” a study of the meaning, context and legacy of the famous oration.

“The Dream” was published by Harper Collins in 2003 coincide 40th anniversary of the March on Washington. Hansen became a popular guest speaker after the book’s release, giving numerous talks on King and the speech over the last decade. As the 50-year anniversary of the march approaches, he is once again sharing his insights.

In a USA Today story published earlier this month, Hansen noted the “Dream” speech slid toward obscurity in the years after it was delivered. The speech returned to prominence only after King’s death in 1968, and became – “one of those things we look to when we want to know what America means,” Hansen told the paper. (more…)


More images of Bethany Lutheran on its centennial

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

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Photo on left courtesy the Bainbridge Historical Museum; photo on right by Tad Sooter.

Bainbridge Island’s Bethany Lutheran Church is marking its centennial this year. As part of the celebration a group of congregants spent Sunday afternoon revisiting the original Bethany Lutheran, a 1913 church house on Pleasant Beach Drive.

blogbethany5There are still a number of Bethany Lutheran members who attended the old church (Bethany relocated to Finch Road in 1961). Some were baptized there, confirmed there, and even married there. Today the church is a private residence.

Shirley Jenkins (formerly Ostrand) recalls when her extended family filled several pews at the Pleasant Beach church. In the early days the Ostrands drove a horse cart south from their Manzanita homestead to attend services.

Though the exterior of the building remains largely unaltered (see the photos above), the interior has been remodeled by a succession of owners. Jenkins offered to share a few pictures of how the church house looked inside when it was still a church:

blog.bethany2 blog.bethany3


Pedaling in your great-grandfather’s shoes

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

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Tristan Baurick here. On my way back from Colorado I got a chance to represent Bainbridge in a unique bike race. Here’s my story…

Your great-grandfather would have told you that a long day of bicycle riding is a bone-shaking and nerve-racking affair. He would have advised you to mind the smoke from your brake, and bring along a hunk of wood to drop like an anchor if the overworked brake gives out. And if a prostitute offers you whiskey in a hail storm, take a swig. You’ll need it.

I know all of this because I rode your great-grandfather’s bike – a 97-year-old, single-speed steel contraption – for last month’s L’Eroica Junction to Glenwood Vintage Bicycle Race. The 102-mile, one-day trek through western Colorado combines sports, history, and a touch of theater. Also, a lot of wool knickers and several waxed mustaches.

(more…)


Island Road History | Ravine Lane

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Street of the Week: Ravine Lane 

Location: Runs north/south off Winslow Way, just west of Highway 305

History: Winslow was once a city divided but not because of any rift between its citizens. The city literally had a line running through it thanks to a deep gulch that split the town in two. 

On the west side stood the church, the school, the grocery store and steamer dock. On the east, the butcher, baker and barber.  Needless to say, running errands in early Winslow took a good deal of strategic planning.

Near the shipyard stood the Winslow Hotel. In 1904, two sisters, Margaret Bradley and Katherine Clements, became the new proprietors. 

The pair remodeled the hotel and added a washroom where the shipyard workers could clean up from work before sitting down to a hot meal. Most ate there whether or not they also called the hotel home.

Then in 1924 the hotel burned to the ground. It was never rebuilt. But if it had been, the hotel would stand directly across the street from the present day police station located at the intersection of Winslow Way and Highway 305.

As Winslow continued to grow and prosper, the residents realized something had to be done about their city’s physical divide so a wooden bridge was built across the gulch, offering at least temporary relief to the problem. 

Today, the ravine is hardly noticable alongside the wide streets of Winslow. Located to the east of Ericksen Avenue under Winslow Way, it no longer hinders the people of Bainbridge from enjoying their city.

Source: “A History of Bainbridge Island.” Katy Warner, 1968, page 41-43.

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.


Island Road History | Lytle Road

Monday, May 6th, 2013

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.


Island Road History | Gideon Lane

Monday, April 29th, 2013

Street of the Week: Gideon Lane

Location: Runs east/west off Grow Avenue, just north of Wyatt Way

History: The Gideons come from pioneering stock. Hailing from Germany, the first offshoots of the family to push west landed in Minnesota before packing up again and heading for the Pacific.

Charlie was the first to land on the West Coast but was soon followed by his younger brother Josiah. The family relocated to Seattle in 1902 and eventually made a home on Bainbridge Island where Josiah worked at the shipyard until his death in 1920. His wife Margaret continued to live on Bainbridge; she was instrumental in the first island library, school and newspaper.

Josiah and Margaret’s son Kenneth also called Bainbridge home and constructed the cabin that still stands on the edge of Gideon Park.

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.


Island Road History | Kono Lane

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Street of the Week: Kono Lane

Location: Runs east/west off Tani Creek Road near Blakely Harbor

History: When a representative of the Japanese Consulate arrived in Port Blakely to oversee the local mill and its large base of Japanese workers, he was shocked at what he found.

Crammed together in bunkhouses, working 10-hour days with minimum pay and then gambling the night away, most of the employees were not, the consulate reported, “honest workers.”

It was up to mill boss Hanjiro Kono to set things straight. Kono stopped the rampant gambling and freeloading. By the time he was done, many workers had left to be replaced by Japanese farmers and their families. To encourage the new arrivals to put down roots, the mill set aside land for the families to live on rent-free in homes built from donated lumber.

By 1903, the area had hundreds of residents, as well as bathhouses, barbershops, churches, a restaurant and even a hotel owned by none other than mill boss Hanjiro Kono.

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.


Island Road History | Shepard Way

Monday, April 1st, 2013

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. (more…)


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