The mystery of the red star on Chester Avenue

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While doing a story at the Frank Chopp apartments last October, I looked across the street to find a faint but visible red star in the concrete off the sidewalk. 

The star, at the base of the steps to the home at 711 Chester Avenue, intrigued me. Where did it come from? Why was it there?

711 Chester Avenue's star.
711 Chester Avenue’s star.

I turned to the power of social media, specifically the “If you grew up in bremerton, WA … remember when …” group, to help. There’s more than 7,800 members in the group and while I did not exactly grow up in the city, its administrators graciously adopted me.

After posting a photo of the star, the response was incredible — nearly 150 comments and it hasn’t been up a day yet. Already, people who’ve lived there, and even a woman who says here grandfather built the home in the 1920s, have contributed (thank you Kelly Storm!).

But we’ve not yet solved the mystery of the red star.

Here’s the going theories at this point:

“The Red Star gained its name and reputation from sailors visiting Fell’s Point. They docked, lonely and water-logged, hoping to find some of the comforts of home. The sailors knew Fell’s Point was a good place to find a warm meal and a cold ale, along with more “intimate” necessities. The blue laws of the time prohibited the customary red lights in the district… so resourceful women painted nautical red stars on the sidewalks leading the sailors to their doors. To the lonely men’s delight, The Red Star was born.”

  • The U.S. Militaria Forum says red stars represent “missing or captured” soldiers.
  • Some kind of tradition by the builders of the home?
  • A safety measure for children, that signified a safe house for them to go?
  •  Perhaps something to do with the Red Star of David?
  • And I would be remiss to not mention the red star’s connection to communism.

My inclination thus far is that it’s indeed something to do with missing or captured soldiers. But I want to verify that and ultimately find out how it got there and, if that’s true, who it’s for.

I turn to you, further, dear readers, to help us unravel this mystery.

4 thoughts on “The mystery of the red star on Chester Avenue

  1. The solemn oath of the Red Eastern Star, wife of a master Mason. Just google Masonic red star and you’ve got it. The Masonic order in Bremerton was and is very active.

  2. Great follow up Josh. I’m leaning towards the “Fells Point” story. Bremerton has a rich history as a rough and tumble Navy town rife with drinking, gambling, even opium dens and of course prostitution.

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