The evolution of the Evergreen Park neighborhood

Photo by Patrick Kerber.
Photo by Patrick Kerber.

Despite a relentless rain shower, we had one heck of a turnout for Saturday’s Story Walk of Evergreen-Rotary Park. The park — and the neighborhood around it — is changing rapidly. Here’s a rundown of all the things we learned Saturday:

The park — back then just the 11.5 acres closest to Park Avenue — was leased to the city by Warren Smith in 1901, and formally became a park in 1908 or 1909.

The old pavilion at Evergreen.
The old pavilion at Evergreen.

An early pavilion constructed there was known as a “blind pig” and “bawdy house” due to the drinking and other debauchery that took place there.

The city’s first power plant was a lumber mill that existed near Smith Cove. The lumber mill’s operators would burn refuse that would operate a primitive turbine that generated power.

The park had campgrounds following World War I; during the war years, it was taken over by the federal government for training and housing military personnel.

The Bremerton Memorial Swimming Pool was constructed there (outdoors) in 1953, thanks to an $80,000 donation from the Lions Club. It would remain open until an indoor pool was built in East Bremerton in 1979.

Photo by Patrick Kerber. Thanks, Patrick!
Photo by Patrick Kerber. Thanks, Patrick!

The “other side” of the park — where the 9/11 Memorial exists now — was once an industrial zone. Steam laundries, coal and gravel bunkers, and bulk oil storage abounded. One of the oil tanks was actually an old submarine torpedo boat once known as the USS Fox. It would take years, and hundreds of thousands of dollars, to cleanup the area, to include the Chevron site.

In recent years, the park has seen a number of improvements. The 9/11 memorial was completed in 2013 with private funding. The All-Accessible Playground was completed in 2014 with a combined $523,000 in grants and private funding. This year, close to a half-million dollars is going to revamp the boat ramp and launch, a combined project by the state, Port of Bremerton and city.

Trish Williams, developer of the Evergreen-Pointe Apartments near the park on Sheldon Boulevard, was on hand Saturday to answer questions. Her project, which she says will start “going vertical” in the late spring, will have a 95 unit complex and a smaller 14 unit one off Sheldon Boulevard. Williams said she’s working with the city to establish a public walking path through the middle of the project.

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Evergreen Pointe apartments rendering.

Williams also touched on some retail possibilities in those spaces she’s constructing, to include a wine bar, bike store and donut shop.

The Quonset Hut on 13th Street near the park continues to develop as Saboteur Bakery (which also just opened a location downtown).

The city’s Washington Avenue reconstruction contractor, RV Associates, continues to mend the two sides of what will now be a larger park together. Thanks to shutting down a beach sewer line, crews have been able to remove a sewer pump station, roadway and power lines. In their place will be more grassland, walking pathways and a way to relax and enjoy the waterfront.

Photo by Patrick Kerber.
Photo by Patrick Kerber.

Inside Honor Bar, where we warmed up following the rainy walk, Chef and Owner Alan Davis explained why he and his wife Jodi opened the restaurant in Bremerton — and also gave an overview of Paella (as he makes a crazy good version of it).

Also, a special thanks to CJ’s Evergreen General Store for giving us a starting point for the walk.

And as for that rock with the face on it? We couldn’t find it Saturday, but here’s the story about it.

Thanks to all who attended!

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3 thoughts on “The evolution of the Evergreen Park neighborhood

  1. Thanks for Saturday’s Story Walk, Josh. You did a spectacular job of putting it together, as always. Sorry I didn’t stick around to take you to the giant face. I would be glad to show it to you any time.

  2. Wanted to attend but had a previous engagement. My sister and I spent a lot of time in the Evergreen Park area as children in the late 60s/early 70s. My parents owned a business there on Sheldon (James Tucker Painting), essentially across from Cogean Ave near where the park restrooms are now. BremAir had a facility next door and we shared a driveway with I believe Puget Power. There was also the old fuel facility behind our shop on the water…my sister and I used to play in the abandoned truck loading facility (fun times in those days!). There also used to be a little store that a mother and son ran out of the front of their house…I can’t remember the street but possibly on 12th somewhere between Pacific and Park. We used to go up there and buy cookies and sodas. Lots of great memories.

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