History of Poulsbo
Boomer’s Pet Boutique is located on Front Street in the charming historic, downtown of Poulsbo, Washington. We’d like to highlight the history of this wonderful town in honor of those who came before us. Enjoy!
Velkommen til Poulsbo
Poulsbo’s strong Norwegian heritage began over 100 years ago in the late 1880′s. Jorgen Eliason is credited with founding Poulsbo. Jorgen, his sister Rakel and his 6 year old son E.J. came to Poulsbo from Fordefjord, Norway, by way of Michigan in 1883. A month after Jorgen’s arrival, Ivar B. Moe with his wife and three sons arrived from Paulsbo, Norway, via Minnesota. They settled at the head of the bay to develop a farm on land that has since become Poulsbo Village Shopping Center. Because of its majestic snow-peaked mountains and fjords, Poulsbo was soon settled by many more Norwegian and Scandinavian immigrants who likened the landscape to their beautiful Norway.
For many years, Norwegian was the only language spoken by the citizens of Poulsbo. In 1886, Ivar B. Moe felt there was enough people on Dogfish Bay (later named Liberty Bay) to warrant a post office. He made an application and called the new town Paulsbo. The Postmaster General misread Moe’s handwritting and listed the new post office as Poulsbo. Transportation in Poulsbo’s early years was by boat, horseback and foot. Major buying and selling was via a boat trip to Seattle’s Pike Place Market. Fisherman from the Bering Sea brought their catch of codfish here for salting and preserving—-one of the largest codfish processing plants in the Northwest. It was also here that lutefisk was processed. Townspeople and visitors can still eat lutefisk at the First Lutheran Church’s annual Lutefisk Dinner the third Saturday of each October. This church, founded by those early Norwegian settlers, sits on the bluff overlooking Poulsbo. Service is held in Norwegian each year during Viking Fest.
A “mosquito fleet” of steamers sailed from Seattle to Poulsbo for some 60 years, carrying passengers and freight. Poulsbo’s strong ties to the water is still evident today, with the presence of three marinas on the shore of Liberty Bay.
The downtown waterfront area was at one time part of Liberty Bay. In the 1950′s the community worked together to fill part of the bay to form Liberty Bay Waterfront Park and Anderson Parkway. Some of the buildings you see today were once on pilings. The Kvelstad Pavilion, a popular spot for summer weddings and family gatherings, was added to the waterfront park later. Within a span of five generations, Poulsbo has changed from a rowboat on an untouched shore to a thriving community with “small town” charm.
The Port of Poulsbo
The Port of Poulsbo had its beginnings in the late 1880s when Jorgen Eliason and Ivar Moe, some of the earliest settlers, rowed their crops to Seattle in 12 to 14 foot boats. In the early 1900s the port grew, with transportation provided by the steam vessels of the “mosquito fleet”, and a fishing fleet that worked in Puget Sound and the Straits of Juan de Fuca, then became the base of several larger boats and schooners working the fishing grounds of Alaska, under sail, for cod and salmon. From around the turn of the 20th Century hrough the 1950s, local ferries and the “mosquito fleet” of steamboats to and from Kitsap County and Seattle serviced the city and port. Once the Tacoma Narrows Bridge was rebuilt, passenger and freight trade diminished.
The harbor (Dogfish Bay, as it was known then) was home to a codfish fleet and had several oyster beds and fish processing plants. In the 1960s the harbor still retained its fishing history with a large number of working vessels and it was in 1951 that the Port of Poulsbo was formally formed as a port. Some commercial vessels still find their home here.
Since its formal establishment, the Port has grown to include seven main docks containing 254 permanent slips, 130 guest slips, a floatplane dock, fuel dock, sanitation pump-out facilities, restroom and shower facilities, laundry facilities and launch ramp. There are plans (91 kb PDF file) for further expansion of the port and its facilities.