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Bremerton, Washington

Bremerton

The largest city on the Kitsap Peninsula is “Bremerton”, Washington. It has a population of approximately 41,000 residents (2018 Census). It is the current home to the Bemerton Annex of Naval Bases Kitsap and the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. It has a straight connection to downtown Seattle via two ferries carrying vehicles and walk-on passengers back and forth for a 60 minute ride, and a 28 minute fast ferry for passengers and limited bicycles being located right across the Sound from each city landing in the heart of downtown Bremerton. The City’s historic center is being revitalized with fancy new buildings replacing the older foundations. Tourism has the Harborside Fountain Park, a boardwalk, a restored 1942 art deco Admiral Theater, breweries, coffee shops, art galleries, restaurants, and multiple naval history Museums attracting visitors from all over. Nestled within Bremerton is the historic town known as Charleston that was built to house and entertain sailors which was annexed in 1927.

In the 1890’s the area now called “Bremerton” was within the historical territory of the Suquamish Tribe, where the land was made available for non-Native settlements by the 1855 Treaty of Point Elliott. It was designed and planned by the German immigrant Seattle entrepreneur William Bremer in 1891. That same year the Navy Lieutenant Ambrose Barkley Wyckoff bought 190 acres of waterfront land on the Sinclair Inlet which was originally owned by the Bremer family. Disputes over the land occures and three years earlier the U.S. Navy commission determined that Point Turner between the protected waters of the Sinclair and Dyes inlets would be the best site in the Pacific Northwest to create a massive shipyard. Bremer and his brother-in-law Henry Hensel purchased the undeveloped land near Point Turner at the inflated price of $200/acre and in 1891 arranged the sale of 190 acres to the Navy at $50/acre knowing the occupation would bring in jobs, money, and prosperity. In 1900 Bremerton became known as the “Navy Yard of Puget Sound” which spread to the Orient. 1901 saw Bremerton becoming incorporated by the State of Washington with Alvyn Croxton in 1901 becoming the first mayor. Unfortunately the Navy Secretary Charles Darling moved all repair and maintenance work on the ships to the Mare Island Navy Yard in California in 1902 because Bremerton became rife with prostitution, robberies, opium dens, and crime, throwing Bremerton into financial difficulties. By 1904 the city revoked all liquor licenses encouraging Darling to re-establish the Navy Yard as a port of call. The saloons came back two years later. There are two ships dry-docked known as the “Iowa coming up the Sound” and the “Torpedoboat Rowan”. During World War I numerous submarines were constructed at the Navy Yard and a third drydock added 4,000 more employees. In 1918 the city of Manette, east of Bremerton was annexed, then Charleston was absorbed into Bremerton, and growth expanded in the city. In 1942 the Admiral Theater was opened as a cinema then a playhouse / banquet hall by the 1990s. 80,000 more residents moved into the area for World War II production of ships for the Pacific War effort. By the 1950’s and 60’s more stability grew in the area and permanent settling occurred of many Government families, establishing more schools, bridges, and infra-structure. The USS Missouri was assigned to the Pacific Reserve Fleet in 1955 and stationed here, bringing in tourism and attractions – so that hundreds of thousands of tourists annually could walk the “surrender deck” where the Japanese surrender treaty was signed at the end of WWII. The ship was re-commissioned in 1985 and decommissioned in 1992. The new Trident submarine fleet and the Bangor Ammunition Depot 12 miles northwest moved closer to Silverdale and farther from Bremerton in the 70s. By 1978 most of the downtown area was seen as a blighted area falling into disrepair. The 80s saw unfettered growth with commerce, department stores, retail businesses, and other properties on the increase. By 2010 many buildings became vacant. The decommissioned USS Missouri was voted to stay in Bremerton as a museum ship and tourist attraction, then moved to the Pearl Harbor Naval Base in Hawaii by 1998. 1992 saw building of the Waterfront Boardwalk and Marina with a downtown revitalization project, the destroyer USS Turnery Joy became part of public tours bringing replaced tourism. In 2000 the waterfront multi-model bus/ferry terminal was constructed and in 2004 a hotel and conference center complex was built. The Norm Dicks Government Center was also built with housing, government offices, and a City Hall. 2007 came a newly expanded Marina, boardwalk extensions from USS Turner Joy to Evergreen Park. The same year the 2.5 acre Harborside Fountain Park was opened, more condos and buildings, a five large copper-ringed fountains, wading pools, and park.

The climate hosts a Mediterranean climate with warm dry summers with wet semi-mild winters, average rainfall at 51.74 inches and snowfall ranging from 0 to 46 inches a year.

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