Gig Harbor in Pierce County, Washington — The American West (Northwest)
Harvesting the Seas
On nearby docks you can see some of Gig Harbor's fishing fleet.
The salmon-rich waters of Puget Sound made Gig Harbor an ideal home for fisherman. Founded largely by immigrants from Croatia in the late 1800s, this industry became the center of the community's economy for more than 100 years, determining the character and rhythm of the harbor. Many of the fishing boats still operating from Gig Harbor are captained by descendents of the industry founders. Over the years, favorite fishing grounds have included the San Juan Islands, Alaska, and local areas of Puget Sound.
Salmon was and is their main catch, and seining the favored method. Seine nets function like purses - the fish are surrounded by the net, the bottom of the net is cinched together, and the "purse" and its contents gradually hauled from the water.
In the early days, fishermen worked from shore or from oar-powered boats. Around 1905, fishermen began installing gasoline engines. These first engines were primitive and temperamental. With engines on board pilot houses were added and boats gradually became larger. Eventually, diesel engines replaced
Through changing times, one thing remains the same. To these fishermen and their families, fishing is more than a living, it's a way of life.
[Photo captions, top to bottom, read]
First Croatian fishermen fishing for salmon, south of harbor entrance, 1889
Sea Bird entering harbor at sandspit, circa 1913
Aeroplane and Fairplay fishing boats at work
Erected by City of Gig Harbor and Gig Harbor Peninsula Historical Society.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & Commerce • Waterways & Vessels. A significant historical year for this entry is 1905.
Location. 47° 20.013′ N, 122° 35.308′ W. Marker is in Gig Harbor, Washington, in Pierce County. It is in . Marker is on Harborview Drive, on the right when traveling west. Marker is in Eddon Boat Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3720 Harborview Drive, Gig Harbor WA 98332, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A Rich Boat Building Legacy (within shouting distance of this marker); Malich Home (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Austin Estuary (approx. 0.3 miles away); Community Spirit (approx. 0.3 miles away); Our First Sawmill The Sehmel Family, Pioneers of the Gig Harbor Peninsula (approx. 0.3 miles away); Two of Our Best on Mount Everest (approx. 0.4 miles away); "Memory Vessel" (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Gig Harbor.
Also see . . .
1. Gig Harbor Thumbnail History (Kershner, 2012). (Submitted on August 20, 2021, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. The Men of the Marauder The New Generation. (Submitted on August 20, 2021, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. Martin Skrivanich Oral History Interview (2012). (Submitted on August 20, 2021, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
4. Shenandoah, Our Fishing History on Display (Makovich, 2000). (Submitted on August 20, 2021, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Credits. This page was last revised on August 20, 2021. It was originally submitted on August 20, 2021, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 158 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on August 20, 2021, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.