Gig Harbor in Pierce County, Washington — The American West (Northwest)
Our First Sawmill
Settlers from Albert Lea, Minnesota, established Gig Harbor's first sawmill, the Gig Harbor Lumber Company, near this spot on the waterfront in 1887. The sawmill cut as much as 100,000 board feet of lumber daily. Its 450-foot wharf could accommodate the boats, sometimes 15 sailing vessels and steamers at a time, that came to the harbor for lumber. Mill workers lived in rows of shanties up what is now Rosedale Street.
The mill owners also engaged in boat building in a shipyard they created next to the mill. In 1888, they launched the steamer Albert Lea and in 1890, the schooner Vine.
The early 1890s were hard times and the mill struggled. It was sold under foreclosure in 1891. It changed hands several more times before being purchased in 1899 and moved to Clear Lake along the Skagit River. The mill operated there for several years before burning down.
This was not the end of the industry in Gig Harbor. Other mills would appear and logging would continue into the 1950s.
[Photo captions, top and bottom, read]
• Shacktown for Gig Harbor sawmill workers, 1887
Erected by City of Gig Harbor and Gig Harbor Peninsula Historical Society.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Horticulture & Forestry • Industry & Commerce • Waterways & Vessels. A significant historical year for this entry is 1887.
Location. 47° 19.857′ N, 122° 34.928′ W. Marker is in Gig Harbor, Washington, in Pierce County. Marker is at the intersection of Harborview Drive and Rosedale Street NW, on the right when traveling north on Harborview Drive. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3215 Harborview Drive, Gig Harbor WA 98335, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Fishing Family Memorial Anchor (within shouting distance of this marker); First Settlers (within shouting distance of this marker); Across the Bay (within shouting distance of this marker); Lost At Sea (within shouting distance of this marker); Explore Gig Harbor Wildwaters (within shouting distance of this marker); Skansie Brothers Park (within shouting distance of this marker); Skansie Netshed & House (within shouting distance of this marker); Birth of the Business District (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Gig Harbor.
Also see . . . Gig Harbor Lumber Company (Harbor History Museum Blog, 2014). (Submitted on August 21, 2021, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Credits. This page was last revised on August 21, 2021. It was originally submitted on August 21, 2021, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 19 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on August 21, 2021, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.