The Harper Brick and Tile Factory pictured above was a huge boon to industry in the local area. Below, is a tired but historical building once used as a “hotel and boarding house” for local workers, mostly those who worked in the factory. In later years it served as a brush plant, where decorative trees and flowers were processed and packaged for florists. Photos provided by AK Kuppler.
Allen “AK” Kuppler, whose family has visited and lived in the Harper area virtually all of his life, brought us a wealth of new documents relating to the Port Orchard Brick and Tile Factory and drawbridge that once existed along the shoreline between South Colby and Southworth. He has even found what he believes are the original central pulleys for the drawbridge mechanism.
We will add more details to all of this later, but for the time being we will share just a few of the dramatic historical documents he has provided.
Above are photos of the work crews about 1920 and 1935-ish.
AK (who has a gift for artistic expression) has given us this enhanced view of the current landscape around his house and the nearby estuary, including Harper Hill Road, Southworth Road, the Boat Ramp, and the surrounding neighborhood at the point. The main current road is along the bottom of the photograph, with dotted lines showing the location of the drawbridge. The Port Orchard Tile and Brick Factory was located in the lower righthand corner, where a baseball field is located today.
The second rendering (below) shows the region as it would have appeared about 1930, showing both the bridge and the roadway. Note the apparently active road along the beachfront, left, and the more extensive salt and freshwater marshes. Originally, AK reports, the only north-south route was across the drawbridge, as the road south from Colby was dedicated to the Brick Factory, lower right. A “hotel and boarding house” was also located along the present Southworth Road, at the bottom of this picture. Also, AK has noted the location of portions of a barge that has been found near the northern entrance to the drawbridge structure.
These renderings were provided and created by Allen Kuppler, using local historical sources and his own surveys of the Harper Bridge site adjacent to the property on which he currently resides.