Most of these images are included elsewhere on the YHHS website, but we have included them here with much more detailed captions, developing the facts further.
This was one of the very first settlements in all of Kitsap County, located just to the North of the Curley Creek Estuary. More has been written about this town on this website. Click on any of these images to view fully.
This is the most inclusive photo of Colby, probably around 1906. There was a large lumber mill off to the south (left) and many more houses and the town’s school to the north (right). John Anspaugh’s General Store and town meeting hall, formerly housing the Independent Order of Good Templar’s Hall at the foot of the pier, was the most visible building as steamers approached. Note that the sign advertises crabs as well as groceries. The white building on the other side of the pier was Squire Grant Junior’s “Fancy Groceries,” which was essentially a candy and ice cream parlor. The black building on the pier was the first Grant & Sons warehouse, with the new one under construction in the foreground on the extended pier. Behind the black warehouse and barely visible is a blacksmith shop and a small lending library. The three connected buildings to the left along the waterfront are the Grant & Sons store, Post Office, and store room. The building with the picket fence is the Nieblock Hotel. Only the three Grant residences remain standing in 2011. A more detailed, captioned version of this photo is included below.
A view of the waterfront area at Colby, about 1910. This photo was taken from the roof of the lumber mill and shows the 1900 pier, some of the warehouses, and the large black oak tree that stands there today. The white building in the background was the original Independent Order of Good Templars Hall, which also served as the town meeting hall. This photo is from the collection of JoAnn Grant Lorden.
This is one of the more remarkable photos of any of the early Kitsap County towns, brought to us by Ann Levenseller. It shows the then-young town of Colby pre-pier, with a glassy-smooth Yukon Harbor in the foreground and two boys (probably Tom Grant and his brother, Squire) fishing in the foreground. The buildings shown are the original log-built Grant & Sons Store (left), the two-story Independent Order of Good Templars Hall (center) and accompanying warehouse, and the two-story Boarding House on higher up the slope behind the Hall. In the distance, upper right, is the original schoolhouse that stood at what is now Cole Avenue and Yukon Harbor Drive. The small spec just below the school is the town well, which provided water to all the residents. Note the rather tattered treeline in the background, testimony to the presence of local lumber operations. We estimate that this photo was taken about 1886 or 1888, but it could be as early as 1885.
The Colby Lumber Mill, just to the South of the town. This long-enduring business stood from the late 1880’s through the 1930’s, and employed most of the townspeople. The mill building straddled the water and employed large docks to help process the wood. Note the lumber barges tied to the piers used to haul finished goods to Seattle for sale. The main building is on the right, with a tall smokestack extending from the steam engine that powered the saws. Curley Creek is off in the distance to the left. When the population outgrew the original schoolhouse about 1900-1905, classes were held in the mill lunch area. This photo is from the Kitsap County Historical Society archives.
- What is today residential waterfront property was once a popular picnic spot and campground between Colby and Curley Creek. This photo, probably taken around 1930, looks North toward the lumber mill, with the road now called Yukon Harbor Drive in the foreground. Photo provided by Shirlee Toman.
The roadway leading toward Colby from Curley Creek, about 1900. This is now Yukon Harbor Road, with the lowlands (later knows as The Picnic Grounds) in the distance. The wooden boardwalk extended from the town to the other side of Curley Creek, connected by a narrow footbridge. It’s primary purpose was to facilitate children on their way to and from school. Other things may have changed about the area, but the weather hasn’t! This photo was provided by Shirlee Toman.
“Downtown” Colby in the 1940’s, as seen from the direction of the lumber mill and looking North. The Grant & Sons store is on the left, the Fancy Groceries store is on the right, with the pier in the distance. Photo provided by JoAnn Grant Lorden.
The second local community was originally known as “Brooklyn” and later changed names for several reasons, not the least of which is that the city fathers hoped to become a major boatbuilding community.
Denniston’s General Store (white building, right) stood at the water’s edge where the pier would be built. From Manchester Memories.
The large Manchester Inn served travelers from Seattle and elsewhere, and was constructed about 1906 on the water’s edge several hundred yards South of Denniston’s store and the pier with the current Hemlock Street passing by the north (right in this photo) side of the building. The building, which was directly on the waterline, was fronted by a wooden boardwalk that allowed foot traffic down to Colby, where the original school and post office existed. Note the water tank in the background
Looking ESE from the hill above Manchester, with Blake Island (left) and Vashon Island (right) in the distance.
In the 1920’s and 30’s automobiles waiting to load onto the ferryboat clogged the streets of Manchester. This view, taken from Sprint and Main, looks down to the original ferry dock. In those days, Spring was the primary road both north and south (Colchester Drive did not exist) and there was a wood bridge crossing to what is now Puget Drive. The sign on the lefthand corner reads, “Bremerton, Port Orchard, Harper, Colby, Vashon Ferry.” The building to the left is identified as “Ole’s Garage.” The northern tip of Blake Island, still known as Trimble Island when this photo was taken, can be seen, right.
With the US Navy’s Fuel Dock just yards away to the North, warships became a common sight throughout World War II. Note the steamship at the pier.
Originally described as the Colby Annex, South Colby is the area just across the Curley Creek bridge and in the early days included the church and grange hall.
The original Methodist church stood on the South side of Curley Creek, measuring only about 15 feet wide by 30 feet deep. The pathway running past the church’s steps is now Harvey Street in South Colby. When a new one was built, the old one joined together with other buildings, becoming the stage for the Colby Grange Hall. The bell was removed and is now housed in front of the church on Southworth Drive. This photo was provided by Jay Blackburn.
The Colby Grange Hall (sometimes called the Curley Creek Grange) has been a landmark for 90 years and has undergone several reincarnations. This view, taken in 2009, clearly shows that it is actually two older buildings joined together to form one large one. A false-front store (far left) was used for the grand entrance, office, and balcony, while the outdated Colby Methodist Church building (right portion) became the meeting hall’s stage. The common walls of both buildings were removed, and a large roof was spanned between the two older buildings to create a huge, 9000-foot building. Lasting only a few years as an official grange hall, it has served as a town meeting hall, athletic club, and dance studio. Photo by Russell Neyman.
Another current view of the Colby Grange building, showing the storefront structure used for the main entrance. The old church is at the far end. It should be noted that both Southworth Drive and Harvey Street have undergone significant grading since the building was established on a hilltop in the early 1920’s, and at one time the front entrance was roughly at street level with the roadway.
The Nieblock Hotel, with white picket fence, about 1906. It had a stable just the right, not shown in this photogaph. The structure was destroyed in a fire in the ealry 1920’s.
The Independent Order of Good Templars Hall (left) c1888, where the pier would later be built in Colby. It had a meeting room upstairs and a store below, with an adjacent warehouse (right). It was built by Civil War Vet John Anspaugh, as was the white two-story residence/boarding house (background). Photo provided by Shirlee Toman.
This post-1909 photo of First Street (now, Cole Loop) looking to the South shows all three of the original Grant residences in the distance, with the hip-roofed foursquare in the just to the right of center, foreground. That house is essentially unchanged and still standing today and can be seen in a subsequent photo. The two-story false-front building, center, was probably a boarding house and store built by John Anspaugh. The cottage-like house to the right was actually constructed using the original schoolhouse as a basis. They simply picked it up, moved it onto a new foundation a few yards away, and added two or three rooms. It was torn down about 1962 by the Whitner family and replaced. This photo is from the Shirlee Toman collection.
First Street of Colby (now known as Cole Loop) consisted of a group of upscale homes, including this “hip-roofed foursquare” probably built for the Rust Family in 1901. The bell mounted in the front yard was taken from the Grant & Sons store and will eventually be placed in the public right-of-way atop a monument to the Colby Village. One interesting side note is that the hardwood floors, installed in the 1950’s, were recycled from Pearl’s Dance Hall in Bremerton.
The same residence at 1726 Cole Loop in 1952, photographed by the Kitsap County Tax Assessor.
The best known of all commercial buildings in the area is the Grant & Sons Store, shown here around 1915, with a Ford Model T pickup truck parked in front. The store was established in 1884 by William Morgan, sold to Joseph Squire Grant a few years later, and still standing in the mid-1960’s. It served at the towns post office for many years, althought the first post office was actually the smaller dark building on the right edge of this photo. The black oak tree to the back of the store still stands today. This photo was provided by Shirlee Toman.
The Grant & Sons store, just days before being torn down in 1967. Note that the “Sons” has been painted over to reflect only one son, due to an apparent falling out between Joseph Squire Grant and his younger son, Squire. This photo was provided by the Olalla historians group.
We’re just beginning to collect photographs and documents relating to the area and have posted a handful here, but there are many more within the primary website postings in the lefthand column.
The one below, taken from an old newspaper article, shows the Harper Ferry Dock area about 1958. The Shell Gas Station has since been converted to an espresso shop, and ferry service has been transferred to Southworth.
The brush shack, formerly the Harper Brick Factory, at Harper drawbridge.
This photographs of the Harper Dock and adjacent store in the early 50’s, shows the facility in it’s heyday. Photo courtesy of Joy McFate Lee.
The next photo was taken by AK Kuppler. It shows the brick-built Rust Grocery Store, which was located at the base of the Colby Pier. Originally, a two-story grocery store and Town Hall were built on this site, but that structure was taken down and replaced by this one in 1926. It was run by the Rust Family for many years, but eventually was abandoned. Jo Ann Grant Lorden mentions the store in her “Strolling Through Colby” feature, noting that it’s use as a grocery was long since gone by the time she passed by it, but it was used for storing and sorting ornamental bushes picked locally. Beyond repair and not worthy of saving, it was torn down about 2005 and replaced with a modern residence. The houses above (left) and to the north (right) are still there.