Historical Tidbits, Anecdotes & Notices.

Two of our leading historians have been honored by the South Kitsap School District for their work locally. Chairman Russell Neyman and Vice Chairman Joseph “JB” Hall have received 2012 Key Awards for work that further education at a ceremony held in Port Orchard on May 30th.
Two artifacts from the original Grant & Sons General Store have turned up. One is the store’s safe, several hundred pounds in weight, currently in the posession of a homeowner on Frog Pond Road. That homeowner also has some of the post office sorting bins.

And finally, Douglas Grant of Kansas, the man who sent us the Grant & Sons store bell, has also given us a commemorative mirror presented to Georgeina Grant on her 99th birth day by the Daughters of Masons Lodge. Since we do not have a museum or formal artifact facility, it was passed on to the nearest Grant family member, Shirley Toman.

Speaking of the original school, Earl Whitner (a frequent visitor and contributor to our effort) lived in three different homes in Colby, and in the early 1960’s helped tear down one of them that was located on 1722 Cole Loop. He reports that the large, oddly configured living room had blackboards behind the wall board, indicating that the original schoolhouse was moved thirty yards downhill from the original location and added to another structure.

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With all the recent interest in Blake Island and the Trimble Family, another interesting note about the place is worthy of mention. One frequest visitor in the 1920’s was William Trimble’s close friend, President William Howard Taft (also Supreme Court Justice) who also happens to be an ancestor to YHHS Chairman Russell Neyman. The island also hosted President Clinton during an international trade summit in the 1990’s.

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Neyman, our co-founder and chairman, completed his two-year term as Trustee of the Kitsap County Historical Society. Free from those obligations, he can now re-dedicate himself to local history.

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In a newspaper tidbit that appeared in the Kitsap County Herald (Poulsbo) about 1910, we noted that the writer referred to the area of Colby as “Idylwylde Place.” Has anyone ever run across that reference, either as a street name or the general vicinity? We wonder if it was a pet name or if the townspeople were considering changing the town’s name.

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JB Hall was the most recent one to theorize that the community noted on local maps between Colby and Manchester, Colchester, got it’s name from the simple merging of the two neighboring towns — “Col” from Colby and “Chester” from Manchester. There is no evidence that there was ever a town, pier, or business there, and it’s probably only a developer’s designation. Still, Colchester IS noted on several maps, and first noted on a 1925 document.

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JB, who owns the house originally build for the senior Grant in Colby, has located an original artifact shown in one of the historical photographs. There is a wheel on his beach that is also shown in the 1908 photograph of Colby taken from the end of the pier. The wheel has been relocated to private property, but it is intact.

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Paul Gustafson, who lives on Cole Loop, owns one of the area’s vintage homes. He tells us of hearing that his house was built as “a library” for the larger home just to the north of him, 1726 Cole Loop. His house has been expanded several times since to a point that it is nearly as large as the one next door, though. It was later owned by the Swan family, founders and owners of Evergreen Lumber and Building Supply.

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Earl Whitner, formerly of Colby, rowed to Blake Island during a military leave in the 1940’s or 50’s, and took it upon himself to gather up some of the bricks from the then-ruined Trimble House. He brought the brick back and built a fire ring on the beach below his family’s house in Colby. The ring is still there as of Fall 2011.

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7 thoughts on “Historical Tidbits, Anecdotes & Notices.

  1. What a great way to spend the 4th of July. It was good to meet the neighbors. The food was great. The old Colby bell was proudly hanging in its place over looking Yukon Harbor. Many thanks to Russell and JB for all their work in putting this event together. Many thanks, also, to Mary and JB and Rebecca for letting us take a grand tour of the two Grant houses. That was such a thrill. Another thrill was meeting four of my cousins who I never knew before. A perfect day!

  2. My great grandparents owned property in Waterman in the late 1800’s. I know that Waterman was in the vicinity of Manchester. Is there anyway to look at old plot maps of the area for that time to see where the Benskin property was located?
    Thanks, and I love your website!

  3. Marilyn, you and other Kitsap area residents who want to track down old family properties can look through the turn-of-the-century Kitsap County Plat Book at the Puget Sound Geneological Society library in Port Orchard (on SE Mile Hill Road, across from the Armory Complex). That book shows all properties and their owners, and is remarkably detailed. I think it’s dated 1906-9, but most of the original homesteaders are noted.
    The society’s staff is extremely helpful, and they are a tremendous resource beyond their ancentry sources. Please tell them the Yukon Harbor People suggested you call.

  4. I was first introduced to Blake Island by Maury Skaret during the mid-1940s. We kicked across from Fauntleroy in a fishing dory. By that time the Trimble House was in ruins and all I recall was that of decaying tennis court. As I became older, some of my friends and I would “kick” across from Fauntleroy, sleeping and cooking on the beach or sleeping in my 14 foot boat. During the day we would troll for sea-run cutthroat along the NE point and hunt seals (when it was legal).The pictures of the small boats on the beach, taken from the dock, were very familiar, although, when I was first on the island, there was nothing left but pilings.

  5. The note about the name “Colechester” spurred me to write and suggest that the name may come from the ancient town of Colchester, Essex, England. Old King Cole took his name from Colechester, and later, William the Conquerer built his first English castle in Colechester. It is mostly now a bedroom community for London.

    • Well, considering the very heavy percentage of English/British settlers in the early days, that makes a degree of sense, except for the fact that the name didn’t pop up until a developer built houses in the gap between Old Colby Village and Manchester in the 1960’s. Perhaps that company picked up on the old country theme, but the prevailing opinion within our group is that it’s a hybrid of the two towns’ names.

  6. This is a great website, thank you. My wife & I have lived on Colchester Drive for over 23 years and have loved this area very much, thank you for all of the historical information.

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