Bakery building joins Bainbridge Historic Register

The City of Bainbridge Island Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) on September 2 voted unanimously to add the Fort Ward bakery building to the city’s Historic Register. The vote followed a second presentation by the Fort Ward Youth Advisory Committee, which is helping to lead to preserve the building and transform the interior into a community center.

“Fort Ward played an important role in the history of our island and our nation, and preserving the Fort’s bakery is a great way to ensure that history isn’t lost,” HPC Co-Chairman David Williams said. “It’s particularly impressive that high school kids brought this to our commission, undertook the research and nomination process necessary to get it on the Register, and are so committed to preserving this building.”

The four island high school juniors — Aila Ikuse, Kate Merifield, Erik Appleberry and Mark Dettman – told the HPC that the brick bakery was built in 1910 for $8,141.50 as part of the US Army Coast Artillery. One corporal ran the bakery, which produced baked goods for the entire fort. The purpose of the Fort Ward was to guard the Bremerton Naval Shipyard from enemy ships. Floating mines attached by rubber-wrapped electrical cables were detonated from land. Guns onshore – including eight inch “disappearing guns,” the latest technology in their time – guarded the minefield against any small boat intending to cut the cables. During World War II, Fort Ward became a Naval Radio Receiving Station, where dozens of men and women radio operators intercepted Japanese radio transmissions codenamed MAGIC. The bakery was converted to a power house to generate electricity needed for the radio equipment. After the base was decommissioned, the property was divided and sold, leaving a handful of families living in the historic buildings. In the 1970’s, parts of Fort Ward were placed on the National and Washington State Historic Registers.

Since the 1980s, rapid population growth on Bainbridge Island has threatened many historic structures. Fort Ward has become a beloved historic park and gathering place for islanders and tourists. It is proposed that a second phase would preserve the old bakery building as a community center that could serve as an indoor gathering place for the neighborhood, an emergency center, and an opportunity for Bainbridge Island Metro Parks and Recreation District to offer programs on the south end of the island. For more information on the effort to turn the bakery into a community center, please see http://www.fortwardbakerybuilding.wordpress.com.

Now that the building is on the local historic register, it is eligible for various historic preservation grants, along with special discounts from local merchants.

Anyone can nominate a building to be on the local Historic Register; however, the current owners must approve the building’s inclusion.

to add the Fort Ward bakery building to the city’s Historic Register. The vote followed a second presentation by the Fort Ward Youth Advisory Committee, which is helping to lead to preserve the building and transform the interior into a community center.

“Fort Ward played an important role in the history of our island and our nation, and preserving the Fort’s bakery is a great way to ensure that history isn’t lost,” HPC Co-Chairman David Williams said. “It’s particularly impressive that high school kids brought this to our commission, undertook the research and nomination process necessary to get it on the Register, and are so committed to preserving this building.”

The four island high school juniors — Aila Ikuse, Kate Merifield, Erik Appleberry and Mark Dettman – told the HPC that the brick bakery was built in 1910 for $8,141.50 as part of the US Army Coast Artillery. One corporal ran the bakery, which produced baked goods for the entire fort. The purpose of the Fort Ward was to guard the Bremerton Naval Shipyard from enemy ships. Floating mines attached by rubber-wrapped electrical cables were detonated from land. Guns onshore – including eight inch “disappearing guns,” the latest technology in their time – guarded the minefield against any small boat intending to cut the cables. During World War II, Fort Ward became a Naval Radio Receiving Station, where dozens of men and women radio operators intercepted Japanese radio transmissions codenamed MAGIC. The bakery was converted to a power house to generate electricity needed for the radio equipment. After the base was decommissioned, the property was divided and sold, leaving a handful of families living in the historic buildings. In the 1970’s, parts of Fort Ward were placed on the National and Washington State Historic Registers.

Since the 1980s, rapid population growth on Bainbridge Island has threatened many historic structures. Fort Ward has become a beloved historic park and gathering place for islanders and tourists. It is proposed that a second phase would preserve the old bakery building as a community center that could serve as an indoor gathering place for the neighborhood, an emergency center, and an opportunity for Bainbridge Island Metro Parks and Recreation District to offer programs on the south end of the island. For more information on the effort to turn the bakery into a community center, please see http://www.fortwardbakerybuilding.wordpress.com.

Now that the building is on the local historic register, it is eligible for various historic preservation grants, along with special discounts from local merchants.

Anyone can nominate a building to be on the local Historic Register; however, the current owners must approve the building’s inclusion.