A trip to the mill: custom beams for the bakery’s front porch

 Restoring the Fort Ward bakery building’s classic façade has been a key goal of the restoration now underway. One of the more prominent design elements is the porch above the front entranceway, a structure that after 108 years is fortunately still intact – for the most part. 

The overhang was originally supported by two pairs of robust, 6×8 fir beams. As you can see from the drawings, the upper beam was cleverly notched to support an angled, lower brace, which in turn rested on a plinth of bricks protruding from the building face. A nifty piece of engineering and design, simple yet elegant. 

Sadly, all three structural components on the north side of the doorway (left as you face it) – both beams, and the plinth — were destroyed when the porch was enclosed by a homeowner sometime in the 1960s or ‘70s. Fortunately, we still have the other set in place to measure and copy, plus the original blueprints from the National Archives to work from as well. No problem! 

While we’ll get around to rebuilding the masonry plinth soon, this week it was all about the beams. 

On Tuesday we headed up to David Kotz Woodworking, a busy working mill on a knoll off Day Road west of the highway. The mill recently turned out all the sturdy fir and cedar planks for the amazing new boardwalk at Hawley Cove Park. On this day, David and his team would be custom-milling two beams for the bakery’s restored front porch. 

David poked around in the raw log pile for a bit before selecting a suitably massive chunk of Douglas fir, estimated to be 95 years old when it was harvested somewhere on Bainbridge. An island tree for a historic island restoration! 

David trimmed the log to approximate length with a chainsaw. Then it was up to Brent Herrick to run the log through the milling machine. Cut by precision cut over the next hour, two 8-foot beams were hewn from the very heart of the log — stout, straight and true. Outstanding work! 

We still have a little more work in the coming days to notch the upper brace and add the corbel cut (beam-end detailing) for aesthetics. That will be the subject of a future post. 

For now, we’re so grateful to David Kotz Woodworking for the care that went into custom-milling these beautiful beams for us to work with. (And glad to keep our donors’ money on-island with these fine craftsmen.) These aren’t some anonymous hunks of wood that will be plugged in somewhere and forgotten; they are prominent architectural elements, essential to the classic look of the building that we’re bringing back. 

Whenever you come and go from the Fort Ward Community Hall, you will pass by these beams. We hope you’ll pause to admire them.

Bakery lot cleanup starts this week

Evergreen Drive neighbors will see increased activity around the bakery building this week, as the Park District begins a cleanup of the area west of the building — random brush, some scrap metal that has piled up over the years, and the inevitable old tire or two will be hauled off for disposal. This is the first step in creation of a parking area for the forthcoming Fort Ward Community Hall.

If you have any questions about the work, please email us at history@fortwardhall.org.

Fort Ward Bakery Restoration Journal, Entry No. 1: 03.08.18 – Demolition, Day 1

FORT WARD, BAINBRIDGE ISLAND – A journey begins with a single step, and restoration of Fort Ward’s historic bakery building commenced with footfalls on the threshold: Mike Reese, who grew up just up the hill in one of the fort’s NCO quarters (Building 20), now lives along the Parade Ground in retirement, and enters these new annals as our first restoration volunteer. Fort Ward salute!

The building has been on its own journey, 108 years and counting, from Army bakery to Navy powerhouse to private residence to community-hall-in-waiting. As we’ve chronicled in this forum, it has undergone many changes through the decades, through various chains of command and title. Our project is about undoing these changes one by one, and restoring the building to its original 1910 look and feel while upgrading the underlying systems for contemporary public use.    

Today marked our first opportunity to check off one item from the list: demolishing interior partition walls that were added sometime in the 1960s to carve a bathroom and closet out of the main hall, along with some cheap wall-hung cupboards throughout. And whatever else might happen to get in our way.

Mike was followed shortly by David Harry, William Doyle and Casey Shortbull from the Park District, a hardy crew bearing various small tools, pry bars and the obligatory Honey Bucket. (The building’s water will be shut off indefinitely.) A 10-yard tote from Bainbridge Disposal soon touched down at the doorstep, and restoration of the Fort Ward bakery building was officially underway. 

The next few hours were marked by the roar of reciprocating sawzalls, the heavy thudding of mauls, and the tortured shriek of nails giving way as beams united since the Kennedy administration were unceremoniously uncoupled. The occasional ZING! of sparks suggested that yes, those two wires might still be live. No fatalities were reported.

For ostensibly “temporary” walls, the bathroom and cabinets were remarkably solid and absorbed quite a pounding en route to disposal. A lot of the old fir 2x4s were still straight and true even so, and so were channeled off for reuse once we get around to putting the interior back together.

Nevertheless the debris piled up at an awesome rate. The crew filled the 10-yeard tote to capacity within a few hours, then moved on to the kitchen and amassed another formidable mound of debris for eventual haul-off.  Time for a break.

Luncheon: pizzas from Westside.  

The team finally knocked off around 3:45 p.m. with a resounding first day of work in the books.

With the dust settled, we had achieved our first goal – restoring the bakery’s 1,100-square-foot main hall to its original rectangle. For the first time, we could look across the room and actually see the whole room – someday soon the site of classes, parties, Scouting events, and all the other great, family-friendly activities for which our island’s historic halls play host. Right here in Fort Ward! The imagination soars.

Looking ahead to Day 2, we’ll be taking down the tumbledown carport, then turn our attention back inside and possibly start tearing out the plaster-and-wire-mesh ceiling – sure to be a nasty job. After giving some structural attention to the cupola in the coming weeks, we’ll be replacing the ceiling with standard 5/8-inch sheetrock. Then, out comes the floor and off come the junky, tacked-on porches – but those stories await another day…

Note that the carport’s demise will lay bare some unfortunate damage from years past. At some point in time, a misguided resident (perhaps even the Navy, who can say) hammered away two of the ornamental sandstone sills on the north face of the building. These will be, unfortunately, very expensive to replicate and replace, with estimates in the many thousands of dollars. Until then they will give passersby an idea of the magnitude of the restoration, and the care and attention to detail with which we hope to complete it for the sake of historical accuracy, our grail. Our little bakery building deserves nothing less.


  • Pages from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer dated Jan. 4, 1970, tucked into a void in a brick wall. Lead story: “How U.S. Deserters Live With Themselves In Stockholm,” by the legendary Joel Connelly
  • A vintage plastic hair curler of unknown provenance
  • A roll of Santa Claus wrapping paper
  • A dime minted in 1968
  • A powder-pink bathtub minted in 1966.

Let’s consider this last for a moment. In that we already knew the building came with a pink bathtub, this was not a “find” per se. But we’ve had no idea how to date it, except that the color suggested a decade in which bolder, more daring hues were en vogue.

Now we know: the bottom of this cast-iron beauty is stamped with the date of manufacture, the same year “The Sound of Silence” and “Monday Monday” topped the pop charts, the original “Star Trek” premiered, and England beat West (!) Germany to win the World Cup. The tub may not be well traveled, but it’s well seasoned.

Which brings us to …

SALVAGE OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOU! We are now accepting offers on the powder-pink bathtub and two matching pink basin sinks. They look mildly “distressed” at the moment, but the enamel can easily be polished up for another 50 years of gleaming service, and they would be great conversation starters in any retro-chic loo. (Alas, the toilet we pulled out was not pink. If only.)  If you would like these fine vintage fixtures, make us an offer – feel free to bid high, as all proceeds go to the restoration. Otherwise they will be sent off to one of the second-hand building stores across the water, to be snapped up by the hipsters and trendsetters of Seattle.

Also available: three hollow interior doors with frames and hardware, cheap but intact; two mirrored medicine cabinets in nice shape; and a small wooden bureau that would be okay for garage or basement storage. Inquire within.

-Friends of Fort Ward

Restoration of historic Fort Ward bakery building begins today

Friends and supporters,

And so, we begin. After more than three years of fundraising, friend raising, planning and public review, work starts today on restoration of Fort Ward’s historic bakery building. When we’re done – sometime, we hope, late in 2018 – the island will have a new historic meeting hall, interpretive site, and monument to local heritage preservation: Fort Ward Community Hall.  

It’s a big moment, and we want to share it with you, our supporters, and reflect on how we got this far.

First off, we need to acknowledge out project partners, the Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Recreation District (our general contractor) and Kitsap County (Fort Ward) Sewer District No. 7 (building owner and as such, cornerstone investor). When we presented this idea to the Park District at a neighborhood meeting at “Station S” back in 2015, they signed on without hesitation to contribute horsepower and expertise. And the project is only possible because our neighborhood utility district had the foresight to purchase the bakery building for a community space back in 2007, many years before we even had a plan to bring it about.

We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Wenzlau Architects, Browne Wheeler Engineering, and Fischer Bouma Partnership landscape architects. The cost just to get to groundbreaking has been high; it would have been considerably higher but for the generous contributions and considerable expertise of these three island firms. We’re particularly indebted to Charlie and Ariel at Wenzlau for helping us through the permitting process – necessarily rigorous, sometimes frustrating, ultimately successful. Thank you both.

Bainbridge Island Rotary was an early and key supporter through its Judd Huney Fund. Bainbridge Community Foundation, Bainbridge Island Parks Foundation and the Suquamish Foundation have also made outstanding contributions, as have local businesses including Fairy Tale Dental, T&C, ACE Hardware and OTWB Inc.

The City’s Historic Preservation Commission played its role, shepherding changes to the city code that cut red tape and permit costs for historic building restorations like ours.

Neighborhood kids – our Fort Ward Youth Board, versions 1.0 and 2.0 – brought the enthusiasm and vigor of youth to our outreach.

And of course, we thank the many donors – dozens of island families and individuals – who have invested both funds and faith in the project. It takes vision and trust to support a capital campaign whose horizon has been, to this point, somewhat hazy. We’re grateful to all who have latched onto the Fort Ward bakery building and its history, subscribed to the idea that our local heritage is worth preserving, and given generously to help create a  community hall to complement those at Island Center, Seabold, and Yeomalt.

We now set out to reward your faith. Groundbreaking (if that is right term for a building renovation – we may have to shovel some dirt just for the occasion) commences today.

The first phase will see a “controlled demolition” – undoing all of the changes made to the building over the decades, with the goal of restoring it to its original, 1910 glory. Some of these tasks will be relatively easy and cheap: taking down the carport, tearing out interior walls and flooring, peeling away the tumbledown porches that have been grafted on front and back and mar the classic facade. In the coming weeks and months, we’ll contract with an expert in masonry restoration to reopen to full depth those big windows bricked over by the Navy in the 1940s and address smaller needs.

Materials will be recycled and reused wherever possible. Anything of salvage value will be repurposed within the building, made available on the used-materials market, or offered to islanders for a small donation to the project. This will include everything from doors and windows to the vintage pink sinks and matching bathtub. If you have a construction project coming up – be it a mother-in-law apartment or just a backyard chicken coop – and are looking for used materials, drop us a line. We might have something for you – funky perhaps, but with an interesting provenance.

Then comes the more formidable task of restoration. While much of that work will be relatively straightforward, we’re already learning that some will be more involved and expensive than we anticipated. Example: Sometime over the years, a misguided resident hammered away two of the hewn sandstone sills on the north side of the building. That damage will be laid bare as the carport comes down. Sourcing replacements (even reproductions) will run into many thousands of dollars – but we believe these ornamental sills are absolutely essential to an accurate and acceptable restoration of this beautiful, architecturally striking building. Other surprises and challenges may await.

Are we done raising funds? No – we’ll need more contributions to complete the restoration and dedicate the hall for public use. The outstanding financial need will come into clearer focus as we get work underway and start checking off each task one by one. We’ll economize where we can. But if you have considered supporting this project with a contribution, or would like to make another gift, this is the time. We’re moving from idea to actuation. The Fort Ward Community Hall is really happening – starting now.

We believe the community will come together in our capstone phase and help us complete the project this year, with tax-deductible contributions through Friends of Fort Ward (our all-volunteer, neighborhood 501(c)3), One Call For All, and our local Foundations. Follow our progress at www.fortwardhall.org and wwwfacebook.com/friendsoffortward.

With permits in hand, a respectable fund balance and an expert restoration team ready to go, now is the time. And so, we begin. We hope you’ll follow along, and we carry your support and good wishes with us.

– Douglas Crist, Candy Merifield, Ellie Montaperto, Christina Doherty, Wesley Dreiling and Kate Merifield, Friends of Fort Ward

Looking ahead to an exciting 2018, and restoring the historic bakery building

FORT WARD, BAINBRIDGE ISLAND – It’s been a while since our last newsletter, but on the doorstep of the new year, Friends of Fort Ward would like to greet you with exciting news for 2018:

Restoration of Fort Ward’s historic bakery building is about to get underway.  

Our project team of Friends of Fort Ward, the Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Recreation District, OTWB Project Management and the Fort Ward Sewer District is finalizing formal launch of the building renovation, to begin early in the year.

Is our fundraising done? Not yet! This is a great time to give through One Call For All.

But at this milestone moment, we have the ongoing generosity of you, our many supporters, to thank. These past 12 months have seen a phenomenal outpouring of support for our campaign of historic preservation, education and community building. A few of our 2017 highlights:  

  • Another sold-out Living History Walk, in partnership with IslandWood and the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum, as we guided visitors through our neighborhood’s historic homes and landmarks. This year saw publication of a limited-edition tour booklet, chock full of historic photos;
  • The discovery – and donation to our campaign – of the bakery building’s original front doors and fanlight windows, thanks to some very generous neighbors. We can’t wait to put these back into the building, after so many years “in exile”;
  • Our first-ever Let’s Make History music gala at IslandWood, with a live performance by Seattle’s excellent retro-jazz combo Sundae + Mr. Goessl;
  • Fort Ward history presentations at the Bainbridge Island Library, the Historical Museum’s annual meeting, and SWERV, and an exciting codebreaking exercise as part of the Museum’s History on the Move fall fundraiser. We made many new friends at each stop;
  • A full slate of FFW-sponsored activities for “kids of all ages” in our Parade Ground park throughout the summer;
  • Continued, outstanding grant support from the Bainbridge Community Foundation, Bainbridge Island Parks Foundation, the Suquamish Tribe and others; business and professional sponsors like Wenzlau Architects, Browne Wheeler Engineers, Fairy Tale Dental and Bainbridge Island Outfitters + Depot; and many, many generous contributions from island families and individuals (including some INCREDIBLY magnanimous recent gifts – you know who you are, and we are SO grateful).

This last item points, in turn, to our new year’s news:
 We’re ready to get started on the building restoration, as we begin taking the fort’s little bakery “back in time” to its original 1910 look and feel, creating a new community hall for all of Bainbridge Island to use and enjoy. Expect to see regular updates through this space, and our social media pages on Facebook and Instagram.

Fundraising will continue through each stage of the restoration – we still ask for your help! We’ll also be looking for contributions of materials from local vendors. (If anyone out there happens to have 1,100 square feet of hardwood flooring sitting around, we’d love to hear from you.)

But we’re deep enough into the campaign to confidently project success, and dedication of the hall for community use in the not-so-distant future.

So … If you’ve thought about contributing to the Fort Ward Community Hall campaign, but have been waiting to see things really get underway – or you want to make a new donation for some year-end tax advantage – this is a really great time!

Please consider a tax-deductible contribution in these final three days of One Call For All campaign, or directly to Friends of Fort Ward at 1948 Parkview Drive, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110.

Thank you all for your continued enthusiasm and support, and we look forward to an exciting 2018.

Fifty years later, Fort Ward bakery’s original front doors, ornate ‘fanlight’ windows found, will be reinstalled

FORT WARD, BAINBRIDGE ISLAND – Some five decades after they were pulled out of the Fort Ward bakery’s facade and left for salvage, the original front doors and decorative “fanlight” windows have been found – in a garden shed and garage up the hill.

The doors and windows will now be reunited with the historic bakery, as it is restored and reopened as Fort Ward Community Hall.

Joyce and David Stettler with the Fort Ward bakery’s original fanlight windows, and the building’s original doors.

“Surprise would be a bit of an understatement,” Douglas Crist, Friends of Fort Ward board president, said of the unlikely discovery. “We’re completely blown away that these doors and windows that we’ve admired in old plans and pictures are still around. It really is a case of ‘antique archaeology,’ and they were right in the neighborhood all this time.”

The stout double-doors have been hanging on the garden shed of David and Joyce Stettler, who own one of the fort’s other historic buildings, a pre-World War I duplex built for non-commissioned Army officers on upper Parkview Drive.

The fanlights have been stored in the Stettlers’ garage, half-forgotten behind a pile of lumber, waiting for the right project to come along. Now it has.

A historical photo and front elevation show the bakery’s original doors and fanlight windows.

“For us, to have these go back in and help restore the bakery is just great,” Joyce Stettler said. “I’m glad David saved them so it could happen.”

Constructed in 1910, the bakery building on Evergreen Avenue is a vestige of Fort Ward’s first iteration as a US Army Coast Artillery Corps outpost at then-remote “Bean Point,” at the south end of Bainbridge Island.

The original 1908 blueprints, drawn from the National Archives, show an industrial-sized oven in the bakery’s main room, with smaller rooms in the wings for proofing dough and cooling the finished loaves, and quarters for the baker.

The Army traveled on its stomach even at station, so the bakery had a key role in keeping the post garrison well fed and morale high. “Post Baker” was an official title, whose holders were referred to by name on company rosters.

The building was repurposed as a power station to support Naval cryptography operations through World War II. Young radiomen serving at what was by now known as Naval Radio Station Bainbridge Island intercepted Imperial Japanese military and diplomatic messages, relayed the coded information to Washington DC, and helped win the war in the Pacific.

When the fort was decommissioned around 1960 and mostly sold off to private interests, the bakery story entered its third chapter: as a private home.

History’s mysteries, solved

Historical photos show that the original doors and fanlights were in place at least until 1960 after the Navy moved out, but had disappeared by the mid-1970s.

Somewhere in that timeframe, a homeowner raised the floor 3 feet to install a furnace and ductwork underneath. The towering front doors and curved windows above were removed to allow shorter fixtures, and the front porch was eventually enclosed, obscuring the changes.

The Fort Ward bakery today.

Fort Ward at that point was something of a “ghost town,” with the ruins of many old military buildings dotting the landscape and a lot of salvage around for the taking.

That was true even into the 1990s, when the Stettlers moved to Fort Ward from Seattle and began restoring the former Army duplex – a project that, like many such renovations, continues into the present.

As the Stettlers tell it, they befriended neighbor John Maggiora, who owned the bakery building and several adjacent parcels. Maggiora still had the bakery’s old doors and fanlights sitting in a storage shed, or perhaps another old Navy building nearby – memories have faded a bit with time – and gave them to David Stettler, who had an eye toward a future project on his own property.

“I was always planning to build an outbuilding, a shop,” David Stettler said. “I was collecting materials for that building, really.”

The doors wound up on his garden shed. The fanlights spent the next 20 years gathering dust.

While the Stettlers had been generally aware of the bakery restoration campaign, recent newspaper coverage inspired them to come forward to see if the old fixtures were wanted. David Stettler contacted Friends of Fort Ward and announced that he had the bakery’s original front doors, and would anyone like to see them?

Sure enough, his shed doors were an exact match for the dimensions shown in the bakery blueprints – five-paneled fir slabs measuring 90 inches high, 36 inches wide, and 2-1/4 inches thick. That, and the apparent chain of title, were sufficient provenance: these were the same doors in the old photos.

That’s when the conversation took a more astounding turn.

“Then he said, ‘and I think I have some of the curved windows too,’” Crist said. “At first my mind didn’t make the leap to what he was talking about. Most of the bakery’s window openings are arched, but the windows themselves are rectangular. But when he pulled them out of his garage, that’s when it hit me.”

The gently-curving fanlights were an exact match for the blueprints – the larger one measuring 72 inches wide for the arch above the double doors, the smaller one sized for a doorway in the northwest corner of the facade.

Considering their age – 107 years old – and peripatetic journey into the present, the windows were remarkably well preserved. They had obviously been removed and treated with care over the years, their sashes still in good shape and with only a single broken pane.

Historians are elated with the news.

“A remarkable find,” said David M. Hansen, retired Washington state historic preservation officer and author of “Battle Ready,” an authoritative history of the Puget Sound coast defense network.

It was Hansen, now of Olympia, who got Fort Ward placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, and whose photographic survey at that time provided more clues to how the bakery had been changed through the years.

Nicholas Vann, Washington State Historical Architect, called the discovery “fantastic.”

“Nothing beats having real, authentic, original materials,” he said. “This is the essence of why we do what we do as preservationists.”

Doors (and windows) into the past

Vann, who works in the state Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, has followed the Fort Ward bakery restoration effort for the past year and visited Bainbridge in February to tour the building.

He described historic preservation as “a tangible connection to the past,” with the stories of heritage sites best conveyed through authenticity and original materials whenever possible.

Notice from the Seattle Daily Times, April 28, 1909, soliciting bids from area contractors for the construction of Fort Ward.

Value, he said, is sacrificed when elements must be recreated from scratch – the difference between a print of fine art and “the real deal.”

“The same goes for building components – value is lost without the historic materials,” Vann said. “Building components – like fine art or sports memorabilia or collector automobiles – are unique, and when they’re gone, they’re gone. The fact that you have located original building components for the bakery is fantastic, to best tell of its history.”

He added: “Even the little dings and scratches add to the patina. A door with impact marks on it might tell you how many times the door was opened by bakers with their hands full of bread and pastries. At any rate, these little imperfections and signs of wear and tear show the user that this was the actual door itself that was in use when human activity in the building was at its height.”

With a distinctive white cupola at its crown, the Fort Ward bakery reflects the Georgian Colonial Revival stylings that define the Puget Sound’s early 20th century, “Endicott Era” installations, including forts Worden (Port Townsend), Casey (Whidbey Island) and Flagler (Marrowstone Island).

A recent article in Coast Defense Journal noted that the Army’s Quartermaster Corps had hundreds of standardized plans for all manner of “non-tactical” buildings – from barracks to mess halls, fire stations to balloon hangars – that could be re-used from one fort to the next.

While it’s unclear how many the Army built using “Plan No. 217, Bakery,” only one other is known to be extant, at Fort DuPont, Delaware.

Architectural uniqueness is true across Fort Ward. Hansen has noted that with the exception of the NCO quarters and barracks (the latter torn down in the 1980s), Fort Ward’s buildings were not duplicated at any of Puget Sound’s other forts.

Details of the bakery’s architectural features including the cupola, brick accents and scrollwork in the eaves.

Fort Ward also got all the brick buildings – surprising, Hansen noted, since when the fort was built, the newly rebuilt Port Blakely Mill was churning out marketable timber by the shipload just down the hill.

“For whatever reason,” Hansen wrote in 1976, in nominating Fort Ward for the National Historic Register, “the selection of brick lends a distinctive appearance which is missing from other components of the Harbor Defenses of Puget Sound.”

That distinctiveness is embodied in the bakery’s design.

“When you think about it, there was really no reason for the Army to make a utilitarian building like a bakery this elegant,” Crist said. “Yet there are all these architectural flourishes that stand out – the cupola, some jazzy accents in the masonry, the sandstone sills, the scrollwork in the eaves. Someone put a lot of style into the design, a lot to catch the eye. That’s another reason we think it’s worth fixing up.”

Ironically, most of Fort Ward’s pre-World War I buildings are still standing – generally converted to private homes – while most of those put up by the Navy during World War II can today only be found in old photos.

It’s a testament to the designs of the Army architects, and the materials and craftsmanship of the local builders hired by the Quartermaster Corps.

A “Notice to Contractors” in the Seattle Daily Times dated April 28, 1909, solicited bids from area builders to construct Fort Ward from the ground up, including the bakery, the Stettlers’ NCO quarters, and various other post structures. All but one still stand.

Restoration is near

The bakery is now the subject of a restoration effort by the Friends of Fort Ward neighborhood group, in partnership with the Bainbridge Island Metro Park District and Kitsap County (Fort Ward) Sewer District No. 7, which bought the building in 2007. The Wenzlau Architects firm is providing design services.

The renovation will correct changes made over the years, taking the building back to its original 1910 look and feel. Windows bricked over by the Navy will be reopened to their full depth, and the elegant, original façade restored. The floor will be lowered back to grade, and a tumbledown carport and other add-ons removed.

The main hall where the post baker once toiled next to a hot oven will be opened up for classes, meetings and youth activities, with a kitchen, restrooms and storage adjacent. The Sewer District will maintain a small office in the north wing.

The hall will be managed by the Park District, joining Seabold and Island Center halls and Camp Yeomalt as local heritage buildings under public stewardship.

Vann’s office has endorsed the project, and it is currently ranked No. 6 out of 35 sites statewide recommended for support under the state’s Heritage Capital Projects Fund.

Fundraising is ongoing, but the project is in the final stages of permitting and building renovation is expected to begin later this summer – now, thanks to the neighbors, with some original fixtures.

The Stettlers have donated the fanlights to the bakery restoration free of charge. As for the double doors, they are handing those over as well – although David has asked that Friends of Fort Ward get him two doors for his shed in trade.

“I told him that won’t be a problem,” Crist said. “Replacement doors, we can find any day of the week. Original ones, I wouldn’t have bet on.”



Bainbridge Island Outfitters + Depot is Music Sponsor for Fort Ward Jazz Gala, July 30

Friends of Fort Ward welcomes our newest business sponsor, Bainbridge Island Outfitters + Depot, as official Music Sponsors of the upcoming Let’s Make History Jazz Gala on July 30.

Located in Lynwood Center on Bainbridge Island, BIO+D is “Your Outfitter for Life.”

The island-owned business offers rentals and retail for adventures of all sorts including beach cruisers, fat “e-bikes,” stand-up paddleboards, and fly fishing outfits. They stock USA-focused products for the outdoors, homesteading, emergency prep and home, and offer classes in skills and education for preparedness and self-sufficiency.

BIO+D owner Matt Otepka with Friends of Fort Ward Youth Board member Stella Streufert.

“It’s a privilege to be involved with and support such a great local cause,” says Matt Otepka, BIO+D founder and owner.  “This island, and particular the south side including Fort Ward and Lynwood Center, are rich in history. We’re happy be a part of that legacy and will continue to support the past as we look ahead into the future.”

The generous contribution of BIO+D supports the performance of our Let’s Make History Jazz Gala’s musical performers Sundae & Mr. Goessl, the award-winning vintage jazz duo from Seattle.

Kate “Sundae” Voss, accompanied by guitarist Jason Goessl, was named 2016 Vocalist of the Year by Earshot Jazz, and the duo are gaining renown as a regional and national touring act.

The duo will play vintage jazz favorites from the Swing Years and beyond at the Gala, a benefit for the Fort Ward Community Hall restoration project, www.fortwardhall.org.

The Let’s Make History Jazz Gala runs 3-6 pm July 30 at IslandWood.

Co-presented by Friends of Fort Ward and IslandWood, the casual afternoon will include great food, great fun, and a celebration of the effort to restore Fort Ward’s historic bakery building as a community hall for all of Bainbridge Island.

Advance tickets are $50, available online at www.brownpapertickets.com or by email at history@fortwardhall.org.

For more information on the Let’s Make History Jazz Gala or the Fort Ward Community Hall project, see www.fortwardhall.org. For information on Bainbridge Island Outfitters + Depot, see www.bainbridgeoutfitters.com.


Bainbridge Community Foundation gives $3K to Fort Ward project in latest grant cycle

FORT WARD, BAINBRIDGE ISLAND – The Bainbridge Community Foundation has awarded a $3,000 capital grant to the Fort Ward Community Hall project.

The award comes through the Foundation’s 2017 Community Grant program, results of which were announced this week. The Foundation is awarding a record $269,887 to 62 local nonprofit organizations for operations and capital projects this year.


Fort Ward Youth Board members Stella, Rachel, Marina and Mallory with Debbie Kuffel and Jim Hopper of the Bainbridge Community Foundation.

“Pretty cool,” said Douglas Crist, Friends of Fort Ward board president. “It’s a great boost as we move into our final phase of fundraising for the community hall project. The Bainbridge Community Foundation has been an outstanding partner and supporter, and we thank their donors for their enthusiasm.”

The grant brings Bainbridge Community Foundation support for the Fort Ward project to more than $18,000 over the past two grant cycles.

“Turning a local heritage building into a community center is an opportunity that doesn’t come along every day,” said Jim Hopper, BCF executive director. “They have a unique project going on in Fort Ward, and our donors have really responded to it.”

The grant awards will be feted at the Bainbridge Nonprofit Celebration sponsored by Bainbridge Community Foundation, Bainbridge Rotary and One Call for All, 4:30-6 p.m. July 13 at Bainbridge Performing Arts.


The Fort Ward Community Hall project will see restoration of the fort’s 1910 bakery building for use as a community  center, joining Island Center and Seabold halls and Camp Yeomalt among local historic buildings preserved for public use.

The project is a three-way partnership between the Friends of Fort Ward neighborhood group, the Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Recreation District, and Kitsap County (Fort Ward) Sewer District No. 7.

The project has previously earned grants from the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, the Bainbridge Island Parks Foundation and the Suquamish Foundation, and donor-advised contributions from the Seattle and Kitsap Community foundations. The project is currently ranked no. 6 out of 35 projects statewide recommended for funding under the competitive Heritage Capital Projects Fund, administered by the Washington State Historical Society.

Park officials and Friends of Fort Ward hope to begin the building renovation later this summer.

A celebration and fundraiser, the “Let’s Make History Jazz Gala,” is planned for 3 p.m. July 30 at IslandWood. The afternoon will include a performance by Sundae & Mr. Goessl, an acclaimed vintage jazz duo from Seattle, along with food and beverages.

Tickets for the event are available online through www.brownpapertickets.com, or by emailing history@fortwardhall.org. All proceeds go to the community hall renovation fund.

For information on the Fort Ward Community Hall project, see www.fortwardhall.org.


Living History Walk rocked! Next up: live jazz, July 30 @ IslandWood

HISTORY CAME ALIVE, AGAIN: A big FORT WARD SALUTE to everyone who made our second annual Fort Ward Living History Walk a smashing success this past Sunday! 

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Fort Ward Living History Walk 2017 (Robert Dashiell photo)

Around 75 hardy souls followed our volunteer docents over hill and dale to Battery Vincent, the Rich Passage floating mine field, top-secret “Station S” and five other sites, each showing a different aspect of the Fort Ward story. We hope everyone came away with a new appreciation of our amazing neighborhood history and how “the Little Fort at Bean Point” helped defend the nation through two world wars.

Thanks to our volunteers from IslandWood and the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum who joined forces with Friends of Fort Ward on the afternoon. And to the young baseball players who threw the ball around on the Parade Ground, recalling the Fort Ward teams of the past and adding more color to the day.

Special thanks also to several of our Fort Ward neighbors who graciously opened their beautiful historic homes to visitors – a real treat for guests to our National Historic District.

See a slideshow from the afternoon on our website, www.fortwardhall.org (with thanks to Robert Dashiell for the great images).

ABOUT THOSE PLEDGE CARDS: All Living History Walk guests received a first-ever commemorative booklet, chock-full of historic photos and other interpretive materials, with each page corresponding to a stop on the tour. And inside each booklet was … a pledge card!  

booklet-coverIf you enjoyed the Living History Walk, we hope you will consider making a contribution to the Fort Ward Community Hall campaign, to restore the fort’s historic bakery building (the final stop on our tour) as a new indoor park facility like Island Center and Seabold halls and Camp Yeomalt.

With our partners at the Bainbridge Island Park District, we plan to begin building renovation very soon – and your contribution will help! Remember that Friends of Fort Ward is an all-volunteer, 501(c)3 organization, so all contributions go to the building renovation fund and are tax-deductible. Join our campaign, and add your name to our growing roster of donors.

NEXT UP — LIVE JAZZ & HORS D’OEUVRES @ ISLANDWOOD: Now let’s make some more history! Friends of Fort Ward invites you all to our “Let’s Make History Jazz Gala,” 3 pm Sunday, July 30 at IslandWood.  


Kate Voss and Jason Goessl, acclaimed vintage jazz duo “Sundae + Mr. Goessl” of Seattle

You’ll enjoy some great food and a performance by Sundae + Mr. Goessl, the acclaimed Seattle jazz duo playing tunes from the Swing Years and beyond. Kate “Sundae” Voss was the 2016 Earshot Jazz Vocalist of the Year – don’t miss this Bainbridge Island performance!

Advance tickets for this afternoon fundraiser are $50, with all proceeds going to the community hall restoration fund. Tickets can be purchased at www.brownpapertickets.com, or email history@fortwardhall.org and we’ll sell you a ticket in person (and you get to skip the online “convenience” fee).

Thank you to our friends at IslandWood for co-presenting the Let’s Make History Jazz Gala event with Friends of Fort Ward. flier

This is going to be a great afternoon – part fundraiser, part swing jazz show, part celebration of the Fort Ward Community Hall campaign and our many supporters.

Can’t make it July 30? We’ll miss you – but please consider a contribution anyway. Buy a ticket and give it to a friend! Let’s fill IslandWood’s Great Hall for Sundae & Mr. Goessl, for Fort Ward history, and for a new heritage park building coming soon.

GREAT COVERAGE FROM KITSAP SUN: Finally, we’d like to thank reporter Nathan Pilling of the Kitsap Sun/Bainbridge Islander for a great story on the Fort Ward Community Hall effort! Nathan really captured the essence of the campaign.

If you missed the story, you can find it online right here. Thanks, Nathan!



Friends of Fort Ward, IslandWood partner for ‘Let’s Make History’ summer events

BAINBRIDGE ISLAND – Friends of Fort Ward and IslandWood are partnering on a summer campaign of historical education and fundraising to benefit the Fort Ward Community Hall project.

flierTwo events are planned: The 2nd Annual Fort Ward “Living History Walk” on June 18 in the Fort Ward neighborhood, and the “Let’s Make History Gala” fundraiser with live jazz music on July 30 at IslandWood.

Proceeds from the events go to the Fort Ward Community Hall renovation campaign.

LIVING HISTORY WALK: At the Living History Walk on June 18, volunteer docents will lead visitors through the Fort Ward National Historic District, with stops at colorful heritage sites around Fort Ward and a peek inside several historic homes.

Visitors will learn about the role of “the Little Fort at Bean Point” in defending the nation through two world wars, and take home a limited-edition photo booklet of Fort Ward history.

The walking tour ends with refreshments and displays at the fort’s 1910-vintage bakery building, soon to be restored for public use as Fort Ward Community Hall.

Screen Shot 2017-06-07 at 1.40.11 PMThe walk is co-presented by the Bainbridge Island Historical Society and the Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Recreation District.

Tickets for the Living History Walk are $10, with advance purchase encouraged at www.IslandWood.org. Only 70 spaces are available, and last year’s event sold out quickly.

‘LET’S MAKE HISTORY’ JAZZ GALA: On July 30, the Let’s Make History Jazz Gala fundraiser brings live jazz, hors d’oeuvres and fun to IslandWood for an afternoon fundraiser, 3-6 p.m.

The acclaimed Seattle jazz duo “Sundae + Mr. Goessl” will perform tunes from the Swing years and beyond. Accompanied by guitarist Jason Goessl, singer Kate “Sundae” Voss earned Earshot Jazz’s Golden Ear Award as 2016 Vocalist of the Year.

Also at the gala, Friends of Fort Ward will present new photo displays from the historic fort, with rarely seen images recently drawn from the National Archives and other sources.

A brief presentation will honor campaign contributors and announce the bakery building renovation schedule, planned to begin in late summer.

Tickets for the Let’s Make History Jazz Gala at IslandWood are $50 per person, now available online at www.brownpapertickets.com.

“We’re pretty stoked to be partnering with IslandWood for these events,” said Douglas Crist, Friends of Fort Ward founder and board president. “They’ve stepped up as great supporters and neighbors as we move the Fort Ward Community Hall campaign into its next phase, and look to get the building renovation underway.”

Allyson Brown, IslandWood’s senior vice president of philanthropy, hailed the collaboration.

“Hosting Friends of Fort Ward at IslandWood provides us an exciting opportunity to support and nurture likeminded organizations in our community,” Brown said. “We’re excited to welcome them on July 30!”

The Fort Ward Community Hall project will see restoration of the fort’s historic bakery building for use as a public park facility. While fundraising is ongoing, the renovation is expected to begin in late summer.

Capstone donors are sought to help bring the campaign to completion, with all contributions tax-deductible as allowed by law.

When the restoration is complete, the Fort Ward Community Hall will be managed by the Park District for classes, youth events and community gatherings, joining Seabold and Island Center halls and Camp Yeomalt in the constellation of local historic halls.

The project is led by Friends of Fort Ward, an all-volunteer nonprofit organization committed to historical preservation and education in the Fort Ward neighborhood.

For more information on the Living History Walk, the Let’s Make History Jazz Gala and the Fort Ward Community Hall project, email history@fortwardhall.org.