Eagle Harbor’s First Industrialists

Henry Knox Hall - Born December 7, 1830, like his brothers he received his early training in shipbuilding in and around Cohasset. At 17 he became apprentice to a shipbuilder in Medford, MA. During the Civil War, he supervised shipwrights at the Charleston Navy Yard. He also served in California at the Mare Island Navy Yard. Henry died in August, 1909. Of the brothers, he was the only one that resided on Bainbridge Island.

In the history of wooden shipbuilding in the Pacific coast during the latter part of the 19th century, there is no greater family of shipbuilders than the Hall brothers, who established shipyards at Port Ludlow, later at Port Blakelly, and finally at Winslow, Washington. The Halls - Isaac, Winslow, and Henry - were a team of brothers who designed, built, and launched some of the most beautiful sailing ships ever constructed on the West Coast. Hall Brothers vessels were distinguished by exceptional workmanship, exquisite hull lines, long sharp bows, graceful sterns, great speed, large capacity, and ease of sailing. In the span of thirty years, the brothers designed and built a variety of wooden sailing vessels, including barks, barkentines, and schooners. They ranged from two-mast ships to three-, four-, and finally large five-mast vessels. Although Hall vessels sailed mainly on the West Coast, it was not uncommon for their ships to travel the world’s trade routes.

The brothers’ shipbuilding expertise was handed down from a long line of Hall ancestors involved in shipping and boatbuilding from the earliest colonial times in Cohasset, Massachusetts, near Boston. Growing up and working in the very center of the East Coast maritime world provided a rich shipbuilding heritage to Isaac, Winslow and Henry, which eventually culminated in the founding of the Hall Brothers Shipyard in the Pacific Northwest in 1874.

Because of the high cost of lumber and labor in San Francisco, the Halls looked to Puget Sound where the most profitable indiustry was lumbering. In 1874, with building contracts in hand, Isaac and Winslow formalized their business partnership and established Hall Brothers Shipyard at Port Ludlow. Isaac, a master shipwright and the most experienced shipbuilder, managed and operated the construction of the vessels in the new shipyard. Winslow directed the business affairs, secured contracts, and drew up the designs for the new vessels from their San Francisco office. The firm prospered from the start and, as a result of its success, Isaac invited his younger brother, Henry Knox Hall, to join him in Port Ludlow.

The Halls built 31 vessels at Port Ludlow. Upon Isaac’s death, Henry became the managing partner in Puget Sound and Winslow continued as chief naval architect and business manager in San Francisco. In 1880, the Port Ludlow Mill Company and its timber holdings were mired in litigation and short of lumber, disrupting shipyard activities. Fortunately that same year, the Halls received a timely offer to move their shipyard operations to one of the world’s largest lumber mills, the Port Blakely Mill on Bainbridge Island.

Between 1881 and 1904, the firm launced 77 vessels of every size and rig, including barks, barkentines, three-, four- and five-mast schooners, steamers, a tug, a government revenue cutter, and severall yachts. During those busy and prosperous years, Winslow and Henry also established business connections with Hawaiian interests leading to 20 percent of their building business.

Winslow died in 1898, leaving Henry as sole proprietor. Henry continued to lead the company until early 1903, when the shipyard was moved to Winslow and became known as Hall Brothers Marine Railway and Shipbuilding Company.

As early as 1901, Henry began searching for a suitable site for a new and enlarged facility. Locations in West Seattle, Point Wells, Port Townsend bay and Mukilteo were all considered. The Port Blakely Mill Company owned property on the north shore of Eagle Harbor, north of Port Blakely Harbor, and Henry finally chose this location. The area, named Madrone, consisted of 90 acres, 75 of which were dedicated to a town site. In honor of Winslow Hall, Madrone was renamed Winslow in 1903.

Construction of a fully equipped, modern shipbuilding and ship repair facility began in 1902. The new shipyard covered nearly 15 acres of ground. A modern marine railway, state-of-the-art machine shops, a powerhouse, sawmill, joiner loft, warehouse, shipways, and assorted small buildings and shipyard equipment were included in the yard. The new facility was called the Hall Brothers Marine Railway and Shipbuilding Company. The officers of the new corporation were Henry Hall, president; John L. Hubbard, vice-president; E.H. Lincoln, secretary; and James W. Hall, (Henry’s son) treasurer.

Jimmy attended Harvard University but spent most of his life on Bainbridge Island. He assisted his father in managing the shipyard during its final years at Port Blakely and later at Winslow.

As shipbuilders, Hall Brothers stood second to none for their technical ability, conscientious work and the serviceableness of the ships that they produced. The “Hall Model” and the Hall flag were known in all ports of the Pacific Ocean from Puget Sound to Freemantle, Australia, and from Valparaiso to Vladivostock, Russia.
Henry died in Seattle on August 23, 1909, at the age of 79. He was laid to rest next to his brother, Winslow, at San Francisco’s Cypress Lawn Memorial Park.

Excerpted from Hall Brothers Shipbuilders, Gary M. White, 2008. Pictures courtesy of the Margaret Wenham Family.



Residing on Whidbey Island, Vicki Robin released her book, Blessing the Hands that Feed Us, What Eating Closer to Home Can Teach Us About Food, Community, and Our Place on Earth. The book documents Ms. Robin’s trek from her ideas of frugal living to exclusively eating and drinking from within a 10-mile radius – a hyper-locavore by many peoples standards. Within its pages she coins the term “Relational Eating.” This term supports a better explanation of the benefits of sourcing your food products locally; and, serves as a daily reminder of what we will benefit from. In her final chapters she summarizes her lessons learned from her 10-mile diet which are excerpted here:

1. My relationship with my body shifted. Instead of it being a possession I judged, adorned, displayed, fed, and used as I liked, I saw it now as a living, breathing part of a living landscape. When I take three deep breaths to start meditation, I am not just relaxing my body, I am filling my lungs and belly with “here.” Here receives my feet when I walk.

2. My relationship with food has
shifted. Instead of yo-yoing between gluttony and “dieting,” I actually enjoy food. It’s the


relational part that made the difference. I get intimacy and nourishment now, not just flavor and…OMG calories. The word diet has become what one eats “here” – just as people have done for centuries.

3. My relationship with my community has shifted. I had no real stake in the place – in the people or nature. Through local eating, I actually came home.

4. My relationship with cooking has shifted. From someone with an inadequate repertoire of dishes I liked, I have become a cook with the growing ability to “feel” what I might do with this root or leaf or fruit or muscle right in front of me, and how I might honor its qualities by cooking it well.

5. My relationship with entitlement even changed. The unconscious privilege afforded by my class, education, and experiences has switched to a humble awareness that whoever my ego imagines I am, the reality is that I live by the grace of what lives around me.

6. Finally, my relationship with activism has changed. I’m no longer fueled by an underlying terror at what my species is making of this world and am motivated now by a real sense that our lives can truly be a blessing for the earth.

Horse Project Update

Pub’s Biodigester Pilot Project Branded a Success; Horse Moves to New Home

After a year-long pilot program, the bio-digester HORSE has moved on to a new home on Bainbridge Island.

Since early 2016, Harbor Public House has partnered with Puget Sound Energy and Impact Bioenergy to use the HORSE (High-solids Organic-waste Recycling System with Electrical output) to demonstrate the viability of using food waste to make electricity and fertilizer and to further the discussion about a permanent, larger community digester.

“The ‘feeding’ of the HORSE motivated our staff to look for additional ways of repurposing our waste streams,” said Jeff Waite, manager of Harbour Public House. “Based on the positive feedback we are experiencing, we think it’s time for a community-wide discussion on how the Island can move on more community-based installations.”
Accordingly, Waite reports, initial talks have begun at the city-staff level with commercial waste stakeholders.

The digester was designed to generate 2,550 kilowatt hours of energy per year and the energy equivalent of one barrel of crude oil with 2,900 pounds of food scraps. It also generated about 5,400 gallons of nutrient-rich fertilizer that was utilized by local farms.

“It was a fun project and we were lucky to have project partner PSE that knows how important renewable energy is to Bainbridge Island residents,” claims Waite.

PSE is now funding a second study to determine the viability of a larger, permanent community digester and has located a new partner on the Island to host the HORSE for the upcoming year.

Some History on the Harbour Pub

The Harbour Public House was originally the home of Amanda and Ambrose Grow.

Their house was built in 1881 with further additions over the next few years.

The Pub’s construction started in 1990 and took almost two years to complete. The house was in very poor condition; the original foundation was cedar rounds and, over the years, much settlement and decay occurred. The original construction had been sound but rudimentary, the only significant aspect being the inside walls, which were of clear tongue-and-groove Douglas Fir from first-growth Bainbridge Island trees milled at the Port Blakely Lumber Mill (then the largest lumber mill in the world).

The rear single-story portion of the house was so severely decayed that it had to be completely rebuilt. The front two-story portion, however, was jacked up and, after a lower basement floor and walls had been constructed, was re-lowered and remodeled to retain the original upstairs interior but with the original upstairs floor removed and the load-bearing walls replaced with new heavy timber beams and posts.

The interior wood which was not retained was refinished and reused as wainscoting throughout the building or re-milled as trim and cabinets. The booth tables and mantelpiece are made from the original upstairs floor joists.


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Introducing Kitsap Fresh
An online marketplace connecting farm to table in a whole new way. An online farmers market dedicated to Kitsap grown goods. Access at least 20 local farms all from one storefront. Your order is sorted, organized and waiting for you. You can even pay online if you wish. 

est. 1991

est. 1982

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The Harbour Public House opened on December 27th, 1991 as the first non-smoking tavern in the Seattle area.

Ambrose F. Grow

Ambrose Grow and his wife, Amanda, and their family came to Eagle Harbor in 1881. He was a Civil War veteran and came be- cause of the descriptive letters he had read in the New York and Kan- sas papers telling of the virtues of Bainbridge Island. Selling his large farm in Manhattan, Kansas, he homesteaded 160 acres here along the waterfront. In addition to be- ing a charter member of the Eagle Harbor Congregational Church and the Madrone Schools, he was a pro- lific correspondent to the happen- ings in Eagle Harbor and environs.

Grow Family Homestead

Still stands today as home to Harbour Public House

Parfitt Way Management • 231 Parfitt Way S.W. • Bainbridge Island, WA 98110 • Phone: 206- 842- 0969 • Email: click here