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Photo showing USS Philip coming into the pier.

USS Philip (DD-76) at Pier #1.

CHAPTER THREE
A Center of Torpedo Instruction
1920-1929

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Arial photo showing the peninsula and piers.
The town of Keyport and the Pacific Coast Torpedo Station were indeed on a true peninsula of land in the early days. As you can see from this mid-1920's panorama, the body of water that makes up the current lagoon, stretched all the way around the Station property making it and the town (shown with its pier in the lower right corner) nearly an island. Much of that waterway was later filled in to add acreage to the Station.

Commanding Officers
Commander Lloyd S. ShapleyJune 21, 1920-July 6, 1922
Commander Willis W. BradleyJuly 5, 1922-August 25, 1924
Commander Harold V. McKittrickAugust 25, 1924-January 26, 1927
Commander Thomas E. Van MetreJanuary 26, 1927-September 23, 1929
Commander Robert C. GiffenSeptember 23, 1929-June 18, 1932
By the 1920's the Pacific Coast Torpedo Station was well established and became a center of instruction with a fully equipped torpedo school. Students from all parts of the Fleet came to Keyport for three months training in the fundamentals of torpedoes and ranging.

The Mark 8 and 9-1 torpedoes provided the Station's workload in 1920 and a triple torpedo tube was installed in USS Goldsborough (DD-188), the first ship to bring torpedoes to Keyport.

Recreational facilities were added this year to help boost morale since a real lack of entertainment existed. A bowling alley was built, complete with pool tables, a movie projector and screen, and a ships service store was opened.

Commander Bradley obtained a wartime sub chaser, the SC-309, to make daily trips to Bremerton and Puget Sound Navy Yard. The 309 was replaced later by tug 98, which had better freight capacity than the

  Photo of the new Marine Barracks.
The new Marine Barracks stand tall, destined to be a Station landmark, in this 1920 photograph. Today, buildings and trees separate the barracks from the wharf and waterfront.
 
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The new acreage, purchased in 1929, was thick with virgin timber to be cleared. Station laborers were hardly experienced in the logging business and enthusiastically tried anything to make the clearing job easier and less time-consuming. Harvey Jensen filled a couple innertubes with dynamite and wrapped them around the top of two trees...

Photo of two trees with an explosion about midway up.
Boom! The explosion...

309. The 98 was used until the advent of highways made travel by land more efficient.

Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Franklin D. Roosevelt visited the Station in 1921. He was greeted by the sight of a bustling, growing Naval base with at least 100 men.

In 1924, one employee was sent to Rhode Island to learn the business of manufacturing and assembling torpedo igniters. Upon his return, he passed his knowledge on to his coworkers and PCTS began working with igniters.

  Photo of trees with top halves falling.
Down come the tops...

Bald trees half as tall.
Perfectly topped trees-no sawing required!

This practice, however, came to a screeching halt after one harrowing incident. It was nearing the four o'clock quitting time; the laborers, in a hurry to finish, set the charge, and let 'er rip. Unfortunately, the tree fell across the Station's only exit and started a fire that spread 50 ft. around the tree. According to longtime employee, Don Gilham, there were "a lot of hungry sidewalk 'superintendents' giving us the word about slowpokes..." From then on, he said, "all the large trees had to be cut the 'old fashioned' way..."
 
28

A panorama of the Station.
A panorama of the Station in this late 1920 photo shows the water towers, officer quarters, and marine barracks. The home to the far right is Quarters D, formerly the Norum home and at that time, the residence of the Commanding Officer. To the left of Quarters D are (from right to left): Quarters E, F, J, and K, all of which are still in use today. (photo courtesy of Alice Norum Peterson)
 
Torpedoes began to increase in size and capability. State legislation was passed in 1925 for the building of a highway between Keyport and Bremerton. The highway was later extended to Port Gamble and Kingston.

Navy officials agreed that the 1914 purchase of land was not adequate to cover the needs of the expanding torpedo station. Sixty-one additional acres of land, south and west of the original boundaries, were purchased in 1929.

The Keyport School children and Navy personnel held a holiday exchange that year. The military men took up a collection for gifts for the children, and the children thanked them by putting on a costume play at the barracks.

Small end of section scroll graphic element.

  Photo of a fence and gate.
By deed dated and recorded September 16, 1929, 61 acres of land were added to the Station's boundaries. The Station fence-line was extended to include this additional land, partly for security, but mainly to keep unwanted cows and other farm-life from wandering onto the base.
 
29

Small stream with a small dam.
This fresh water supply reservoir was replaced in 1921 with two deep wells.

By 1922, employees were using automobiles to get to work causing base roads to deteriorate. In
the winter months, the
roads were mud holes and in the summer, dust. With no sidewalks, pedestrian journeys were no
less than ordeals. This photo, taken to the south on B Street, shows Quarters E and D.
By 1922, employees were using automobiles to get to work causing base roads to deteriorate. In the winter months, the roads were mud holes and in the summer, dust. With no sidewalks, pedestrian journeys were no less than ordeals. This photo, taken to the south on "B" Street, shows Quarters E and D.
 
30

Photo of rail tracks.
The Station railroad was built to relieve laborers of the tough job of hauling torpedoes from shop to dock with hand-drawn carts. In 1922 an electric car replaced a locomotive which had a tendency to throw sparks and set off grass fires.

Photo of large radio towers over small buildings.
By the mid 1920's Radio Hill added some homes to accompany the Radio Station and one of its towers. Though the Radio Station and its towers are long gone, the homes remain and are still used as quarters today. (photo courtesy of Darlene Munroe)
 
31

Posed photo of the baseball team.
The torpedo station had a baseball team in 1926 that would do us proud even today. It played forty games and lost only five. A huge Puget Sound Navy tug transported most of the fans to cheer the Keyport team in the Northwest championship game. Though no official count was taken, it was estimated that over 1,000 people attended. Keyport pleased the fans and took the championship title.

Cars parked alongside a dirt road.
The twenties brought a flood of employee automobiles to Keyport Leaving their cars here, there, and everywhere on base, employees got together and decided a parking lot was definitely needed. With management's approval, each employee donated a day's work and cleared a designated spot for the new parking lot.
 
32

Photo of teachers and children posed aboard ship.
Local school teachers and children enjoy a ride on the USS Saratoga (CB-3). The visitors were invited to spend the day at Keyport for what was to become an annual event for many years on Armed Forces Day. (photo courtesy of Ruth Reese)
 
Tin Pail Lunchboxes: A History of the Keyport School

Posed photo of children teachers together.
These young school chums pose on the steps of the old Keyport School. Note the tin pail lunchbox held by the boy in front. (photo courtesy of Rosemay Olson)

  From classmates to co-workers: many of the children who went to the Keyport school together, went on to work together at the Torpedo Station. Those school years were the beginnings of deep kinships and fond memories to last a lifetime.

The Keyport School traces its roots back to March 2, 1886, when Kitsap County Superintendent, Miss Lizzie Ordway, appointed a school board to establish School District #14. On May 1st of that year, Keyport residents gathered together to decide where to put the school. Charles Sjolund offered his property which was near what was to become the southwest border of PCTS, and a sum of $40 was collected for a building fund that evening.

The school opened its doors to 18 children for the first time on July 12, 1886. For a monthly salary of $30, Miss Nellie Kiddie from Port Madison taught the first session, which lasted all of three months. The students couldn't attend in the winter because, although the $40 collected to build the school was considered a "tidy" sum in those days, it just didn't go far enough to provide anything more than rough, unfinished walls inside with no insulation and no heat.

In those early days, the children sat on benches set against the wall. Lunches were brought in little, round, tin pails and the children took delight in swapping tidbits such as homemade doughnuts and Norwegian flat bread. Fresh water was available from the school creek, about one-half mile away, and it was the boys' duty to retrieve water for the class. The children took turns drinking from the "community" dipper; one

 
33

Students pose in front the school.
Students pose in front of the final Keyport School building in 1930. Built in 1908, it was used until the 1940's. The structure was eventually sold to the North Kitsap Baptist Church and is now used as a restaurant in Poulsbo, Washington. (photo courtesy of George Liaset)
graduate later mused that it was a wonder epidemics didn't sweep through the student body.

A second school soon followed that first little one room schoolhouse. This one was near the Island Lake Cemetery, and was used until 1908, when a new school was built in South Keyport, just outside of the southern boundaries of what was to become the Torpedo Station.

"Potato bakes" were a favorite activity of the students of the third schoolhouse. Teacher, Mr. Fairfield, arranged for the students to bring potatoes to school every now and again; they all would spend the entire afternoon outside, baking potatoes over a roaring bonfire and learning about nature.

Hannah Norum Langer, now of Port Orchard, remembers her school years in the early part of the century: "Attending school took us on an extensive

  walk. We were often a little frightened to walk through the wooded areas for there were rumors of cougars about ...(the parents) had arranged for some of the older boys to guide (us) but the boys had no attraction to that job, so they simply walked away."

This school building was used until the 1940's, when the Keyport School became part of the North Kitsap School District. It was abandoned and later sold to the North Kitsap Baptist Church. That same building is now used as a restaurant.

In 1952, Hilder Pearson Elementary School was built for the children of Keyport, Pearson and the surrounding areas, and today carries on the tradition of the old Keyport School.

Small end of section scroll graphic element.

 
34

Photo of unpaved road with buildings on either side.
Some things seem to stay the same forever. Many things about the street leading to PCTS' main gate in 1924 have changed since then, but if you look to the left, a sign says "Keyport Garage." If you drive up to that gate today, and look to the left, you'll see a business still devoted to the repair of autos. (photo courtesy of Rosemay Olson)
 
Keyport Was the Place to Be in the 20's and 30's

A rather self-sufficient town developed outside the gates of the Pacific Coast Torpedo Station in the 1920's and 1930's. Real estate brochures hailed Keyport as the New Naval City, abound with opportunities for merchants, tailors, doctors, dentists, druggists, moving pictures, garage and automobile agencies, builders, contractors, and "many other lines."

Whatever its potential, the town was still rather isolated from the rest of Kitsap County with horse and buggy remaining the mode of transportation among residents.

The community club, church, school, and the torpoedo station were the focal points for past time. Town's people looked forward to community functions with great gusto. The annual Sunday School picnic brought out the town's entire population-churchgoers and non-churchgoers alike.

 

Stylish women posing on the pier.
Keyport-living in the 1920's was great fun for these town folks who gathered at the pier for a July 4th celebration. (photo courtesy of Ruth Reese)

 
35

Real estate brochures sing the praises of Keyport living in the
1920's & 1930's
===
KEYPORT

The New Naval City

LOCATED on the mainland west of Seattle, where the Government has established a Pacific Coast
Torpedo Station. a Pacific Coast Wireless Base, and where an appropriation is asked for the
establishment of a Submarine Base.
====
We Want to Show You

KEYPORT

at Our Expense

Call at Our Office
617 ThIRD AVENUE

and we will furnish you with transportation that you may judge for yourself if the following
prices for such desirable traces are not sway below the marker.

40 x 100 ft. Lots . $150.00

80 x 100 ft. Lots . $350.00 to $400.00

Teems: $25 down, $10 per Mo.

CLIFFORD LAND CO.

Phone Elliot 99

617 Third Ave. Seattle
===
SPLENDID HOMES

The splendid homes adjoining Keyport
tell the story of its past development
and show that the location is one which
has already appealed to those seeking choice home sites along Puget Sound.
Each lot is a natural park, with splendid
shade trees and shrubs: the soil is rich,
sandy loam, ideal for Fruits, Garden Truck and Berries.

Extending South from Keyport is the
Route of the Keyport-Bremerton Highway, intended to link the Navy Yard with the Torpedo Base, an improvement which is bound to follow the development of these two fast growing cities.

KEYPORT A MODERN CITY

Less than two years ago where the City of Keyport now stands, a virgin forest grew, but necessity decreed that a city should replace wild woods: today modern homes are being built: orchards and gardens planted.  Electric lights and city water have been installed.
===
KEYPORT

THE expansion of our naval protection for
the Pacific Coast makes Keyport, the Pacific Coast Torpedo Base (where all torpedos
of the Pacific Fleet are tested and cared for), a place of steadily increasing employment and
payrolls.

KEYPORT is in the heart of a fertile agricultural district developing into one of the richest
sections of our state, hence Keyport has a future unparalleled by any other city west of Seattle
on Puget Sound.

KEYPORT has many business oportunities
awaiting you.

KEYPORT lots are offered at reasonable prices and terms.

KEYPORT will have steadily increasing payrolls.

KEYPORT has a rich farming section adjoining.

KEYPORT has ideal surroundings for your home life.

All these and many more reasons why you should make Keyport your home.

We will show you Keyport today
===
'A Place to
Live All the Year'

CLIFFORD LAND CO.

Phone Ellion, 99

617 Third Avenue SEATTLE, U.S.A.


KEYPORT'S ATTRACTIVE SETTING

LOCATED on a beautiful peninsula of the mainland, a little more than one hour's ride northwest from Seattle.  The sandy beaches and shallow stretches of salt water which nearly surround Keyport afford ideal bathing boating and fishing, while the adjoining gently sloaping woodland furnishes the frame for the picturesque setting of this beautiful city.

Keyport a Trade Center

Keyport is a natural outlet and affords the quickest means of communication with Seattle for the rich dairy, berry and poultry districts embracing Brownsville, Silverdale, Pierson.  Bangor and many other agricultural and horticultural sections.  The future development here offers a steadily increasing market for the farm products grown in there location.

Prices are Reasonable at Keyport

Large lots close to the business center as low as $200 with electric lights and city water available.

Be one of First to Locate at Keyport
===
The Future of
KEYPORT
Is Assured

KEYPORT is not only a new Naval City with permanent government payroll, but is adjacent to a rich and prosperous farming community.

The Farmer's Poultry Association claims for the surrounding territory the second largest egg production on the Pacific Coast, and the dairy industry has reached the highest stage of development of any section in Kitsap County.  With the development of the highway between Bemerton Navy Yard and Keyport, the rich farming district will have a natural outlet to Seattle markets thru the City of Keyport.
====
MAKE

Your Seashore Home
ON
THE MAINLAND
West of Seattle

A PLACE to spend the summer or live the year around with your family.

Fishing, Swimming, Boating in the sheltered bay adjoining.
Evergreen shade trees from the hilltops to the water's edge.
LET YOUR SAVINGS WORK FOR YOU
Buy one of these lots near the business center of this New City, KEYPORT, the Naval Torpedo
Station, where official recommendations have been made that several million dollars he spent on
permanent improvement. Remember that every dollar invested by the Government at the
Keyport Torpedo Station increases the value of your investment.

BOAT SERVICE

LEAVE SEATTLE LEAVE KEYPORT
Pier 3. Foot of Madison
7:00 A.M. 9:00 A.M. 11:30 A.M.
11:15 A.M. 5:15 P.M. 3:15 P.M.

Commutation Family Tickets, 26 Ride. $7.50
Limited Tickets, 26 Rides $5.00
===
(Brochures courtesy of Clara Kugener Wolfe)
 
36

The Keyport Community Church
The Keyport Community Church, shown here in 1962, was built by volunteers-churchgoers and non-who labored throughout much of the 1930's to piece it together. It was dedicated in 1937 and has served as a center of community activity ever since. (photo courtesy of Ruth Reese)
 
Community effort was certainly a way of life for the people. The church building, which still stands today in Keyport, was built over a number of years in the 1930's with all volunteer labor. Volunteers worked diligently until the building was dedicated on May 2, 1937.

Small end of section scroll graphic element.

The Liberty Lunch restaurant and Shoe Repair shop were set up side by side in the late 1920's. The restaurant was owned by Sofia Kugener and the Shoe Repair by her brother-in-law, Remackel Kugener. Remackel was a carpenter and orthopedic shoemaker. (photo courtesy of Rosemay Olson)

  Photo of the Liberty Lunch and Shoe Repair shops.
 
37

Photo of the Keyport Hotel.
The Keyport Hotel and Room and Board owned by Ellen Petterson, was a favorite hangout for the base sailors and workers in the 1920's. The Station Commanding Officer wanted to discourage the young men from partying there and asked Ellen to deny them business; she was not inclined to do so and as a result was at odds with the Navy much of the time. The hotel, which was located near today's town fire station on Pacific Avenue, was torn down in later years. (photo courtesy of Ruth Reese)
 
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  The community bulletin board, 1920's style.
Photo with 6 people and a car in front of the Merchantile and Post Office.
Some figures of Keyport's past pose in front of the Merchantile and Post Office. (photo courtesy of Rosemay Olson)
 
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