Gig Harbor Maritime Pier
History of a Fishermen's Pier
As early as 1918, the community wanted a Fishermen’s Pier …
Bay Island News
November 7, 1918
“The Pierce County Port Commission is certain to grasp the situation as it exists at Gig Harbor. The fishermen now located here and many others who would be soon to come are in serious need of accommodations that are possible only through the Port Commission. The (Bay Island) News would therefore respectfully recommend to the newly elected Commission that in making up its plans for port development to be submitted to the voters at an early date, they take into consideration the needs of the fisherman and the advantages offered for their home at Gig Harbor. It might be a good thing upon which to do their first work. The demand exists. The Harbor is absolutely protected from storms and rough weather, no needs no expensive sea walls. Locations for buildings and docks may be had for a mere trifle compared with any other location in or near Tacoma. In fact, there is no other place for fishermen’s docks except Gig Harbor.”
The original pier used by the Fishermen (pictured below) was located at the end of Rosedale Street near what is now, Jerisich Dock. The "Fisherman's Wharf" was inherited from Pierce County when the City incorporated in 1946. It eventually fell into disrepair and was demolished.
The picture below shows the Stutz Fuel Facility and storage tanks off Soundview at Harborview Drive the same year (1946). "Westside Grocers" (now the Tides Tavern) and "Peoples Dock" is shown just to the southeast.
An article in 1954 reveals that the goal to create a Fishermen's Pier was still on the minds of local leaders …
May 27, 1954
“Gig Harbor’s efforts to obtain construction of a fish boat haven moved onward Tuesday when the commissioners of the Port of Tacoma directed manager J.R. Woodruff and engineer Henry Kallander to study the proposal. A survey indicated at least 25 fishing boat owners would be willing to moor their craft in the haven.”
Mayor Jake Bujacich (1969 to 1978) long-time advocate of a pier, revived the effort in the late 1990's. By 2000, Councilman Jim Franich took on an advocacy roll in support of finding a location. Mayor Gretchen Wilbert appointed a "Maritime Pier Ad-Hoc Committee" in 2001.
June 13, 2001
“Gig Harbor’s commercial fishermen have been talking about a loading dock on the harbor for years. Now , a committee of local residents wants to take that idea further. They are proposing a municipal pier be built on Gig Harbor Bay that would not only be used by the fishermen for loading or unloading, but would be used by the public for access to the waterfront ..."
When the Madison Shores property came up for sale, Mayor Chuck Hunter proposed purchase of the site. This included combining it with the City's existing street-end (right-of-way) to create 32 new parking stalls that would expand public parking for downtown businesses and provide a home for a fishermen's pier.
At the same time, grant applications were submitted to the Port of Tacoma, state and federal budget committees and other sources in search of funding to construct the pier.
With support from State Senator Derek Kilmer and other local representatives, the Washington State Department of Commerce approved $390,000 for the Pier and the Gig Harbor Commercial Fishermen's Club donated $50,000 for the project. The Maritime Pier became a reality. Today's Pier design includes nearly all elements recommended in the 2003 Proposal plus ...
- deep-water pier
- ramp and float for public access
- vehicular access for loading/unloading (commercial fishing vessels)
- public viewing and pedestrian access
- public use by recreational boaters, water taxis, charter vessels and tour boats
- public restroom
- 32 parking stalls (plus ADA)
The images below show the pier nearing completion. The 157-ft x 18-ft wide pier includes an 80-ft x 6-ft wide ramp down to a 12-ft x 40-ft float for public access. A removeable railing near the last 30-ft of the pier will provide load/unload access for the commercial fishing vessels.
Structural framework for the "Maritime Pier" sign in place.
Larry Lindell of Sitts & Hill Engineers, Inc. designed the pier and Sam Berry of Redside Construction LLC (Port Gamble) complete the construction. (Redside contractors shown below.)
Chinook Sign, Inc. readies the sign for placement...
Tuesday's Installation ...
The formal ribbon-cutting ceremony was Monday, September 24, 2012.
Below is the new ADA compliant 80-ft x 6-ft ramp and 40-ft x 12-ft float for 15-minute passenger loading/unloading. Floats may be added in the future.