As early as 1910, Gig Harbor's first netsheds began appearing along the waterfront. These simple structures, many constructed with rough, hand-hewn fir were used by local fishermen to store nets and fishing gear.
As the town grew, many netsheds disappeared; displaced by new development and commercial marinas. Today, only 17 netsheds along the western shoreline remain, but Gig Harbor Bay still boasts the largest inventory of historic netsheds on the Puget Sound.
In 2008, the City applied for and received a Washington State Historic Preservation Grant from the Department of Archeaology and Historic Preservation (DAHP). The 2009 project was completed by National Park Service HAER Maritime Program Coordinator, Todd A. Croteau, in the summer of 2009. Croteau worked in partnership with the Council of America Maritime Museums (CAMM) and provided on-site demonstrations for Bates Technical College students to complete each Historic Amercan Engineering Record (HAER). University of Washington students, Brian Diveley and Shelly Leavens also participated under the management of Croteau. Each structure includes a historical context narrative, measured drawings (24x36 mylars) and individual large-format black-and-white photographs transmitted to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. for inclusion in the Prints and Photographs Division's HAER Collection. The documents will be held in the public domain and be available through the Library's web site "Built in America".
Gig Harbor's Historic Commercial Fishing Netsheds were listed by the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation on their 2008 Most Endangered Structures List. You can read more in the National Trust's Preservation Magazine article, "Washington's Fishing Sheds Get Boost."
View YouTube Video by Jim Gillette that records a day during the 2011 Fall Fishing Season outside the mouth of Gig Harbor. Andy Babich is Skipper of the purse seiner, "Ocean Dream". He and his crew fish for Chum Salmon in West Pass. More history on Gig Harbor and it's Commercial Fishing Fleet can be found at the Harbor History Museum.
Each net shed record is posted on-line (below). Downloadable illustrations and images are also included. If you have additional information, photos or corrections, please submit them so that we can update our records.
(click on the image title below for an enlarged view)
|Survey Team Arrives in Gig Harbor|
|Large Format Photography|
|Bates Technical College Students|
|Mapping the Puratich NetShed|