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Port Orchard

Seat of Kitsap County and one of the oldest settlements on Kitsap Peninsula. In 1854 William Renton and Daniel Howard landed near the towering forests along the protected waters of the bay named Port Orchard by Captain George Vancouver, in honor of H. M. Orchard of the ship Discovery. Here they erected a sawmill. The success of this venture soon attracted shipbuilders, and the sound of hammers mingled with the hum of the sawmill. The first vessel built in Kitsap County, the I. I. Stevens, was launched here in 1855. The village which grew up around the mill was named Sidney for Sidney Stevens, who platted the townsite. Early in the 1890s, the Port Orchard Naval Station post office was established in Sidney, and in succeeding years the navy yard across the inlet assumed an important part in the town’s economy. In 1903, by an act of the State legislature, the name was officially changed to Port Orchard, and shortly thereafter the town was made the county seat.

By the 1940s, with the depletion of the forests on the peninsula, Port Orchard came to depend primarily upon construction work in the Navy Yard at Bremerton and upon the agricultural development of the surrounding country. It was also an important shipping point for ferns and huckleberry greens for the florist trade.

Present-day Port Orchard stretches along the rim of the bay, many of the buildings being built on pilings over the tide flats. East of the business district, the residential section climbs the steep hill, where terraced lawns, rock gardens, and bright flowers and shrubs make a colorful picture in midsummer. The courthouse crowns the hill.


1926 lantern slide of the Chippewa ferry near Port Orchard.

Photo by Asahel Curtis. Source: Washington State Historical Society

Ca. 1913 image of C. P. Ainsworth’s store in Port Orchard.

Source: Washington State Historical Society

Points of Interest Points of Interest icon

Masonic Hall

Built in 1908, the Masons occupied the Port Orchard Masonic Hall until 1950. Many of the original members of the lodge were city officials and the founding leaders of the community. Built for the Masons of Port Orchard Lodge #98, the building is currently used as a museum and art gallery. The building was originally designed to house commercial uses on the first floor, while the second floor was dedicated to lodge functions. The wide open spaces on the second floor gave flexibility to the proceedings of the lodge and the raised daisis on the sides and ends of the room, visually separated the various levels of Masons during their ceremonies. Early first floor tenants included a print shop, and the local commercial club. Between 1920 and 1924, the first floor was rented to the local newspaper, the Port Orchard Independent. Upstairs, the meeting hall was shared by other societies beside the Masonic Order. In 1931 the Independent Order Odd Fellows Olympic View began meeting in the hall as well as the Port Orchard Chapter #44 of the Order of Eastern Star and in 1938, the Rainbow Girls began meeting there. These fraternal societies met in the building until June 1950 when Lodge #98 sold the building to the Port Orchard Aerie No. 2338, Fraternal Order of Eagles.

Navy View Apartments

The Navy View Apartment building, originally known as the Sydney Hotel, was constructed in 1890 for Navy Personnel who came in 1891 to garrison the recently established Bremerton Naval Base, located across the Bay. The hotel changed hands numerous times until in 1917 the 45 hotel rooms were converted to 12 apartments and 8 single rooms and the building’s name was changed to the Navy View Apartments.