If looking for an easy, and scenic, day trip to Bremerton, take the ferry and enjoy all of the historical sites and monuments to really understand the city's blue-collar and naval history. Like many northwest cities that were established in the Victorian era, land became available in 1891 for non-native settlement. Once the territory of the Suquamish people, German immigrant and Seattle entrepreneur William Bremer arranged for the sale of 190 acres to be sold to the navy. This became the footprint to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. Bremerton is also home to the Bremerton Annex of Naval Base Kitsap, which today, offers plenty of history to learn and sites to visit.
Get a glimpse into Bremerton's history by visiting the Kitsap County Historical Society and Museum. Two unique museums sit inside an old 1950's Art Deco building and visitors get to experience a variety of hands-on exhibits and artifacts to get a better insight into Bremerton's history and the Squamish Tribe who once resided in this region. The historical society offers special events throughout the year such as the annual Antique Show that offers appraisals. General admission is free!
This museum has been dedicated to collecting, preserving and interpreting the naval heritage of the Pacific Northwest. This is one of ten museums funded and administered by the US Navy. This museum began operation in December 3, 1954 and is still in operation today. The museum offers exhibits to see how the naval operations work, even discover how the officers sleep. Temporary exhibits make way into the museums including some art or photography shows to see what the Puget Sound region looked like during the mid century.
The grounds of the naval museums is the Harborside Fountain Park. This is a beautiful 2.2 acre downtown plaza located next to the Naval Museums. The plaza is a manicured park featuring the Harborside Fountains where children run and play during the summer months. The fountains were constructed to look like the top of a submarine, and the park features plenty of benches and picnic tables to enjoy the waterfront view.
This is one of 18 Forrest Sherman-class destroyers of the United States Navy named after Admiral Charles Turner Joy USN. This naval destroyer now-museum ship operated in real life operated between 1959-1982, and was the last ship in the Forrest Sherman. This ship made many war operations, which can be discovered in the museum's exhibits.
Located seven miles west of downtown Bremerton and the ferry terminal is the Kitsap Forest Theater, which is one of the oldest forest theaters in the United States. Dating back to 1928, the local flora and fauna "sets the stage," for this theater while sitting in the midst of a Rhododendron preserve that stretches over 460 acres. If you've ever wanted to experience life in a fairy tale or in a fantasy novel, this is the place to catch a glimpse of a magical and historic park.
Aurora Valentinetti Puppet Museum
For a unique bit of Pacific Northwest art history, this puppet museum curates puppets from around the world as well as features live performances. The museum devoted its cause to preserving puppets and its unique craftmanship, which sadly is a dying art in today's society. Aurora Valentinetti was born in West Seattle in 1921 to Italian immigrants who were highly involved in community life and culture. Valentinetti began her University teaching career in 1943 as a Theatre Assistant/Lecturer and for the next 50 years taught children’s theatre and puppetry. This museum is dedicated to her lifelong work and passion of continuing the education of this once popular form of art.
If after exploring all of these amazing historical sites, be sure to grab some grub at a local and historic Bremerton restaurant. The Family Pancake House has been in operation since 1963, serving up some of the most beloved pancakes in town. This diner features the traditional American fare of sandwiches, shakes, steaks and salads, but most come for the pancakes. Children's menu is available.
Let's Connect! What is your favorite historical place to visit in Bremerton, Washington?