Welcome to Silverdale, WA
In 1841, the American expedition led by Lt. Charles Wilkes explored the area now known as Silverdale, WA. Dyes Inlet was named after the expeditions's taxidermist, Mr. John William Dyes.
The area remained virtually unexplored until 1854 when loggers arrived and began operations along the vast shorelines. The lumbermen soon expanded their operations into the valleys, building roads that ran inland. The logging headquarters were easy to spot, with their floating bunkhouses moored along the shoreline. Chinese cooks prepared the meals, and the women and children often shared the barges with the men.
By the 1880's, the timber industry had removed most of the prime trees. Scandinavian immigrants, lured to the western United States by stories of inexpensive land, began pulling and burning the remaining stumps. The farmers' crop thrived in this fertile and productive soil, and families began to settle in the area.
These immigrants turned out to be excellent farmers and were soon hauling their surplus crops to the Bremerton and Seattle markets. This led to the formation of the Farmer's Cooperative in 1887. The Silverdale Dock became an important center of operations and was soon surrounded by hotels, stores and fraternal lodges. Some of these historical structures are still standing, including the building that houses the Kitsap County Historical Society's central museum. Built in 1919, the structure housed Silverdale State Bank, with a drugstore and a butcher shop attached. Today, the museum displays a wide variety of exhibits, including pioneer implements, furniture, clothing, toys, Indian artifacts and an array of other local historical artifacts.
Economic depressions have had little effect on Silverdale over the years. The farmer's co-op provided a successful, local livelihood, and young people found employment at the Naval shipyard in Bremerton, commuting back and forth on the boats of the Mosquito fleet. Only a few pilings remain today to remind us of this once flourishing passenger ferry service in and out of Silverdale. The new Silverdale Pier opened at the same location in 1987.
The U.S. Navy's 1971 announcement that it would be building its Trident Submarine Base at nearby Bangor caused quite a stir in the community. Some residents sold properties for what they considered an inflated rate, only to watch their neighbors hold on for another year or two and become wealthy overnite. Familiar landmarks began to disappear, and family properties were sold. New schools were built and bulldozers made room for housing developments. Silverdale and the surrounding area began an exciting transition. Just as exciting, perhaps, as when the Swedish immigrant stepped ashore from a rowboat and admired the beautiful yet rugged wilderness in the 1890's, knowing that this was a very special place (Courtesy of the Kitsap County Historical Society).