a view of Mt Ranier from Gig Harbor (Photo by Abigail Lynn.Unsplash.com)


Gig Harbor, Washington has a rich history dating back over 5,000 years, when the area was inhabited by Native American tribes such as the Puyallup and Salish. These tribes were sustained by the abundant natural resources of the Puget Sound, including salmon, shellfish, and wildlife.

In the late 1800s, settlers from Europe and the eastern United States began to arrive in the Gig Harbor area, drawn by the opportunities for fishing, logging, and farming. The first permanent settlement was established in 1867 by Croatian fisherman Samuel Jerisich, who established a fishing camp on the shore of Gig Harbor.

As the town grew, it became a center of commerce and industry, with fishing, lumber, and boat building becoming major industries. Gig Harbor's protected harbor and deep water made it an ideal location for shipbuilding, and many boats were built in the town's shipyards, including famous wooden boats such as the El Primero, which was built in 1893 and is now a museum.

During World War II, Gig Harbor became a hub of military activity, with the construction of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and the establishment of a naval shipyard in nearby Bremerton. After the war, the town continued to grow and modernize, with the development of new neighborhoods, businesses, and tourist attractions.

Today, Gig Harbor is a thriving community with a rich history and a strong connection to its maritime heritage. The town's historic waterfront is a popular tourist destination, with its shops, galleries, and restaurants offering visitors a taste of the area's unique culture and history.

This article was updated on April 2, 2023

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