On Tuesday Aug 5 when my brother, nephew Danny, and I went kayaking in Gig Harbor we first headed south to the spit. The spit is at the entrance to the harbor. We actually went onto the spit; for the public by water is the only way to be on the spit. There is a road around the east side of Gig Harbor, however, by land it is private property before the spit so public can’t go on spit that way. There are two beach houses next to the spit. The people living there come out in the summer, and the weekends. Until the 1940s and 1950s most people living in East Gig Harbor spent only the summer, and weekends which included our grandparents. My dad grew up in Tacoma, and spent most of the summer in East Gig Harbor. He and his brother spent a lot of time on the water in their sailboats. Until the Tacoma Narrows Bridge was built they came into Gig Harbor by ferry.
We only spent a few minutes on the spit, and my brother explained how Gig Harbor got its name. For you do not know when Gig Harbor was discovered by the Wilkes Expedition they had a large ship, and the entrance at the spit is narrow, and shallow so the ship could not enter. Instead they had smaller boats they rowed into the harbor in, and they were called gigs.
After spending the time on the spit we rowed back north on the east side of Gig Harbor so Danny could see a closer look of the house my brother and I grew up in. It is about half way into the harbor. The house was originally a cabin when the family moved in. My grandparents retired to Gig Harbor fulltime, however, our dad decided to move the family in as well because of the health of his parents. This actually happened before I and my brother were born. Our dad designed, and built onto the cabin an upstairs, and downstairs to make the full house. Our grandparents lived in the downstairs while we lived upstairs, however, my grandmother died when I was a year old so I only remember my grandfather living with us. There are only some things I remember about him he died when I was nine. His part of the downstairs had a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and a living room. After he died we used it as a recreation area with a pool table, and a ping pong table. When all of us kids grew up our parents rented out that area. Also, there were two additional bedrooms adjacent to the apartment.
Our house and about a half dozen other houses on East Gig Harbor are still there from when we were growing up. The current owner of our house has kept the outside looking the same except added a deck looking out toward the harbor on the upper side of the house. Other than the half dozen houses, and ours the others have been replaced along with adding many more houses. They are all very large houses. I don’t see where any more homes can be added, however, if there is a way I am sure it will happen. East Gig Harbor is zoned for residential only so there are no commercial businesses. Also, to shop must go into Gig Harbor.
We finished by rowing back across to the downtown of Gig Harbor. The waterfront of Gig Harbor is mainly made up businesses, and marinas. There are a few homes on the waterfront; however, they can only be seen from East Gig Harbor.