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Encyclopedia > Gig Harbor, Washington

Gig Harbor is a city in Pierce County, Washington, United States. The population was 6,465 at the 2000 census. Gig Harbor is known as the gateway to the Olympic Peninsula. Due to its close access to several state and city parks, and historic waterfront that includes boutiques and fine dining, it has become a popular tourist destination. Gig Harbor is located along Washington State Route 16, about six miles from its origin at Interstate 5, over the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. An $849 million project to add a second span to the bridge was recently completed. During off-peak traffic times, Tacoma can be reached in 20 minutes and Seattle in less than an hour. Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (960x435, 7 KB) Map of Gig Harbor, Washington within Pierce County, with county highlighted on Washington map. ... Pierce County is the second most populous county in the state of Washington. ... Official language(s) English Capital Olympia Largest city Seattle Area  Ranked 18th  - Total 71,342 sq mi (184,827 km²)  - Width 240 miles (385 km)  - Length 360 miles (580 km)  - % water 6. ... The Olympic Peninsula is the large arm of land in western Washington state that lies across Puget Sound from Seattle. ... Washington State Route 16 is a highway in the state of Washington, U.S.A. It extends just over 27 miles (43 km) from Tacoma in the southeast to Gorst in the northwest. ... Interstate 5 (abbreviated I-5) is the westernmost interstate highway in the continental United States. ... The Tacoma Narrows Bridge is a mile-long (1600 meter) suspension bridge with a main span of 2800 feet (850 m) (the third-largest in the world when it was first built[1]) that carries Washington State Route 16 across the Tacoma Narrows of Puget Sound from Tacoma to Gig...

Based on per capita income, Gig Harbor ranks 49th of 522 areas in the state of Washington to be ranked. This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...



Gig Harbor was named by Captain Charles Wilkes. During a heavy storm, the captain brought his gig (small boat) into the harbor for protection. Later, Captain Wilkes named the sheltered bay Gig Harbor. A Captains Gig is a boat used on naval ships as the Captains taxi. ...

1867 brought fisherman Samuel Jerisich to the Gig Harbor area, along with many other immigrants from Sweden, Norway, and Croatia.

Gig Harbor was officially incorporated on July 12, 1946. Commercial fishing, boat building, and logging dominated the economy until the construction of the first Tacoma Narrows Bridge in 1940. Until then, the primary method of transportation between Gig Harbor and the economic center of nearby Tacoma was by steamship. Starting in 1836 steamships started plying the waters of Puget Sound and quickly developed into what was eventually dubbed "The Mosquito Fleet". Gig Harbor, isolated from Tacoma and Seattle by Puget Sound and the Tacoma Narrows, could not be reached by automobile or horseback except via a very long and arduous trip south around Puget Sound and Hammersly Inlet. Unfortunately, the boom was to be short lived as the first bridge collapsed just months after it was completed. The resource demands of World War II prevented another bridge from being built until 1950. Between the time when the first bridge collapsed and when the second bridge was completed, a state run ferry service delivered drivers directly into downtown Gig Harbor. Remains of the ferry dock can still be seen just outside the mouth of the harbor at the Southeast end of Harborview Dr. The area has been turned into a small park where the public can see a panoramic view of the Cascade Mountains, Pt. Defiance, and Mt. Rainier. After the completion of the replacement bridge in 1950, Gig Harbor and the surrounding area quickly began to develop as a suburb of neighboring Tacoma. First the area saw substantial residential development as families retreated from Tacoma in favor of the tree-lined neighborhoods and waterfront lots available on the Gig Harbor Peninsula. What had once been summer cabins became primary residences for people who commuted daily over the bridge to Tacoma. Medium sized housing development sprang up across the peninsula. The 1980's and 1990's saw substantial retail development near State Route 16 to service the growing residential population, shifting the economic center of Gig Harbor out of downtown. For some time, city leaders were unsure how to handle the growth while maintaining the character of the city. Fortunately, little new development happened in the historic downtown area, preserving its history and charm. Eventually the community began actively promoting the downtown area for its historic value and tourism was added to the list of economic engines in Gig Harbor. Today, downtown Gig Harbor is a very active place with shopping, dining, and recreation on every block. The last large swath of undeveloped waterfront property at the South end of downtown was recently developed into the headquarters of the Russel Foundation, named for George Russel, founder of Russel Financial.

Today, very little boat building is done in Gig Harbor. The only manufacturer of boats in Gig Harbor is Gig Harbor Boatworks, which builds rowing and sailing dinghies in classic style using modern materials. Until recently, Tiderunner Boats maintained a manufacturing facility at the North end of the bay. The historic Skansie boatyard is now primarily a maintenance facility for yachts and pleasure craft. The Glein/Eddon/Gig Harbor boatyard was recently purchased by the city after spending many years sitting idle. The city intends to use it as a working waterfront museum.

Commercial fishing is still of great cultural, if somewhat lesser economic, importance to Gig Harbor, and many commercial fishing boats make Gig Harbor their home port. Most, however, do not rely on Puget Sound to gather their catch, rather, finding it more profitable to venture north to Alaska to fish in the Summer. Gig Harbor's fishing fleet still gathers the first weekend in June (during the Maritime Gig Festival) in the center of the bay for the annual Blessing of the Fleet ceremony. In recent years, due to the dwindling number of remaining fishing boats, pleasure craft have been allowed to participate in the ceremony, somewhat lessening its authenticity, but increasing it's visibility and participation.

A new Tacoma Narrows Bridge has been built alongside the existing bridge and opened July 2007, doubling past capacity. With it will come new economic challenges and benefits for the city of Gig Harbor and the surrounding community.


There are a number of attractions for locals and tourists alike to enjoy in Gig Harbor.

As the first destination on the Kitsap Peninsula after crossing the Narrows Bridge, this quaint Maritime Village is a favorite destination for people all over the world. This is a city that has preserved its history but also has many events that make this a vibrant community with incredible scenery, galleries, upscale shops, restaurants, beautiful gardens and many recreational activities.

A popular restaurant in Gig Harbor is The Tides Tavern. Located at the South end of downtown on Harborview Drive, this tavern has been around for decades. It stands on pilings built over the waters of Gig Harbor Bay and provides outdoor, as well as indoor seating for patrons. Enjoying a meal on the waterside deck is a great opportunity to watch boats enter and leave the harbor. On summer days, there is a non-stop parade of boats passing in front of the deck. The Tides Tavern also has its own private (but for public use) dock so that patrons may arrive by boat. In the summer, many boats will spend their entire day tied alongside the dock while their owners socialize with other boaters and bar patrons.

Immediately adjacent to the Tides Tavern is the Russell Foundation Building; one of Gig Harbor's most aesthetically pleasing projects in recent years. The building is built mostly below street level, so from the street you can walk directly onto its garden like public roof space which provides views of the harbor and educates visitors about Gig Harbor's history.

A couple blocks north on Harborview Drive is Jerisich Park. This park, combined with the adjacent Skansie Brothers Park, is a large, open, waterfront space with grass, decks, benches, and a covered Pavilion for community events. It is also home to the Fisherman Memorial, one of Gig Harbor's popular landmarks. This large bronze statue, which depicts a fisherman hauling in his catch, was commissioned in memory of Gig Harbor's fishermen, with special gratitude to those who lost their lives at sea. The parks often play host to fairs and events ranging from the annual Holiday tree lighting ceremony and Blessing of the Fleet, to musical concerts and art festivals. There is also a public use moorage dock where boaters can stay, free of charge, for a limited time.

At the mouth of the harbor a short sand spit is open to the public and is the site of a red navigational hazard light built into a miniature lighthouse model constructed to resemble the quaint lighthouses of yore. The beach is public, but access is difficult and parking is limited.

Gig Harbor City Park (aka Crescent Creek Park) offers a variety of activities, and is especially geared toward larger groups and families. A children's play area features modern equipment to climb and play on, as well as swings for infants. The park also offers a baseball diamond in the upper area of the park, a basketball court and tennis courts. GH City Park is adjacent to a stream as well and has teaching plaques on stream conservation. A field in the lower part of the park offers picnic benches and recreational area for informal games and sports. There is a large wooden picnic shelter with fresh water and wood stoves. The park is popular in the summer for family reunions, picnics, and group gatherings.

The City of Gig Harbor has numerous hotels and inns as well as bed and breakfasts. There are two moderate sized hotels in Gig Harbor. The INN at Gig Harbor, features 64 rooms, a full service restaurant, and over 4,000 square feet of meeting space. The Best Western Wesley Inn offers just over 70 rooms, with over 4,000 square feet of meeting space. The Maritime Inn is located on Harborview Drive in downtown Gig Harbor and The Waterfront Inn is also on Gig Harbor Bay.


Entering Gig Harbor
See also: Raft Island and Puget Sound

Gig Harbor is located at 47°19′37″N, 122°35′11″W (47.327032, -122.586426)GR1. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (3264x2448, 3295 KB) This is a picture of the entrance to Gig Harbor. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (3264x2448, 3295 KB) This is a picture of the entrance to Gig Harbor. ... Raft Island is a private island near the city of Gig Harbor, Washington, USA. There are approximately 200 homes on the island. ... Puget Sound For the university in this region, see University of Puget Sound. ...

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 11.3 km² (4.4 mi²), all land. The United States Census Bureau (officially Bureau of the Census as defined in Title ) is a part of the United States Department of Commerce. ... A square metre (US spelling: square meter) is by definition the area enclosed by a square with sides each 1 metre long. ... A square mile is an English unit of area equal to that of a square with sides each 1 statute mile (≈1,609 m) in length. ...


The Peninsula School District is the district covering the city of Gig Harbor and the Peninsula. The Peninsula School District is the main school district for the city of Gig Harbor, WA and the unincorporated areas around Gig Harbor and the Key Peninsula. ...

High Schools
Gig Harbor High School
Peninsula High School
Henderson Bay Alternative High School Gig Harbor High School is a public high school in the Peninsula School District located in Gig Harbor, Washington. ... Peninsula High School is a public high school located in Purdy, directly north of the city limits of Gig Harbor, Washington. ...

Middle Schools
Goodman Middle School
Kopachuck Middle School
Key Peninsula Middle School
Harbor Ridge Middle School

Elementary Schools
Artondale Elementary School
Discovery Elementary School
Evergreen Elementary School
Harbor Heights Elementary School
Minter Creek Elementary School
Purdy Elementary School
Vaughn Elementary School
Voyager Elementary School


As of the census of 2000, there are 6,465 people, 2,880 households, and 1,765 families residing in the city. The population density is 573.8/km² (1,485.2/mi²). There are 3,085 housing units at an average density of 273.8/km² (708.7/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 94.17% White, 1.11% African American, 0.63% Native American, 1.53% Asian, 0.22% Pacific Islander, 0.54% from other races, and 1.79% from two or more races. 3.03% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race. 1870 US Census for New York City A census is the process of obtaining information about every member of a population (not necessarily a human population). ... Year 2000 (MM) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full 2000 Gregorian calendar). ... An African American (also Afro-American, Black American, or simply black) is a member of an ethnic group in the United States whose ancestors, usually in predominant part, were indigenous to Africa. ... Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples from the regions of North America now encompassed by the continental United States, including parts of Alaska. ... World map showing the location of Asia. ... Hispanic flag, not widely used. ... // The term Latino is a linguistic identity that refers to an individual that has significant ancestry from a nation-state where a Latin derived language is spoken or is the offical language of the government. ...

There are 2,880 households out of which 25.1% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.0% are married couples living together, 9.0% have a female householder with no husband present, and 38.7% are non-families. 33.2% of all households are made up of individuals and 16.4% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.16 and the average family size is 2.75.

In the city the population is spread out with 20.3% under the age of 18, 7.1% from 18 to 24, 23.5% from 25 to 44, 25.7% from 45 to 64, and 23.4% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 45 years. For every 100 females there are 83.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 78.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $43,456, and the median income for a family is $57,587. Males have a median income of $46,250 versus $28,487 for females. The per capita income for the city is $28,318. 5.9% of the population and 3.5% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 7.8% are under the age of 18 and 4.1% are 65 or older.


At the state level, Gig Harbor is part of the 26th Legislative District - which runs from the Tacoma Narrows in the south to Bremerton in the north. It is representated in the Washington State Legislature by Senator Derek Kilmer (D - Gig Harbor), Representative Pat Lantz (D - Raft Island) and Representative Larry Seaquist (D - Gig Harbor).

At the congressional level, Gig Harbor is part of Washington's 6th Congressional District. It is represented by Congressman Norm Dicks and Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell.

Sister city

Gig Harbor has the following sister city relationship, according to [1] Sign denoting twin towns of Neckarsulm, Germany Town twinning is a concept whereby towns or cities in geographically and politically distinct areas are paired with the goal of fostering human contact and cultural links. ...

Image File history File links Flag_of_Russia. ... Sakhalin (Russian: Сахалин), also Saghalien, 库页岛 (Ku Ye Dao, Chinese), or Karafuto (Japanese: 樺太) is a large elongated island in the North Pacific, lying between 45° 50 and 54° 24 N, in East Siberia, Russia. ...

Movies and entertainment

Several movies have been filmed in the town, including Enough with Jennifer Lopez, and possibly the upcoming movie Land of No Return. For other uses, see Enough (disambiguation). ... For the meteorologist of The Weather Channel, see The Weather Channel (United States). ...

Actor Josh Lucas graduated from Gig Harbor High School Lucas on board Naval Air Station North Island July 17, 2005 Josh Lucas (born Joshua Lucas Easy Dent Maurer[1] on 20 June 1971) is an American actor. ... Gig Harbor High School is a public high school in the Peninsula School District located in Gig Harbor, Washington. ...

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Gig Harbor, Washington - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (896 words)
Gig Harbor is generally known as the "tourist" hub of Pierce County.
Gig Harbor was named by Captain Charles Wilkes.
Gig Harbor was officially incorporated on July 12, 1946.
  More results at FactBites »



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