Port Orchard Real Estate Information

History: Port Orchard’s identity is anchored in its connections to the past. Originally a booming lumber town called Sidney, Port Orchard became Kitsap County’s first incorporated city in 1890. It wooed the county seat away from Port Madison on Bainbridge Island in 1893 and remains the center of county government. Early settlers pushed to have Sinclair Inlet named the site of a new naval shipyard and succeeded, only to find the shipyard placed across the water at what became Bremerton. They also succeeded in convincing the state to build a veteran’s home just up the bay at Retsil. The early development of Port Orchard was based on the timber industry and a large pottery and terra cotta plant located at the foot of what is now known as Pottery Hill.

Main Attractions: Waterfront Park, Saturday’s Farmers Market, antique malls, marina, Elandan Gardens. Strolling along downtown’s Bay Street is a little like stepping back in time. The Plaza Barbershop, with its candy-striped pole, has been a landmark since 1915. At Myhre’s Café, where the regulars linger over pie and coffee, you can still get an old-fashioned milk shake, and the menus show photos of the town in its younger years.

Then there are all those antiques. Port Orchard was quick to cash in on people’s hunger for anything ‘collectible’, from fine china to Flexible Flyers. In the mid-80’s, businesswoman Geri Bruckart launched a plan to infuse new life into the downtown area. Instead of competing with the mega-malls, she opened the Olde Central Antique Mall. Other merchants followed suite, and a downtown theme was born. Craft shops, gift shops, and several fine art galleries have joined the mix to create a destination enjoyed by residents and tourists alike.

Downstairs restaurants offer a variety of cuisines, including seafood and ethnic dishes. A new waterfront motel, part of the Holiday Inn chain, opened in 1995.

Many visitors first view Port Orchard from the water. Its large public marina draws boats from as far away as British Columbia and Alaska, and hosts a large reunion of Chris Craft owners every year. The passenger-only ferry from Port Orchard to the Bremerton waterfront gives tourist and commuters an important transportation link to Seattle via the Washington State Ferry. Port Orchard is connected by a sense of community. Tourists and locals mingle at annual festivals such as Fath-O’-Fun, a weeklong Independence Day bash, and The Cruz, in celebration of vintage cars. The town takes pride in its well-utilized parks, such as the South Kitsap Community Park, where kids can ride miniature steam trains. The Givens Community Center offers many opportunities for recreation and learning.