The West Side Improvement Club History Quilt
Presented at the 50th Anniversary in 1982
This beautiful piece of Americana handcraft was done by thirteen ladies of the Bremerton Senior Center as a project for their quilting class. The wall hanging would depict projects the West Side Improvement Club has sponsored and funded through the years as well as historical buildings in the area. Many of the ladies were also members of the West Side Improvement Club and presented it at the 50th anniversary in 1982.
The quilts frame was built by Ron Gresley and has an acid free mounting uniquely designed because it is behind a 70 pound piece of glass that allows it to breath yet keep it clean.
The wall hanging consists of twenty three panels each with a story of its own.A book also was created containing information about each panel. Below you can see the panels in their positions and interact with them by moving your mouse over and hovering above each, which will result in a zoom and description. Clicking on a panel will result in a pop up with a full sized image and text.
Below the interactive wall hanging is a list containing the text created for each of the twenty three panels.
- Our bingo games started on Sept. 6, 1961 and the purpose was to raise money to support the
Club. At the beginning it was mandatory the workers be officers or board members and they
were not paid a wage for their services. Bingo is still going strong at the Club three nights a
week and is our main financial support along with the hall rentals.
- West Side Seniors started out by renting this church building in the middle of the block at
Madrona Street off National Avenue. In October 1983 the seniors moved in to the present
building, the old school house, on Charlotte Street.
This organization was officially formed June 27, 1933 and was a very active part of the Club. At
certain times there were as many as 30 active members. At the beginning the ladies would meet at
each others homes for teas and luncheons. For many years the members did a variety of projects
to raise money for the Club, one of which was day time bingo. Things were also made for sale
during the Christmas bazaars. Another auxiliary project was to keep a history of the Club and
they also took on the job to embroidery the signatures on the Club tablecloth as well as keeping
the kitchen supply inventory.
First President.............Mrs. Irene Gibbens
First Vice President........Mrs. Delia Kuney
First Secretary/Treasurer..Mrs. Wade Bristol
Over the last 70 years Club history shows that the auxiliary has been off and on in membership.
The last time the auxiliary disbanded was September 29, 1998.
- A two room school that originally was constructed at the present school sight in the fall of 1911
and spring of 1912 later would accommodate four grades. When the school first opened only one
room was completed for use as a school room with the second room being used as a cloak room
and play area at recess when it rained. Because of too few families grades started out going up
through seventh year. By 1914 there were eight classes. About 1918 a census was taken and it
determined there were enough children to open the other room for classes. The school situated
at the corner of National Avenue and Preble Street was heated by a pot-bellied stove and stoked
by the older boys in the school and Mr. Brown who lived near on Arsenal Way. When the pipes
froze a pair of students would be sent to fetch water from the small brick house at the corner of
"H" Street and National. The students would park on the bench behind the fireplace where the
teacher could see them while the kindly old gentleman would fill the water bucket. Class was
called to attention by a hand held bell that students took turns ringing. At first there was no flag
until a Civil War veteran brought one he had received and donated it to the school. After the flag
was received the school day would begin with a short prayer given by an older student, the flag
was saluted and one of the national songs was sung by the classes. Parents were responsible for
the cleaning of the building and maintenance of the grounds as well as putting on socials to raise
money for children's parties. Children from Navy Yard City, Bremerton Heights now the auto
center, Westpark ammunition Depot to the Depot gates attended the school. The old school
was moved to Charlotte and "G" Streets to make room for the new Navy Yard City School that
in turn gave way for the current West Hills Elementary. (Complied from notes of Grecia Britton)
- This garden club used the facility for many years for their meetings and shows. Many of the ladies
of the garden club also belonged to the West Side Imporovement Club. This garden club has
disbanded but the West Sound Garden Club still use our building for their meetings and shows.
- Maurers Pavilion or better known as Perl's has been in the area since June 1934. The original
building burnt down on June 25, 1959 and was rebuilt in 1961. Everyone knew about this
landmark with the wonderful dance bands and great dance floor. The 1938 Governors Ball
was held at Maurers Pavilion. (Information provided by Bertha Waskey)
- Youth groups the Club has sponsored.
- The John and Charlotte Bacon house on Bayview. Charlotte was the first lady President, 1953,
and her, and her husband were very active members in the community. This dwelling was taken
out when Highway 3 went through according to Elaine Gresley.
- Babe Ruth baseball has been sponsored by the Club for many years.
- According to Elaine Gresley this was the Messiah Lutheran Church on National and "J" Streets.
The building is now owned by the Fleet Reserve and has been added on to.
These are the ladies of the West Side Senior Center who made this quilt under the guidance of
Yma Dahlke and presented it to the Club on the 50th Anniversary. Many of the ladies were also
members of the Club*
Helen Bonar Betty Crouse
*Yma Dahlke *Lorena Gibson
*Elaine Gresley Julia Kerr
*Edna L. Marshall Billie J. Middleton
*Lorraine Puderbaugh Marcella Stillman
*Wanda Tracy *Bertha Waskey
- West Side Improvement Club
4109 "E" Street
Bremerton, Washington 98312
- Charter Members are from the first year the Club was established.
- The street lights were a joint project of the Club and Fire Department. When someone wanted
a street light it would be their responsibility to cover the monthly cost. The job of collecting
these fees was passed back and forth between the Club and Fire Department over the years. Of
course now this is one of the things our county tax dollars pays.
- The "Little White Church" started out as a little unfinished house on the corner of Charlotte and
"G" Streets. The unfinished building purchase price was $600 and payments started Feb. 1,1942
by those early members of the now Navy Yard City Bible Church. After the finishing of the
building and the painting of the outside it was suggested the name "The Little White Church" and
so it became, on Nov.1 1942 a lot on the SE corner of Charloote and "F" Streets was purchased
for the permanent location of the "Little White Church" building and in that same month the
basement was dug and a few months later the cement work was finished. In June the building
was moved to the lot and onto the new basement. As often happens the church grew so that by
1946 the building had become inadequate to properly care for the Sunday School. Classes were
being held in homes of the neighborhood and any programs the Sunday School wished to put on
were of necessity held in the West Side Improvement Club. Ground was broken for the new
church building on Easter Sunday 1949 and on Easter Sunday 1950 the doors were opened. The
Little White Church building was torn down to make room for excavation of the new building.
Now the name "Little White Church" no longer fitted so on March 6, 1950 the name Navy Yard
City Bible Church was adopted. (from "A Brief History of the Navy Yard City Bible Church 25th
- This building was first owned by Robby Robinson around 1948/50 and then Pat Vosian became
proprietor about 1953/54. Flo Swope, long time member of the Club and who the kitchen is
named after, remembers Pat's Chili Bowl very well because she use to stop in there for lunch
often. Pat use to walk across Arsenal from her house to Flo's Beauty Shop in the mornings in
her bathrobe to have her hair done before going to open the Chili Bowl. It was just a little hut on
National Avenue and "M" Street next to the gas station on National Avenue and Arsenal Way.
Pat Vosian served a nice variety of hot dishes, if my memory serves me right, it didn't even have
tables and chairs just a counter and stools. Pat had a sister-in-law Molly Vosian who was never
a member of the Club but was a devoted bingo player and the Club now has a side room named
The first store opened on the corner of Charlotte and "G" streets and was operated by Herman
Roan and later known as Baker's Store, operated by Mrs. Baker and her son.
The quilt square shows Johnston Bros. built in 1931 located on the SE corner of National
Avenue and "G" Street. The building was two story with a full sized basement. The main floor
was the store as well as kitchen and living room for the Earl W. Johnston family. The seond
floor had four bedrooms and bath. The basement was used for storage and garage for the family
car. The store handled canned goods, bread, milk, candy bars, etc. At one end of the store
portion there was a beer bar with booths and pinball machines. At the bar were hard boiled eggs,
jerky, pretzels, pickled pig's feet, German sausages, and potato chips for sale with free popcorn
for the beer patrons. There were also punch boards at the bar. Beer was $.10 a glass, $.50 per
half gallon and $1.00 per gallon. It was the first place to dispense beer after the law was changed
to permit the sale of beer. The front parking area had a gasoline pump which dispensed Signal
gasoline at the start, but later changed to Union 76 and motor oil. Free Jitney "taxi" service was
provided to and from the Naval Shipyard for the sailors and marines assigned there. The building
was dismantled board by board and the lumber, originally purchased from the old Pope and
Talbot Mill in Port Gamble, salvaged for a recycled home. (Information provided by a letter
from the eldest son, Clarence W. Johnston)
- Mt. Rainier, the USS Missouri, sunshine and rain along with all the beautiful water and greenery
that surround our area.
- Old fire hall on Charlotte Street next to the current Senior Center. This was a volunteer
operated station with women as well as men volunteering their time. The upper story of the
building was office and meeting room while the lower floor accommodated the two fire trucks.
- This was a project of West Side Improvement Club in conjunction with the State Highway
Department. The View Point Park was at the foot of McCall Boulevard and the Kitsap Freeway
and was dedicated March 28, 1976. It has since been rearranged with Highway 3 going in and
National becoming a dead end. It is still a park today. This beautiful view point overlooks
Sinclair Inlet and Navy Yard Highway. Dean Tracy, son of Wanda, designed the gazebo. Ralph
and Edna Marshall were the two primary Club members who spearheaded this project from start
(Club has additional information in a scrap book regarding the View Point Park)
- The Club provides and maintains a playground, tennis and basketball court on the Club grounds.
- Club facilities were used starting around Jan. 1942 after the Pearl Harbor attack as an impromptu
regimental headquarters for the 202nd Coast Artillery from El Paso, Texas. A searchlight battery
with regiment's guns along with about 50 barrage balloons that loomed perpetually overhead at
and altitude of 300 feet, gave Bremerton the look of a genuine war zone. The Club resumed
residence again in January 1944 but had to postpone the January meeting due to lack of heat in
- For many years a Club project was to put on a children's Christmas party.