BAINBRIDGE ISLAND HISTORICAL MUSEUM
The Bainbridge Island Historical Museum, located in downtown Winslow, is a great place to get acquainted with the island’s intriguing past. Much of the island’s history is at your fingertips at the museum, from Captain Vancouver’s discovery of Bainbridge to the building of tall ships, to the significance of Battle Point Park to both the native Suquamish tribe and during World War II.
JAPANESE AMERICAN EXCLUSION MEMORIAL
Designated a satellite of the Minidoka Interment National Monument in Idaho, the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial commemorates the interment of Bainbridge Island’s Japanese American population – 227 men, women, and children – who were the first in the nation to be evacuated and incarcerated for the duration of the war. The memorial honors those who suffered this injustice and the friends and neighbors who stood beside them and welcomed them back.
FORT WARD PARK
A former military base created during World War I, Fort Ward Park still features remnants of its military past. Located on an abandoned access road (now a paved walkway), this state-turned-local park has several gun batteries – two of which are right along the main walkway. These batteries were used to guard Rich Passage, which also was home to a minefield during the height of the war. The third battery lies hidden away along a trail in the upper woods, but is a popular spot for selfies and features some creative graffiti both inside and out. During WWII, Fort Ward was the location of a code-breaking school, a listening antenna and possibly a radio station that may have been used to intercept messages from the Pacific Fleet.
BATTLE POINT PARK
This beloved local park was originally named for a conflict that took place at a nearby point in 1840 – one between the native Suquamish tribe and the northern tribe of the Haida. While the Suquamish were not expecting an attack from their neighbors to the north, a warning from the trading post along Rich Passage allowed the Suquamish to prepare for the invasion and successfully push them back.
Later, during WWII, the 83-acre land that would become Battle Point Park was the sister site of Ford Ward’s code-breaking school, which was a crucial partner in deciphering the Japanese military code that helped determine the outcome of the war. The message was sent on to Washington D.C. by the transmitter at the satellite site. The transmitter building and the original onsite command building are still standing and in use today as an observatory and gymnastics facility, respectively.