WEST SIDE IMPROVEMENT CLUB STARTED DECEMBER 28, 1932
OR WRITE TO US:
The following is a brief history of the West Side Improvement Club which has been taken mostly from the early records of the club, newspaper articles, and input from its members.
The date was December 28, 1932, and the place was the Navy Yard City School. A caring and dedicated group of people met, and what was later to become the West Side Improvement Club was born. These seventeen individuals from the community patterned the club after the other improvement clubs in existence at the time. Acting in an advisory capacity at the time were members from the East Bremerton Improvement Club and the Greater Bremerton Improvement Club. The Club's interests coined the motto “ A BIGGER AND BETTER NEIGHBORHOOD”.
The problems to come before the club were much the same as they are today; Roads, Water, Sewers, Lights, Schools, and Parks, those things that make a community a desirable place in which to live.
The club originally met at the Navy Yard City School and the Bremerton Booster Club. In May of 1933, a special meeting was held to negotiate the purchase of 20 lots for the purpose of building a clubhouse. The project was started later that year with assistance from the county providing equipment to help level and grade the building site. During this time the club activities included clearing roadbeds into the community, getting water and sewer improvements to the Navy Yard City area. The building was all-volunteer by club members with numerous work parties and fundraising events.
The clubhouse was near 60 percent complete in early 1937 when assistance was received from the “Works Progress Administration” (WPA) to provide labor to make the finishing work to complete the clubhouse and accomplish a playfield project on the grounds. Other projects accomplished during this period included the Silverdale community house (current Scout hall) and the installation of concrete for Cline Street in Port Orchard going to the courthouse.
The clubhouse was dedicated Friday, June 25, 1937, and stands today as a shining example of the determination of the original 17 members with a can-do attitude.
WSIC & World War II
The clubhouse was temporarily vacated by its members following the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The clubhouse became the regimental headquarters for the Armies 202nd Coast Artillery. Searchlight and gun batteries sprouted up everywhere along with barrage balloons at strategic locations to protect the numerous Navy installations in the county.
Through the years numerous projects have been undertaken to improve the neighborhood and provide assistance to charitable associations as funds allowed. Several improvements to the clubhouse were accomplished over the years, installation of a hardwood dance floor, building two meeting rooms to the building to reduce traffic on the hardwood floors, and the addition of increased storage modernization of the kitchen and restrooms for handicap accessible.
Timeline - The Start
On December 28, 1932, at the Navy Yard City School, the first meeting of the West Side Improvement Club was held. The following is taken from the book presented to the club by the son of the first Secretary of the club Wm. J. Mitchell.
The Organization of the West Side Improvement Club was started by the following members. Mr. & Mrs. Crawford, Mr. & Mrs. Fuller, Mr. & Mrs. McCarty, Mr. Richmaond, Mitchell, Hurd, Emery, Cristen, O’Brien, Greenwood, Schulthies, Farrell, Madden, Young, and Mr. Force.
The following officer was elected; Mr. O. H. Force, President; Mr. Clay Madden, Vice President; Wm. J. Mitchell, Secretary, Russell Schulthies, Treasurer. Acting in an advisory capacity were Earl Harkins, Floyd Solid, and Roy Ellis of the East Bremerton Improvement Club. Otto Schulthies and G. F. Walker of the Greater Bremerton Improvement Club.
Meetings of the West Side Improvement Club were held in the Olympic Booster Club Hall for a rate of $1.50 per month.
During the first year of operation, the club worked on local road improvements, improving water pressure to the area and reducing the water rates charged for the area. Projects included making street signs for the area and installing them.
March 6, 1933, a talk was given by L. C. Solid of the East Bremerton Improvement Club, this club operating for the last 3 years.