An archival collection
June 9, 2008 · Updated 8:56 PM
When Lee Makovich was 10 years old, his father gave him a handful of historical maritime photographs and told him to take care of them.
Makovich honored his fathers wish so well, that he built a 3,000 photograph collection around that original gift.
Then, about 10 years ago, I began to write about the pictures, Makovich said, and that started my interest in writing.
Makovich, who opens this years Bainbridge History lecture series Jan. 20 with a lecture on Port Blakely shipbuilder Captain John C. Johnson, remembers the astonishment he felt when his first article was accepted for publication.
I about fell off the stool, he said, I thought I was writing basically for my own pleasure. My dad would have been proud.
Makovichs father was a pioneer in Seattles fishing industry and head of the countrys largest salmon cannery. The man Makovich discusses in his lecture was a contemporary of his father, with a maritime career to match.
Johnson was a Finnish immigrant who settled on Bainbridge and, after buying the Carlson shipyard on the island, became famous for the fine craftsmanship of the vessels built there between 1918 and 1928.
At least one of his vessels, the Berle E., still plies Puget Sound.
Eventually, he merged his business with Seattles McAteer Shipbuilding Company to become one of Puget Sounds leading ship building and repair facilities.
Since his first success as a maritime author, Makovich has placed more than 275 articles in publications like Fishermans News magazine and The Peninsula Gateway newspaper.
I thought I was retired, but Im so busy Ive never been so busy, Makovich said.
Makovich doesnt mind the pace, he says, because he believes his task is an important one.
If I dont do what Im doing, that history will be lost, he said. I really regret I didnt start doing this 40 years ago, because a lot of those oldtimers are gone.
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Author and historian Lee Makovich speaks on maritime giant John C. Johnson and the fishing industry to inaugurate this years Bainbridge History lecture series, 4 p.m. Jan. 20 at Island Center Hall.
The program is free to members of the Bainbridge Island Historical Society.
Tickets are $5/adult for non-members, and $2/under 18. Call 842-2773 for more information.