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Captain Meg’s bed-and-breakfast was a welcome harbor | MEANDERLINE

The historic Clara and E. L. Franks House (1913) – Captain’s House B&B, 1991. - Photo courtesy of G. Elfendahl
The historic Clara and E. L. Franks House (1913) – Captain’s House B&B, 1991.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of G. Elfendahl

In the golden days of the Bainbridge Review, whose banner proclaimed “The only newspaper that cares about Bainbridge Island,” editors Milly and Walt Woodward honored citizens who contributed greatly to the good of the community with membership into the Island’s highly-esteemed “Royal Order of the Clam.”

On one of those bright days, Margaret “Meg” Hagemann and her husband, Ed, moved back to the Pacific Northwest and to Bainbridge Island full of U.C. Berkeley academic wisdom and idealism. They were married and liveaboards on a small sailboat on San Francisco Bay during college.

They hit Island beaches, strawberry fields, and, in Ed’s case, commuter boats running.

They planted early shoreside roots on one of Port Madison’s backwaters with two bright and athletic sons. You’ve likely ridden ferries designed by Meg’s renowned naval architect husband. A few might have chased his wakes in one of the “Great Cross Sound Rows.”

Most don’t know that Ed was in constant radio contact with the wheelhouse of the ferry Walla Walla when it went aground in morning fog on Wing Point in 1982. He stood by computers to make “abandon ship” calls as necessary as the ferry was precariously close to capsizing in the channel during the extreme low tide that followed the grounding. Luckily the tilting stopped.

Meg’s focus has always been on health, healing, horticulture and history.

She established health, medical, dental and childrens’ day care programs for our summer Canadian migrant strawberry pickers. She helped establish some of our first year-round day care centers. Her energy and compassion gained her expressions of gratitude at Cowichan winter longhouse ceremonies on Vancouver Island. A productive career of many years with Kitsap County Health Department followed. And it is no wonder that our gracious greeter of seasonal workers would also become our gracious greeter of year-round cultural tourists from all over the world.

With their nautical backgrounds, Ed and Meg dove at the chance to buy the Winslow home overlooking Eagle Harbor of Mr. and Mrs. Ebenezer and Clara  Franks. Franks was Chief Engineer, co-founder and “Captain” of Eagle Harbor Transportation Co.

Beginning on July 4, 1903, Franks and his team provided Eagle Harbor its “first scheduled daily passenger and freight service to Seattle” with the steamboat, Florence K, and later with the steel-hulled Bainbridge.

When car ferries replaced passenger steamers, Chief Franks came ashore to become a legendary 1940s and ’50s Winslow ferry dockmaster. He greeted all.

When Ed and Meg divorced and she found herself in the large historic home with two sons on their way out of the nest, her friends including Ron Konzak urged her to open a bed and breakfast. “The Captains House” B&B  blossomed!

Meg celebrated and embraced preservation of the home with its porch and chimney of local stone, its signature dormer and quaint guest rooms. Konzak recreated its white picket fence and enlarged the kitchen where Meg treated visitors to breakfast.

She and arborist Olaf Ribeiro rejoiced in the home’s 130-year-old walnut tree planted in the 1880s when the land was a part of the homestead of Eagle Harbor pioneers Ambrose and Amanda Grow. The Grow’s home across the street had become the Harbour Public House.

Meg’s lilac hedge, largest on the Island, is now in bloom. It adds intoxicating fragrance to those passing 234 Parfitt Way SW.

And in a floral frenzy of color to make Monet sigh, Meg planted lush gardens, walkways and a rose-covered arched “moongate.” The B&B soon filled with comfortable furnishings, maritime flotsam and jetsam, stories and guests.

Since the Captain’s House opened on Feb. 1, 1980, and until it closed on New Year’s Eve 2010, Meg has been a perfect host letting folks share a special part of our lore. Health challenges closed the ornate B&B doors, but not Meg’s love of the historic home and its guests.

And so for her many years of honoring and helping Island visitors, including 30 years of welcoming the world into her home, heart and our history, let’s sing “well done” and resurrect Milly and Walt’s esteemed “Royal Order of the Clam” membership for Margaret Hagemann.

Three cheers, “Captain Meg!”

Editor’s note: The Island’s Historic Preservation Commission at their annual Celebration and Awards event May 19  presented Meg Hagemann with a special Certificate of Appreciation for 30 years of welcoming folks into her home, heart and our history.

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