Island is the setting of the latest Images of America book

Bainbridge Island is the latest  community to be featured in the “Images of America” series, which showcases the visual histories of  notable locations.  - Courtesy of Arcadia Publishing
Bainbridge Island is the latest community to be featured in the “Images of America” series, which showcases the visual histories of notable locations.
— image credit: Courtesy of Arcadia Publishing

It’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Imagine what nearly 200 photographs could say.

Bainbridge Island is the most recent setting for the “Images of America” series, which features photographic histories of notable national locales.

Page by page, the book tells the history of Bainbridge Island as captured through various camera lenses over its storied history. It explores industries such as ship building, logging, canning and fishing, to once prominent Japanese towns that dotted the harbors. There are champion high school sports teams, forgotten farms and much more.

“The finished product, I believe, is a good one,” said author Donald R. Tjossem. “There are a few surprises and even new information for someone who has lived on the island all their life, as well as some never-before-published images in the book.”

The book ultimately tells the story of a Bainbridge Island that has faded into history, but laid the foundation for its modern community. A Bainbridge with miles of sandy beaches, farms that stretch across its hills, and communities that built their own small towns long before the entire island was incorporated into one city.

Tjossem, 72, took on the project for Arcadia Publishing. His only previous experience on Bainbridge Island was driving along Highway 305 to take the ferry.

But as he put the book together, he began to discover the wealth of community and history on the island.

“What I discovered in the research for this book was the amazing historical and cultural diversity of Bainbridge Island that had never been apparent to me while basically just ‘passing through,’” he said.

Tjossem is a local history enthusiast, acts as docent of the Naval Undersea Museum in Keyport, and is a member of the Harbor History Museum, the Washington State Historical Society and the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum.

The island’s historical museum shares a byline with Tjossem. The photographs included in the book are chiefly sourced from the museum’s archives.

“When I first set about to do this project the first stop was the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum,” Tjossem said.

Tjossem found museum officials rather eager to help, such as director Henry Helm, curator Rick Chandler, outreach coordinator Katy Curtis, and administrative coordinator Dan Groff. They helped the author pore over more than 6,000 images in the museum’s archives.

Bainbridge Island’s edition is one of six books showcasing Washington state’s history, including “Legendary Locals of the Long Beach Peninsula,” “Bridges of Spokane,” “Mercer Island,” “Early Monroe” and “Seattle’s Music Venues.”

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