History of the Land at Pritchard Park

The town of Creosote

In 1904, the Perfection Pile Preserving Co. began use of land on Bill Point for a wood treatment plant. The company used creosote, an oily liquid, to pressurize and preserve wood. As ownership of the site changed hands several times, the town of Creosote grew up around the plant. The plant and the town continued to grow through much of the 20th century. The plant, eventually known as the Wyckoff Creosote Plant, finally closed its doors in 1988 after decades of increased environmental awareness of the pollutants in the treatment process. For a more in-depth history of the town of Creosote and the wood preservation facilities there, click here.

Superfund Cleanup

The environmental movement that began in the 1960s spurred the American public to become more worried about polluting the air and water, involving many citizen activists in cleanup efforts. Reports of waste from the treatment facilities on Bill Point being dumped into Eagle Harbor were filed as early as the 1970s, but by the mid-1980s Bainbridge Island citizens became concerned enough to begin to speak out. The Kitsap Health District banned fishing in Eagle Harbor in 1984 and community awareness grew. In September 1985, a petition was filed to register the Wyckoff/Eagle Harbor Superfund site on the National Priorities List. Finally, in 1987, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted the petition. The EPA began cleanup of the site at that time, though the cleanup is still far from complete. For a more in-depth history of the Superfund Cleanup and continuing efforts by the Bainbridge Island community, click here.

Pritchard Park

In 1995, after inquiries about the future of the Superfund site, the mayor of the City of Bainbridge Island called for a committee to investigate potential uses for the area. The committee recommended, among other things, that 11 acres of the total 50 acres be set aside for a park. These plans were put on hold as the EPA continued to clean up the site until the year 2000, when a new Wyckoff Advisory Committee was formed to advise the city on the future of the site. It proposed in 2001 that the entire property should be publicly owned, and a citizen committee was formed to raise money to purchase the entire 50-acre parcel. In 2003, the City of Bainbridge Island began the process of purchasing 49.5 acres of land for $8 million. In 2006, the sale was completed and Pritchard Park became a reality. For a more in-depth history of Pritchard Park’s creation, click here.

Japanese-American Internment Memorial

In 1942, the first group of Japanese and Japanese-Americans to be interned under United States Executive Order #9066 was brought to what is now Pritchard Park and forced into boats that would carry them away from their home on Bainbridge Island. In 1998, the Bainbridge Island Japanese-American Council (BIJAC) partnered with the Bainbridge Island/North Kitsap Interfaith Council to create a memorial to the Bainbridge Island citizens who were interned during World War II. The memorial at Pritchard Park will serve as a reminder to “let it not happen again” - the message of BIJAC and internment education programs on Bainbridge Island. To learn more about this memorial and its construction, click here

If you’re looking for a comprehensive history of Pritchard Park and the land around it, click here.

From its beginnings as a wood treatment facility to its current status as a community park and memorial site, the land at Pritchard Park is rich in history. The links on this page discuss the background of Pritchard Park, the Superfund cleanup efforts, and the story behind Japanese-American Internment Memorial.

Retorts used in the wood preservation process, in the early 1900’s. A portion of one of these retorts stands outside the Bainbridge Historical Museum.