Port History


1911 PortThe beautiful landscape around the current day port district and Poulsbo community was exposed to the last glacial retreat about 12,000 years ago. Poulsbo is in the heartland of the Suquamish People, who have lived in Puget Sound for thousands of years. Suquamish ancestors occupied villages and camps on the Liberty Bay shoreline over the past 5,000 years. Suquamish elders recall eight place names within Poulsbo that attest to clamming, fishing, hunting, and religious activities, including a reference to an important spiritual place in the Poulsbo Marina vicinity. Suquamish People provided early Euro-American settlers fish and other food, as well as introduced them to the rich maritime bounty of fish and shellfish in Liberty Bay, including processing dogfish for oil. Suquamish tribal members worked as fishermen and loggers in early commercial enterprises and contributed to the economic development of the region.

Immigrants with a strong Norwegian influence first moved into the area in the later1800’s and logging was the predominant early industry. Production of oil from processing local sand sharks or “dog fish”, gave us the unlovely name of Dogfish Bay. Travel on the bay, to Port Madison and Seattle, was largely by rowboat. Routine steamer service started in 1885 and the first town wharf was built in 1894. The early 1900’s saw the start of Poulsbo’s commercial fishing heritage, a cod processing plant, and the unofficial but permanent adoption of the name Liberty Bay. The town continued to grow, with the bay home to oyster harvesting, commercial fishing boats, ferries and the “mosquito fleet” providing transport to Seattle and other ports.

The district of the Port of Poulsbo was formed in 1951. Since then, the marina has grown to include 7 main docks with 253 permanent slips, 130 transient slips and 15 boathouses. Marina features include: water and power utilities; a seaplane base; kayak and canoe rentals; “tour boat” moorage; diesel and gasoline fuel facility; sanitation pump outs; laundry, restroom and shower facilities; launch ramp; and dedicated parking spaces. The port additionally owns an offsite parking lot on Jensen Way, complete with electric vehicle charging stations.