3309 Harborview Drive
Gig Harbor, WA
- Ross Net Shed (Whittier Net Shed)
- HAER Number WA-186-L
- Present Owner: Pete Whittier, Gig Harbor Fishing Co., Gig Harbor
- Present Use: Residential use
Part I - Historical Information
Physical History of Buildings
- Date of Construction - 1925
- Architect / Engineer - Not known
- Original Plans - None known
Alterations & Additions
The Adam Ross net shed was remodeled.
Part II - Structural / Design Information
The net shed is approximately 2,820 square feet.
Part III - Operations & Processes
A purse seine is a large net hauled out by a smaller boat or “skiff” to form a large circle. Fishermen pull the bottom of the netting, “pursing” it closed to capture schools of fish. Once the net is pulled aboard by a “power block” or “reel”, the final length of net full of fish is either pulled on-board, or a smaller “brailing” net is used to scoop the catch and load it into the vessel’s hatch. A cannery boat or “tender” typically transfers the fish to the cannery. Historically, fishermen of Gig Harbor have used this method to catch salmon, sardine and herring.
In the 1930s and 1940s, while the Stanich net shed was in high use, fishermen tarred their cotton seine nets in order to hold their shape and keep them from rotting. The community had a large vat where the Millville Marina (HAER No. WA-186-G) is now, where they would soak the netting in the hot tar, then wring the net in rollers, to be stacked in the back of trucks and spread it out in a nearby field. As the nets dried, the crew would take the net strips and spread them apart to prevent the pieces from sticking together. Typically the crew of the seining operation would do the tarring and mending of nets 2 to 3 months prior to leaving to fish, as part of overall preparations. Cotton nets would also need more mending and patching than nylon nets, which did not come into use until after WWII in the early 1950s.
A crew of five men generally operate each purse seiner, though before the advent of nylon nets (post-WWII) and the power block (1954), seining crews were usually made up of 8 to 10 men.
Part IV - Sources of Information
- Ancich-Stanton, Lita Dawn. Gig Harbor Net Sheds Survey. City of Gig Harbor, 2006.
- Andrews, Mildred. “Andrews Group Report.” 2008.
- Harbor History Museum photo archives. Accessed June 2009.
- Lepow, Hannah. “Washington’s Fishing Sheds Get Boost.” National Trust for Historic Preservation. July 8, 2008. http://www.preservationnation.org/magazine/2008. Accessed June 2, 2009.
- “Living on the Edge: Most Endangered Historic Properties List - 2008.” Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, 2008.
Likely Sources Not Yet Investigated
Interview with Ross family.