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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Pacific Fisherman Shipyard, Seattle, WA - 11/27/2017

Pacific Fisherman Shipyard, Seattle, WA
The Pacific Fisherman Shipyard is a historic part of Ballard and Seattle. "Pacific Fishermen Shipyard was founded in 1946 by 400 Norwegian-heritage fishermen and their wives who plunked down $300 each to buy the old Ballard Marine Railway, which had been in operation since 1872, starting as the T.W. Lake Shipyard....  Ever since 1872, this has been a shipyard. It built sternwheelers for [early Seattle entrepreneur] Joshua Green, built the world’s largest tug in 1925 for Hawaiian Tug & Barge, went on to build minesweepers during the [Second World] war, one of which became Jacques Cousteau’s Calypso and another John Wayne’s Wild Goose. After the war, it built smaller seiners and then progressed to building crab boats for the Bering Sea. Today, we are primarily a repair yard with about 70 employees at our peak times. About 55 to 60 are union employees in five trades: machinists, shipwrights, boilermakers, dry dock crew and electricians. About 50 to 60 percent of our work is on fishing boats, but we are also the dry-dock agent for Victoria Clipper and many of the tugboats around Seattle." (Seattle Business Magazine)

Pacific Fisherman Shipyard, Seattle, WA
But what you may not have realized, if you never wandered down from the corner of NW Market and Shilshole Ave and into the shipyard lot, is that the business also holds a large and growing amount of old Ballard business iconic signage -- a sort of private MOHAI on Salmon Bay, or perhaps a slightly different version of Gary Blevins' Sit-N-Bull in Clallam County, but with more emphasis on the exteriors.

John “Doug” Dixon, general manager, joined Pacific Fishermen in 2001. Dismayed as gentrification and other changes closed cherished hangouts, Doug started obtaining old signs and fixtures from the joints -- some purchased, some free at the request of owners (who, unlike Doug, didn't have a crane handy), and some by slightly more furtive means. The old Viking Tavern, the Valhalla, the Copper Gate, Louie's, Ivars, Snoose Junction, Ponti, the People's Pub, the Yankee Diner -- they're all here, largely out of sight, but in a sense still home in historic maritime Ballard.

5351 24th Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107 - (206) 784-2562
Est. 1946
Web site: - facebook
Articles: westseattleherald - seattlebusinessmag 


Unknown said...

I miss peoples pub and coppergate

Jason Laurvick said...

THanks for posting these. I drove down here and wondered where I'd been transported. It's good to see signs to look at in the way-back machine (internet) because tag-backs can lead wayward travelers in the future. I'm afraid more signs will join the lot after this pandemic has finished.