Port of Bremerton marks 100 years with an open house

A 1913 photo of the Bremerton Port’s wharf  shows where it all began. The Port of Bremerton is celebrating 100 years with a public open house Saturday. - Contributed Photo
A 1913 photo of the Bremerton Port’s wharf shows where it all began. The Port of Bremerton is celebrating 100 years with a public open house Saturday.
— image credit: Contributed Photo

Most Saturdays, you can find Doug Haughton at the Bremerton National Airport, hanging out with his Beechcraft Bonanza airplane, getting ready to fly.

The former Vietnam helicopter pilot now spends his flight time in a fixed-wing airplane.

“I’ve always been fascinated with flight,” Haughton said. “My grandfather was a pilot and when I went in the Army, I flew with the 1st Air Calvary. After I came home, I got my pilot’s license in 1976 and I’ve been flying ever since.”

Haughton and his Beechcraft will be part of the open house at the Bremerton National Airport Saturday, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Port of Bremerton. The port operates the airport.

The Port of Bremerton, incorporated on Oct. 3, 1913, by a vote of the residents of the city of Bremerton, is the fourth oldest port district in Washington state.

The special election allowed the city of Bremerton to hand over its municipal wharf to the Port of Bremerton. The wharf, located in what is now the area of the passenger-only ferry dock, was the center of commerce and transportation.

In later years, voters extended district boundaries to include more of Bremerton, Port Orchard and portions of South Kitsap, and Seabeck.

From now until October, the port will celebrate milestones in its 100 years. This Saturday’s open house will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the airport, 8850 SW Highway 3, Bremerton.

There will be tours of the port facilities, displays, games for the kids, refreshment and the opportunity to meet port commissioners and staff.

Tours will include the airport and the industrial park and will leave from the administration building at 10 a.m., 12:15 p.m. and 2 p.m.

Haughton is part of a formation flying team that will demonstrate flying techniques Saturday afternoon. His plane will also be on the ramp for display.

He has been a member of the Bremerton Pilots Association since it was re-organized in the early 1980s. The first association began in 1936-37, but wasn’t active again until the reformation in the 1980s.

As general manager of the Liberty Bay Auto Center in Poulsbo, Haughton said he tries to fly twice a week.

“It’s like any other hobby to anyone else,” he said. “It can be expensive, but no more than boating or playing golf, if that’s your thing.”

When he got his pilot’s license in 1976, it rubbed off on his mother.

“She said her father had one and now her son had one,” Haughton said. “So she figured she should, too.”

Marilois Haughton, who passed away this past year, got that license in 1977.

“She only flew for a couple of years,” said Haughton. “It wasn’t something that she loved the way my grandfather (Wade LeRoy) did.”

Haughton said he’s seen a lot of improvements at the Bremerton airport since his early days of flying in the late 1970s.

“The facility is modern and has improved technology,” he said. “It’s one of the best around for its size.”

He’s owned his plane for 13 years and has his instruments rating.  As for a fourth generation of pilots in his family, that’s still “up in the air.”

“I have two sons and they’re just not interested,” he said. “But my daughter is. Right now she’s a full time mom. But she wants to learn to fly. She loves flying with me.”

The Port of Bremerton operates Bremerton National Airport, Olympic View Industrial and Business Parks, Port Orchard and Bremerton Marinas and a number of parks, three boat launch ramps and one public fishing pier.

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