Two of the Most Notorious

Although Eagle Harbor was pretty "dry" during the latter 1800's mainly due to the efforts of outspoken teetotaling settlers Riley Hoskinson and Ambrose Grow, the rest of the island was no stranger to strong drink.


In the sawmill town of Port Madison, on the island's north end, one could only get beer at the town's hotel. On the outskirts of town several whiskey "farms" were well known by the mill workers. The most notorious of these backwoods still and saloon operations was known as "Whiskey Forty", owned by William "Bob" Impett.

Pictured above, courtesy of the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum, it sometimes was described as a two-building establishment. The Forty was built teasingly close to the sawmill property on 40 acres near the northwest intersection of present-day Sunrise Drive and Torvanger Road. While the mill was successful in fining or shutting down other liquor establishments built or floated near the town, the Forty seems to have thrived for quite a while.
Impett was born in Pennsylvania in 1834 to English parents. He was sent to England to attend school but ran away, became a cabin boy and sailed for Australia. There, he jumped ship to make his fortune as a gold miner. When he arrived in Puget Sound sometime prior to the 1860s, Impett was reported to have been lugging pouches stuffed with gold.

He married a Native American woman but left her her for an 18-year-old white woman, Helen Buist, in 1878. Impett had several run-ins with the law and his legal battles were well recorded in county records. The year 1888 appears to mark his exit from Port Madison.


One of three saloons near Pleasant beach on the south end of Bainbridge Island, was Lytle's, owned by Billy Lytle and his wife. Billy was described as a "very sporty fellow".

"He was witty and friendly and in typical 'gay 90's' fashion always wore a derby hat and garters on his shirt sleeves. His saloon with its five-cent beer and free lunch was the most popular saloon of the three in that area at the turn of the century," according to Katy Warner's A HISTORY OF BAINBRIDGE ISLAND. "To add a gimmick to the surroundings, Billy kept a monkey named Mike in a cage in the saloon. Mike was quite a conversation piece. He was kept on a long chain so that he could not roam all over the building but his leash reached from his cage to the bar. Whenever a customer came in and told Billy to "set them up for the house", Mike would leap to the end of the bar and have a short beer with the gang. Mike's maneuver sold a lot of beer. Many a man bought a round merely to see the monkey go into action."

Regardless of these colorful stories, probably much to Hoskinson and Grow's satisfaction, the entire state of Washington went "bone-dry" in 1918 — two full years before national prohibition took effect that lasted until 1933.

Aspiring Magazine Editors Experience Bainbridge

Tucked behind Bainbridge City Hall you'll find the office of YES! Magazine. With a print magazine published quarterly and a website updated every day, YES! covers the news in a different way than most media.

YES! sets themselves apart by not only reporting on current social, economic, and environmental issues, but also by providing their national readership with solutions. From big picture ideas on poverty and climate change to practical lifestyle tips on how your family can live more sustainably, YES! strives to be a beacon of hope and positivity for their readers as well as their staff and interns.

Mention a magazine internship and most people picture a frazzled 20-something-year-old running through town picking up coffees with little, if any, reporting assignments. But an internship with YES! Magazine looks very different.

"It started in 1996 and we were in the basement of a house over on Cherry Street," says Fran Korten, the Executive Director and publisher of YES! Magazine. "And, from the very beginning we had one intern. So, there were only four staff and one intern."

As the magazine and staff has grown, so too has the internship program. Today there are six rotating internship positions, each specializing in a different department of the organization.

"We worked hard to make the internships educational," says James Trimarco, the YES! Magazine Web Editor. "I think that's one of the interesting things about it."

Interns have the opportunity to learn all the ins and outs of the magazine world, from reporting, to web formatting, to audience development. And for many, Bainbridge Island is their introduction in the Pacific Northwest.

To help make the internship program financially feasible for its participants, YES! offers all their interns room and board in a house on the island. Beyond the financial benefit, the house-sharing helps interns develop closer relationships with each other and the community.



By Liz Pleasant

Bainbridge Organic Distillers has achieved many things since starting up in 2009. They are Washington's first distillery to produce USDA Certified Organic spirits and the only distillery in Washington making 100% of their organic products in-house from scratch. Now, just five years after opening their doors, they have added making the World's Best Vodka to their list of accomplishments.

Bainbridge Legacy Organic Vodka was voted the number one vodka out of a field of over 1000 competitors from 25 countries at the 2014 World Drinks Awards in London. And, with the Bainbridge Battle Point Organic Wheat Whiskey winning Best American Wheat Whiskey in the same competition, owner Keith Barnes is gearing up to increase production to match growing demand.

Although Keith plans to expand the distillery this September, he's quick to point out that never-ending company growth isn't his goal. "There is a certain kind of business that I'm interested in running," explains Keith. "It's a business that's more locally focused and quality focused, and driven on being a contributing part of our local culture here."

And Keith is serious about Bainbridge Organic Distillers remaining local. "If we can't do it from start to finish here we're not going to do it," says Keith.

Keith currently sources organic grain from a handful of farms in Washington, and hopes to take his dedication to local production one step further by finding someone to grow the grain for his spirits right here on Bainbridge Island.

"Washington is a phenomenal state, not only for agriculture but for grain specifically," says Keith. "You can't get any better than what we're growing here." Apparently, the world agrees.

YES continued

When their three to six month stint is complete, some interns head back home to finish out their degrees, while many decide to stay in Pacific Northwest.

Many 'ex-terns', as they are lovingly called throughout the office, have landed great jobs throughout the region. Often-times interns become paid contributors to the magazine and go on to write for other liberal and progressive media outlets.

"We try to find people who believe that through activism the world can be changed and try to develop them so that they will be able to have a career in that part of society," says James. "And, if you look around Seattle you'll see that we've had success."

Contributed by Liz Pleasant, also a current Online Editorial intern for Yes! Magazine.


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Flickr Photos

Ambrose F. Grow

Ambrose Grow and his wife, Amanda, and their family came to Eagle Harbor in 1881. He was a Civil War veteran and came because of the descriptive letters he had read in the New York and Kansas papers telling of the virtues of Bainbridge Island. Selling his large farm in Manhattan, Kansas, he homesteaded 160 acres here along the waterfront. In addition to being a charter member of the Eagle Harbor Congregational Church and the Madrone Schools, he was a prolific correspondent to the happenings in Eagle Harbor and environs.

The Grow Family Homestead
Still stands today as home to
Harbour Public House

Parfitt Way Management • 231 Parfitt Way S.W. • Bainbridge Island, WA 98110 • Phone: 206- 842- 0969 • Email: click here