Fascinating Facts Histories, Biographies and Past hosts
St. Barnabas Church
History of St Barnabas Church
Episcopal worship has taken place on Bainbridge Island since the 1880’s. Most of it occurred during the summer when families from Seattle came to spend time on the island. During the early 20th Century, worship was held in private homes and in other churches around the island. Finally, after World War II, there was sufficient money and congregants built a permanent church.
In 1946, the cornerstone was laid for St. Barnabas. The first services were held there on the Sunday before Thanksgiving 1946. The church was consecrated by Bishop Stephen Fielding Bayne Jr. on June 11, 1948. The Rev. Vincent Gowen was appointed the first Vicar of St. Barnabas and served the parish for 15 years. It was his father, The Rev. Herbert Gowen, who suggested the name of the parish. The Rev. Dr. Dennis S. Tierney currently serves as the sixth rector of Saint Barnabas.
In 1960, an addition was added to the church that included a parish hall, offices and classrooms. In 1964, St. Barnabas became a parish, expanding its membership and resources with the growth of the Island. In the 1970’s, the parish added an Interium where loved ones are laid to rest in a beautiful setting for peaceful visitation and meditation.
St. Barnabas also hosts a Day School that was opened in 1969, offering preschool for children from three to five. During the school year, there is Preschool and Pre-K along with summer camps in June, July and August.
Saint Barnabas members have long been active in the community, assisting in creating Helpline House, Interfaith Volunteer Care-givers, our local library, serving at various senior living communities, and offering after-school tutoring services over the years.
St. Barnabas has gone through many changes and challenges but remains a strong member of the community offering traditional Episcopal worship. We regularly host musical events, including an annual organ concert on our 2006 Bond Pipe Organ, Bainbridge Island Men’s Compline Choir, Vespers (or Evensong) by Women’s Schola Nova and Taize meditation.
We recently hosted the Senior Center for several months as they remodeled their own buildings. Our small but useful church has been host to countless weddings, community events, memorials, and concerts. We hope to bring more of the community to us as we continue to reach out to more of our wonderful community.
We are currently undergoing another remodel - this of our once “state-of-the-art” (in 1960…) kitchen and lower bathrooms. When complete, we will have a beautiful commercial-grade kitchen and ADA compliant bathrooms in addition to our wonderfully-sized Parish Hall and beautiful 67-year-old brick church.
Our location is beautiful and serene, and we welcome people of all faiths to join us, to utilize our space, and to become a part of our community.
Lynwood Commons ~ Blossom Family
The Blossom clan gathers to carve Jack-O-lanterns each Halloween at the family homestead on New Sweden Rd. Photo by Joel Sackett
The Blossom Family
In such a transitional environment in the USA of daily new inventions, progessive innovations, constant change, and relocation of homebase, it is stabilizing to revisit the historical roots of yesteryear, the people and projects that have contributed to the things of today. One such Bainbridge Island family deeply rooted in Island history in the Lynwood Center and Eagedale areas is the Blossoms, Morrie & Kathy and their grown-up family Sarah, Matthew, Debbie and Bob.
Let's go back to around the 1930s. On the knoll overlooking Lynwood Center a stately Tudor manor was built and lived in by Emmanuel and Edna Olson surrounded by linden trees and about 15 acres of forest. With great vision, the couple then proceeded to develop Lynwood Center in the same Tudor style, a prototype of today's shopping mall, with small shops, a theater, and small living units on the upper story. Lynwood received its name in a contest in recognition of the linden trees. Emmanuel & Edna had no progeny but had a niece and nephew, Helen and Glenn Nolta. Helen married Maurice Blossom whose union produced Mick and Morrie Blossom. Morrie lived for awhile with his great aunt & uncle Olson in an upstairs room in the manor where later people used to dine at the former Pleasant Beach Grill & Oyster House run by Hussein Ramadan in the 1980s.
When the Olsons died, they left their inheritance to the niece and nephew. Glenn married Lucille and together they ran the Lynwood Theater until it was sold in the 1980s. Helen lived in a small home behind the manor. Morrie & Mick also owned the Timber Lodge on south beach where in the 1970s you could go bowling as long as you were willing to set up your own pins. The Lodge is gone now replaced by beautiful, waterfront homes. The Blossom brothers also were involved in an earth-moving business.
Morrie fell in love and in 1976 married a Bainbridge High School friend, Kathy Stone whose family lived in Eagledale on New Sweden Rd. where the picture of the Blossom clan with the jack-o-lanterns was taken. Morrie and Kathy own and run the South Bainbridge Water System. Every Christmas the couple would place a Christmas tree on the corner of their property in front of an old gas station (now gone). In the early 2000s the Blossoms began to update the area and develop some of their land. The result was Lynwood Commons, a mixed used complex, that opened in 2002. The Blossoms daughter, Sarah, now manages the complex, Matthew works in the earth-moving business and at the Water Company, Debbie is a nurse, and Bob, an attorney.
Recently the Blossoms sold off the manor and and surrounding acreage to Bill Nelson, another longtime Islander, who refurbished and updated the manor into Edna's restaurant. See Bainbridge Review articles. Bill is building another mixed use complex to complement the style of Lynwood Center and named it Blossom Hill in honor of the Blossom family. It is scheduled to open sometime in late 2009.
Historic Lynwood Center
Line drawing of Lynwood Center courtesy of Ramona Rafferty
Tudor-styled Lynwood Center in the snow. Photo courtesy of Bainbridge Island Historical Society
Lynwood Center ~ 1930s
Lynwood Center is a quaint, Tudor style shopping village designed and developed in the 1930s by Emmanuel and Edna Olson who lived in the English manor on the bluff across the street ( now Edna's Beach Cafe). In the last few decades the manor has served as a restaurant, noteably the former Pleasant Beach Grill. The first Lynwood building housed a butcher shop built by George Beck, a former logger, who with his father and brothers built many of the homes in West Blakely including the Bombay House. Later they added a variety store, restaurant, hardware store, garage, and Bainbridge Island's first and for many, many years its only movie theater. Second story apartments were a later addition. It has been stated that Lynwood Center provided a prototype for the modern day shopping mall.
Lynwood Center is now one of three service centers on the Island outside of Winslow. Island Center and Rolling Bay are the others. The site of the Treehouse House Cafe has had many different entrepreunerial endeavors including antique shoppes, a Suzuki School Studio and Julie's Frame Gallery. The theater has celebrated its 70th year anniversary. Walt's grocery store was located next to the theater for many years providing groceries and assundries for the neighborhood. Walt Hannon and his Mom, Rhea, put the personal touch on providing groceries and it became a gathering place for conversation and coffee. The Hannons are also long time Bainbridge Island residents. Several years ago, Walt moved his grocery story across the street into the new Lynwood Commons complex and although modernized some, continues in the same family-style, personal custom service.
Intent on preserving the heritage, the historic exterior facade, and the integrity of the brick building, Steve Romein and Ty Cramer purchased Lynwood Center a couple years ago and have just recently restored it's structural health and reconfigured some of the interior space where Walt's Market was. Upstairs communal style living features nine apartments with shared kitchen and living areas with private sleeping quarters. The upgrades were designed by O'Connor Architects, an Island firm known for its green technology and contructed by Schuchart/Dow.
Open meadowland sweeps the landscape around the stables reminding us of former farms in Eagledale that grew and supplied vegetables and milk to the milltown of Port Blakely down the road. Now Rick and Kathy Countryman operate a horse stables there. For the last nine years, and again this year, the Countrymans have generously offered free pony rides to kids 12 & under on Saturday and Sunday of the Christmas in the Country tour from noon - 2pm. The covered arena makes the activity suitable no matter what inclement weather might arrive.
Yippee! Free pony rides!!
Kathy Countryman's maternal great grandfather was Cyprion Wyatt, an influential citizen of Bainbridge Island and captain of the Florence K.and Bainbridge steamboats, and the Liberty (the first auto ferry from Bainbridge to Seattle). He lived in the historic Wyatt House on Wyatt Way in Winslow.
Sweetlife Farm(Past Host)
Fortner Home front view with new Gazebo
Bob & Nancy Fortner invite discovery of their secluded, self-designed woodland home nestled within ten acres of forest land near the Grand Forest. Completed in 1999, the home resembles a scaled-down version of our nation's historic park lodges. An upgraded workshop and attic adjacent to and above their garage house their commercial kitchen for preparing the farm products. The Fortners love of "the natural" and their visionary and entreprenerial spirits have expanded their horizons within the confines of their rural retreat. Fondly dubbed "Sweetlife Farm", the Fortners make natural skincare products, preserves, vinegars, sauces and herbal salts and sugars from their own honey, berries, fruits, flowers and herbs. This year they are adding a new Cocoa Local flavor to the wildly popular original flavors, and a new line of creamed honeys. There will be plenty of mouthwatering rosemary shortbread and assorted gift boxes of Sweetlife Farm products ready to share with the lucky people on your holiday gift list.
Greetings from Bob & Nancy:
"We live, cook and garden on 10 acres near the Grand Forest. Since moving the book business home in 1999 we have been able to focus on two of our passions: gardening and cooking, and maintain large vegetable, herb and flower gardens, along with a modest orchard and a few beehives. In 2006, our eyes got “bigger than our stomachs,” as Nancy’s father would say, and we went with the notion that if a few rows of berries and lavender are good, then a lot more would be great—we now have a bountiful harvest of both, and have added a new kitchen in which to process the farm’s bounty. This year in order to focus primarily on the farm and farm products, we closed our online bookstore. We added a greenhouse, new raised beds, a chicken coop, and a wood-fired bread oven housed in a gazebo near the house. Our goal is to feed ourselves as much as is practical from our garden, share the excess, and supplement with foods grown as close to home as possible, from trusted sources. With just the two of us working our garden and producing food and other handmade products, our days remain full, and the quality of life superb. Friends and family occasionally show up to help us pick or help wrap and label products, but for the most part we are the “do it yourself twins.” There are those who would deny us the “farmer” label, but whatever we’re called, we’re all about homegrown, homemade and sharing the bounty! "
The Fortners invite you into their *refined rustic home to discover their wonderful natural products and those of their guest artists, a treat to be sure!
*"refined rustic"-concrete floors beautifully faux-finished, warm wood and exposed beams, stone fireplace, and unique fixtures.
Nancy Fortner harvests lavendar
Bob Fortner picking squash
Bob and flavored vinegars
It's Christmas time at Sweetlife Farm
Nancy cooking with wine. Sometimes she even puts in the pan!
Hazel Creek Farm
Former Pedersen home now Hazel Creek Farm B&B
Hazel Creek Farm ~ 1921
This twenty acre compound with charming remodeled 1921 farmhouse, barns, schoolhouses, and horse arena is home to the Hazel Creek Montessori School named for a small creek that runs through the property. Janice (the school director) and Ollie Pedersen (landscape architect and native Bainbridge Islander whose family has lived here for over 100 years) developed the property that now is the epitome of country elegance. In June of 1989, Ollie & Janice purchased 5 wooded acres, began logging, and by March started to build the original schoolhouse using only a chain and skill saw:
"Ollie & I used to work together all day landscaping other people's yards and then come home and pound nails and saw boards as we labored together to build the structures on the Hazel Creek Farm. We'd go to bed with ace bandages around our wrists to help control the carpal tunnel pain." The acreage grew to 20 acres when in 1995 the Pedersens acquired their home, a 1921 dilapidated farmhouse which they redesigned and remodeled. They and their four children, Mitra, Adam, Ashley, and Alison, built each building on the property as funds and time allowed them.
The rolling landscape and sweeping greens are interrupted by white pasture fencing, grazing horses, and buildings all circumferenced by tall fir trees and sylvan borders. The estate grounds were featured on the 2002 Bainbridge in Bloom Garden Tour. Dances and other special events are held in the large, heated barn where during Christmas in the Country, elves & Santa Claus will appear, artists will offer their unique products, and entertainers will livin the festivities!
Though Hazel Creek is no longer part of our tour, we keep them on this website so that people can still learn a little about island history.
Janice invites you into the barn
Bainbridge Youth Orchestra
Sharon Soames, Director of Christmas in the Country, visits with Santa. Photo by Karin Lehotsky.
Janice offers riding sessions to the Montessori students