Gateway Park ‘Pioneer’ History


Colleen Slater, KP News


A group of local and county officials are cutting the ribbon for the official opening of Gateway Park on Oct. 2. The park now has a playground, among other amenities. Photo: Ed Johnson, KP News

Gateway Park is formed from several different properties totaling 72 acres.

One of the two original properties, later Parcel B, was owned by Englishman William Alexander, who purchased it and several others in the area in March 1891. He was a farmer in the Minter precinct in 1900 with wife and children Josie, Charles, Effie and Winifred. Alexander sold 120 acres to Albert Woodard in 1909 and moved to Charleston, Kitsap County.

Woodard operated a hog farm. A story is told that Woodard had a contract with the Navy yard in Bremerton: He supplied butchered pigs, and food scraps were daily loaded into a truck. It stopped in Purdy, where the tank was filled with hot water. By the time the truck arrived at Woodard’s farm and was unloaded, the food was “cooked” for the pigs to eat.

They grew strawberries that continued to grow and local residents picked them.

Woodard’s daughter, Ida Joy, born while they lived on the property in 1910, married Lennart Lonning. She received 10 acres of the property next to Woodard-McLeod Road, now 94th Avenue heading to Horseshoe Lake. Lonning descendants still have homes on the acreage. Roy Woodard, son of Albert, owned the rest of the property by 1939, after his father died.

Israel Ostrom, born in Sweden, a former Seattle plasterer and saloonkeeper, is named on Parcel A in 1915. He, his family and the Hartquists moved from Seattle to this area in 1914. He tried “homesteading,” as he and his wife, Johanna, referred to, but didn’t like farming. The 1920 census shows he was still farming but lived in a rented home in Glenwood in Kitsap County.

Listening to remarks at the opening of Gateway Park. Boy Scouts Troop 220, who presented the flags at the ceremony, are seen in the background. Photo: Ed Johnson, KP News

Ole Hartquist was Ostrom’s partner in the saloon in Seattle from 1904 until 1914, when the two families moved to this area. Whether Ostrom bought the Pierce County property in partnership with Hartquists or sold it to them, Annie Hartquist was listed on 1924-1965 maps. She developed a farm there. When Ole died in 1921, Annie moved to Port Orchard and married a baker named Lindquist.

Ostrom also purchased two properties in Kitsap County in 1912, the northern one becoming his Horseshoe Lake Resort. By 1917, he had a dance hall, restaurant and bar, plus a two-story home there. He and his wife owned and managed the summer resort, with son Leo assistant property manager in 1920. It was the site for many local couples meeting before it closed in 1962, after Mrs. Ostrom had a bad fall. The dance hall was taken down a few years later.

Others who owned the properties included Bert Ray Leach from Illinois, a barber, in Seattle until 1942. Bert lived in Port Orchard near his parents in 1960 and owned Parcel A after Annie H.

Clarence R. Perkins, a dental technician from Tacoma and wife, Joanna, purchased Parcel B in the 1940s, and Parcel A later. Their son, Tacoma dentist C. Russell Perkins, and wife, Eleanor, came into possession of both parcels after his father died in 1980, and sold them to McWest Lumber Industries in 1985. They had property near Glencove and lived their later years there.

Harry and Connie Johnson bought the land from McWest in 1989 and sold it to Elmer and Betty Anderson in 1995. The Johnsons built the home that is still on the property, now a caretaker home for the parks district. Anderson was a longtime KP parks commissioner involved in the long-term planning. They sold the original parcels, although with different boundaries, to Key Pen Parks in 2012.

Many different owners had these properties over the years, but only a few lived there. A great-granddaughter of Ostrom, Janet Coryell of Vaughn, said, “One of Grandpa’s properties became a park, and now another one has, too!”