City of Poulsbo, Washington
Executive Department > Government 101

How was Poulsbo founded?
Poulsbo was founded by Jorgen Eliason of Fordefjord, Norway. Eliason arrived in Poulsbo with his sister and young son in the 1886 during the Scandinavian migration. Dog Fish Bay, later called Liberty Bay, reminded Eliason and the other Scandinavian settlers of the fjords in Norway, which later won the city the nickname "Little Norway." The bay served as a port for passengers and freight making the 18 mile journey to and from Seattle. Farmers also used the bay to transport their produce to Pike's Place Market in Seattle.

One month after the arrival of Eliason, Iver B. Moe arrived with his wife and three sons from Paulsbo, Norway by way of Minnesota. Moe felt there were enough people to warrant a post office and he submitted an application to create one in the town of Paulsbo. The postmaster in Washington D.C. misread Moe's handwriting and approved the application for a new town called Poulsbo. That same year the first school was established and the following year in 1887, the Norwegian Lutheran Church was organized. In 1891 a home for orphans was founded and in 1892 the first hotel. The turn of the century brought the Kitsap Herald, a telephone company in 1907, a bank in 1909, and a codfish company in 1911.

The citizens of Poulsbo had their first town council meeting on January 7, 1908 and the town was incorporated on January 14, 1908. The town was incorporated as a city 5 years later on June 14, 1913 and took its current structure as a noncharter code city on December 3, 1969.

Poulsbo is located at the northern part of the Kitsap Peninsula and sits just west of the Olympic Mountains with an elevation of 30 feet. Today, Poulsbo is the third largest city in Kitsap County with an area of 4.5 square miles or 2,880 acres.

For more information visit Poulsbo's Historical Society.

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